Spot Metering

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What Is Spot Metering and How to Use It in Your Portrait Photography

You can see many pictures have blurry background, while the main object is clear. The moment you see the picture, you can catch the point instantly. Spot metering is a common way in portrait photography. The other two metering modes are centre weighted metering and evaluative metering (Canon)/matrix metering (Nikon)/zone metering (Sony). Well, you can already get something from its name – spot metering. If you want to know more about the spot metering technique, you can continue reading and check the following information.

Spot Metering


Part 1: What Is Spot Metering

By setting a tiny area of the scene via the camera’s viewfinder, you can pinpoint small details in your frame. The average spot metering area ranges between 1% and 5%. Once you set the focus point, the camera can evaluate the light around this single zone. The other background image will be ignored. The spot metering center can be exposed properly.

Thus, if you want to capture birds, flowers or people occupying a small area of the entire frame, you can use the spot metering mode. Regardless of the light condition, you can make spot metering exposure work with a satisfying result.

Part 2: When to Use Spot Metering

Generally speaking, spot metering mode is a good choice to capture tiny things in a huge background. A good example is capturing the moon. No matter how good your camera is, you need to set the spot metering camera mode to photograph it. Because the moon takes a small part of the sky. All you need to do is making the sensor focusing on the moon.

Well, the spot metering technology also works for other objects, like animals, plants, family/street portraits, headshots and more. To some degree, spot metering camera mode is more like a spotlight. You can capture more details of the selected spot.

Here are some spot metering examples you can check.

1. The subject is backlit.

2. The background is dark.

Use spot metering is a good way to expose the subject.

3. The portrait you want to capture wear very light or dark clothes.

4. Take photos in high contrast areas, such as beach, snow and more.

You can see many spot metering portrait photography. Is spot metering the best choice for portraits? In most cases, a well exposed portrait is the correct answer. You can set the focus as face or even eyes for portrait spot metering photography.

Part 3: How to Take Photos in Spot Metering Mode

The detailed spot metering options depend on the specific camera brand you use. Even though you use the same camera brand, the camera model also matters. Now, let’s see how to adjust spot metering settings.

1. Switch on the Power button. Then press the Metering Mode/White Balance Selection button.

2. Look on the viewfinder or LCD monitor. Turn the Main Dial button to change into the spot metering mode.

3. Set the spot area where you want to expose.

4. Depending on the light, you can see the bar in the + or – area. Moreover, you can increase or decrease the shutter speed based on your camera meter. Or you can use AL or AE-L to lock the exposure.

5. After setting the idea spot metering portrait photography, you can start shooting with your camera.

Bonus Tips: Retouch Spot Metering Portraits and Images

After capturing spot metering for portraits and landscape, you can use third-party photo editor to make some changes. Photoshop is professional but expensive and hard to use. If you want to get complete photo editing filters, WidsMob Retoucher is also your good choice. Compared with Adobe Photoshop, the program is user-friendly and easy-to-use. All popular photo effects are simplified into options and sliders. Even though it is the first time you edit photography, you can still finish the job with ease. Here’re the main features of the portrait retouching software .

1. Remove image noise caused by high ISO, fast shutter speed, low light and more.

2. Analog film with various color rendition, color modes and film grain.

3. Beautify spot metering portraits with skin smoothing and skin whitening.

4. Add LOMO effects, such as color opacity, vignetting and fisheye.

5. Preserve all image details.

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Step 1: Run WidsMob Retoucher after the installation. Click Import to add your spot metering photography.

Step 2: Go Ahead to the Portrait section first. Move the Skin Smoothing slider to minimize blemishes, wrinkles and imperfections from your face and skin. Then adjust with Skin Whitening to brighten your skin. The entire portrait photo still looks natural.

Skin Smoothing Retoucher

Step 3: Turn to the Adjustment section to adjust saturation, brightness and other parameters of your picture. You can go to the De-noise section to reduce noise if necessary. In the Film Pack section, you can analog films and give the unique feel with multiple options.

Retouch Image

Step 4: Click Share to post your picture to Facebook, Twitter, email, Flickr and more. Or you can click Save to export it as JPEG or TIFF with the customizable image quality.

Export Image Retoucher


That’s all to use the spot metering technique and edit its pictures. Images captured by Canon, Sony, Panasonic and other DSLR cameras are supported, as well as mobile phones and other camera devices. Spot metering and focus point are the main topics of this article. You can use the above spot metering examples in your photography.

Be aware that spot metering takes extra seconds to focus before shooting. It’s okay if you use spot metering in manual mode. Or you can adjust the exposure and other image parameters in WidsMob Retoucher. The all-in-one image editor can make your pictures look artistic and give emotion.

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Peter Wood
Peter Wood
Peter Wood, a senior editor, focus on photography design and editing software and devices.

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