Here’s How to Use Your Camera’s Spot Metering Mode & Never Miss an Exposure Again (VIDEO)

Let’s say everything comes together just right: You have a great subject, the light is beautiful, and your composition and focus are impeccable. You just captured the money shot, right? Not so fast, because everything is for naught if you mess up the exposure.

Regardless of the type of photos you shoot, proper exposure is critical because you can’t always “fix” a poorly exposed shot in Photoshop. That’s why we have important methods like the Exposure Triangle. But your camera offers an often overlooked tool that, when used properly used, will help you you nail exposures ever time. Enter the powerful Spot Metering mode.

In the easy-to-follow tutorial below, nature photographer Steve Perry explains how your camera’s Spot Metering mode works, and the types of situations in which it’s virtually foolproof. He also demonstrates when this exposure mode can let you down, unless you know a few tricks.

Perry says, The Spot mode is “one of the most understood metering patterns and most photographers are using it wrong.” But after watching the 15-minute crash course below, you’ll be using this tool like a pro. Perry explains that this mode takes a meter reading off a very small portion of the frame, ignoring the rest of the scene.

Step number one is learning how to properly position the spot. As Perry notes, some cameras link the spot to the Active AF point, while others only take a spot reading from the center of the frame. And still other cameras let you link the spot to the AF point as a user-selectable option.

Another important difference among cameras is the varying the size of the spot, and Perry demonstrates how to choose the right size spot for the situation if your camera offers a choice. Because of these differences among brands, it may help to have your camera manual handy while watching the first portion of the video, before Perry turns to to universal spot-metering techniques.

Bottom line: In just 15 minutes you’ll gain confident in your ability to get perfectly exposed photographs in virtually every situation. You can find more great tutorials on Perry’s You Tube channel, and don’t miss an earlier video we posted with a simple explanation of how to use the Exposure Triangle.