View Full Version : How to meter reflected subjects
Many photographic situations that include a reflected subject can be very interesting. At the same time, I also find it difficult to get the right exposure, or at times find the right DOF.
I just came across this picture on Times.com's Best Photos of 2006, image 7, The Waiting Game:
How do you suppose the photog meter this shot?
Was she fortunate enough to have the right lighting behind and beyond the glass? Do you think she did some processing on PS?
The shot you have supplied could easily have been done with a center-weighted meter. An average reading with a center-weight would give an acceptable exposure--especially with black and white--which generally has more latitude than color negative, and much more than slide film--would be able to cover the difference.
Take my shot for instance
I shot this with an M2 and a VC meter. I pointed the meter at the center of the scene and, from what I remember, took that exposure.
Also, seems like I have also done spot readings of reflections is windows (buildings in direct sun if I remember) and there was a difference of either 2 or 3 stops. Exposure was similar to subjects in open shade if you are following sunny 16.
Bracket and you should be fine. If it's in a pinch, balance sunny 16 with center-weighted reading.
To sum up--use a center-weighted meter pointed at what would the the middle grey of the photo.
Glass reflections (not tinted) are 2-3 stop loss (perhaps more in dim light, but I don't know for sure--but a spot meter would tell you)
Mirrors are almost always no stop loss.
Bracket if you can.
Also, that Time Magazine photo looks like the photog was really close to the glass, and focused on the guys in the room. The cop is slightly out of focus, and judging from the perspective, he is closer to the glass than the guys in the cell. Also, the area of the photo around the cop's legs is getting close to over-exposure. You can only see the cop's reflection because the photog is blocking the reflection of the rest of the room (because he's so close to the glass). The somewhat shallow depth of field hides a recognizable reflection of the photog. Also, if I had to guess, I'd say he's close to 28mm focal length in 35mm of FF digital.
That's my interp anyway.
I suppose you want know IF you should use reflective or incident on a reflective image. And that is hard; experience is the best solution.
Here is one that I recently did:
But you can't get to the fish (in this image) to do incident.
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