Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 8

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In this episode Mark shows you how to use your Sekonic light meter to balance flash and ambient light.


James Perkins says:

Would love to see the same thing explained with an ordinary light meter.

TheIntrepidStu says:

I dont get it. You metered for ambient at F/6.3, but then changed apperture to F/10. As far as i can calculate, if your flash meter is saying F/10 for the flash but only F6.3 for the ambient, then the flash is giving more light than the ambient, and hence the ratio is NOT 50 %.

rafer cruz says:

Very informative!! Thanks!!

michwilk says:

thank you! thank you! i’ve been searching all over online for a good tutorial/info on how to do what you described here. i was initially introduced to this concept thru a will crocket video, but he used auto mode. i just couldn’t get things to work for me. your tutorial helped me get the results i was looking for. thank you!

Master59682 says:

is this shot in 5f/s? :D

Ipoditouchreview3r says:

yay! first 1 on 1 in hd! now can watch in full screen!

EpicsodeOne says:

What plays a bigger factor is your video settings, when you produce a youtube video with 24 fps or lower, chances are that in that EXACT tick of time the flash fires, it happens that it was removed by your software or production tools.

Kjetil80 says:

Good video, but what I don’t get is that you say that f/6 is a good starting point, because you like that depth of field. When introducing the flash, however, you get f/10.
What is more, you double your flash power, which gives you an even smaller aperture and then you decrease shutter speed to get a smaller flash percentage, but end up with a shutter speed of 1/20, which you say yourself is too slow. It has to be much better to decrease the flash power, right?!

sgsiva78 says:

Hi, i was just wondering regarding your L-358, what are the switch settings at the back set to?? from left to right what is up and what is down??


casaaprile says:


jaggtmolina says:

caroline is a hottie.

Booboo Bear says:

Can one take professional photos only using a flash? Or does one have to use lightboxes, spots?

pjos111 says:

I just bought a Sekonic 308-8 after watching your video. Its a great meter !!

I have one question if you can help. I took a reading of my subject and the 308 it gave me F10 , 25. When I look through my camera lens my camers meter is telling me that I am almost two stops under exposed !! When I took the shot with the settings the sekonic meter gave it was good. When I take the shot with the cameras settings it was bad. Whats going on here please?


shonasam840 says:

There is a huge difference between those two meters. Nope, It’s not possible. Check out ‘Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 2’, I’m sure you’ll get your answer.. 🙂

ziggy255 says:

What is the difference between this external meter and the meter in the camera? Is it not possible to achieve what you did with the external light meter with with the metering options in the camera?

mikewinburn says:

trackend ,
yes, but if time is of the essence, and accuracy is of the essence, then the Sekonic is for you. If you favor “just experimenting with the settings until you get it the way you like it”, then second guess a Flash meter.

For example; at a basketball game, game finished, 3 minutes before next game, need to take a team pic, whats best Apeture, Flash, Speed at given ISO? You could play with it and hope to get it right, or you could just use the flash meter and get right 1st time.

mikewinburn says:

sridhar125 ,
yes you could continually adjust all the modes and settings and see what results 🙂 the wonder of technology right?
The Flash meter allows you to have a repeatable process, and quickly tells you how to adjust all the settings of Tv Av ISO simulaneously once you know the percent of flash/ambient.
I’ve discovered its all about what YOU the artist wants to portray, and subjective in final results.

mikewinburn says:

woodenchopstick ,
florescent lighting would have been tamed with your selective chosing of either a custom White Balance, auto white balance, or florescent lighting white balance (that would correct the color).
[Of course room light (overhead light) is part of ambient light as long as its continuous or constant.]

John Oshaughnessy says:

Many thanks Mike, for your help on this one, Regards John Shaughz

mikewinburn says:

shaughz ,
CM 5-3 is actually a thyristor setting on the EXII. It is actually an automatic mode, but so named manual since you can manually adust modes. It uses the flash meter on the Flash itself, and not the one in the camera (hence “External”).
Mr. Wallace is referring to the “Manual” setting acheived by using the Mode button on the 580. (The first “mode” is ETTL, and 2nd “mode” is “Manual”, the 3rd mode is “Multi”.

James Leung says:

@lamyeechiu @lamyeechiu window light + flash = f10. The flash is probably at f9. Not sure how the percentage is calculated though. Keep in mind flash outputs f9 light for 200th of the sec and window light outputs f6.3 for 1/60s

James Leung says:

window light + flash = f10. The flash is probably at f9. Not sure how the percentage is calculated though. Keep in mind flash outputs f9 light for 200th of the sec and window light outputs f6.3 for 1/60s

lamyeechiu says:

Mark, thanks for the tutorial.
the window light expose at f6.3 while flash at f10. the flash should be 1.3 stop brighter at Megan’s chin. then why does the meter say the window light balances with the flash light at 50% each? does anyone understand it? thank you.

mikewinburn says:

not really sure why you chose to change settings to 50% flash/ambient…was that arbitrary?
And if you wanted to shoot 1/60 and f/6 (without flash), why not change settings to match that when active flash suggested 1/60, f/10? (again arbitrary?)

asigravitate says:

I see that half the people here haven’t found the amazing photographic secret of renting from you local camera shop, seriously its 10 dollars to rent out a light meter for a day.

John Oshaughnessy says:

Great tutorial all of them ! , If I’m using my Speedlite 580ex 11 and trying to balance Flash with Ambient Light,, and using a Flash Meter , Would I have to set the Speedlite on External Metering , Manaul Mode, think its Custom mode 05 03
is which the iso and Av set on the Speedlite, #
or am I totally confused !!

trackend says:

£400 for a meter is a heck of a lot of dosh I just wonder if this is worth it for amateur use as you still state that you are taking test shots for each setting so why not set up to begin with the f stop you want use the TTM set to manual add your flash and adjust using the test shots that you are already going to be using with the light meter the results will be the same, and you will have saved £400 the only down side is the work rate drops which for an amataur is no great shakes

Julio C Solar says:

Let’s say you are shooting outside and you want to balance your exposure with the ambient light; having a light meter to sort that out for you is a plus. Simply put, it can also expedite your workflow…. a lot!

jhklghdjhkjhkjjk says:

Be honest naughty women here

applepiewithtoast says:

Either I don’t get it or maybe I don’t need a lightmeter, I just set up my camera the way I want it and shoot some test pictures first.

James Leung says:

Hi Mark Technical Question, not sure if this has been asked already in all these comments, you have three different light sources with different colors: Fluorescence, Sun, Flash. How did you manage to balance all those colours? Nice work.

sridhar125 says:

Thanks for the video. However, I still did not understand the point. What does the flash % tell us ? I mean, can we not just adjust the aperture and see what the resultant picture looks like ? I guess I am trying to understand the value of Sekonic to flash estimation process. If I eventually have to guess the % that I need, then is it not prone to user error ?

trinhk says:

What can I say, excellent video. Very well explained.

3rdinfantrygrunt says:

Hand held lightmeters are applicable in ALL types of photography. I use my L-358 in the incident (versus reflected, like an in camera meter does) about 95% of the time. The L-358 is a tremendous meter for all applications. I use it in the studio as well as on location.

terramar111 says:

Is a light meter useful for landscape photography? Or is it only for studio photography (which I’m assuming would include outdoor portraits, etc.)?

terramar111 says:

Nice video. I need to learn how to use a light meter.

Irontree1980 says:

Just the video tutorial i was waiting for. thanks for sharing this.

jbethel3321 says:

Love the videos

gaansi77 says:

Mark, you are a true Guru, combining your knowledge and the presentation skills, it just makes the whole video watching an enjoyable learning experience. Thank you.

Opossumbay says:

Hi Mark. Love your work man, I really do. I am a videographer and bought the 1D MIV to try on video. From that came me stumbling across you material on the Sekonic site. Subsequently I bought the L-358 and Mini + 2x TT5 Flex and 580 Ex’s. I ‘owe you one’ because now I learn more about pic shoot my video work is becoming so much better. Many thanks. Kindest regards – Jack

Dimeji Thenostalgist says:

I really want to thank you for your great work on lightings, I’ve really enjoy your videos and the quality of your work and delivery, I wish I could attend 1 or 2 of your classes; shame I’m in London which almost render it impossible.
Keep up the good work.
Many thanks.


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