What is a light meter and how is it used?

Light meter
Light meters are not just a relic from the past. They can still do things that built in camera meters can't. (Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

In order to calculate the exposure needed for any given scene – whether that’s a wide-open landscape, a tiny insect on a flower, or a head & shoulders portrait of a friend, the camera needs to know what combination of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO is required to get the job done. This is known as the Exposure Triangle and the parameters it sets rely on a meter to measure the intensity of light first.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Jon Adams

Jon started out as a film-maker, working as a cameraman and video editor before becoming a writer/director. He made corporate & broadcast programmes in the UK and Middle East, and also composed music, writing for TV, radio and cinema. Jon worked as a photographer and journalist alongside this, and took his video skills into magazine publishing, where he edited the Digital Photo magazine for over 15 years. He is an expert in photo editing, video making and camera techniques.