(this image was taken using the method I'm about to explain... if you don't want to read the rest, that's the short and sweet of it all ;) )
Yesterday, in our photography club meeting, we had a guest speaker who was supposed to speak about metering. Honestly, I was kinda like, "Aw, c'mon! I know he's a good photographer... why can't he choose to talk about a concept more complicated than metering."
Well, I take ALL of those words back!
I learned probably the most valuable thing I have learned in the last year.
So I have always shot in manual. Which is a good, good thing to learn.
But guess what?
I'm not going to use manual anymore. At least not as my "go-to mode".
I always thought of manual as a way to get the photo you want... you are in control! And I loved that! And it is so true.
But there is one downside: it sometimes might take a while to find the right settings.
I know that I have gotten fairly fast at making adjustments after using it for a year, and goodness... I even shot manual at a wedding and it turned out fine.
So why am I not using manual anymore then? Because I now know the best of two worlds: getting the exposure YOU want and getting it really fast!
Starting now, I'm using Aperture Priority. I had heard great things about this mode before, but every time I tried it I never got good results. :/
So it doesn't stop there... you need to use spot metering (the exposure will be based off of just one area of the picture.) Using spot metering, you meter on a neutral place in the frame you are going to shoot (you are trying to find something that would equal that "18% grey"). And to lock that meter reading into place you press the little * button on the back of your camera (I'm speaking Canon terms here).
Then you reframe and shoot!
To control your exposure even more you can change the exposure compensation and stop it down or up to get exactly what you want. But this is something that you won't be adjusting much.
Okay, now that sounds like a lot of steps, but really it's a lot faster than adjusting ISO, shutter speed, and f/stop. The time it will take you to meter on a neutral area, press the * button, and reframe is only a fraction of what it would take to adjust the manual settings... no matter how fast you've gotten with manually adjusting.
With ALLLLL that said... let's just say I'm glad I decided to go to the photography meeting and "endure a boring lecture about something I already knew". Pshaw!