Maybe I'm over thinking this, but I think evaluative is the best being that it would give you the "best" balance of light across the scene. Is it dependent on the scene/mood at the time like a shingle shot? Should I not worry about it because of the multiple exposures? So my main question is, what's the best metering method (evaluative, partial, center) for an HDR shot?

3 Answers 3


The metering mode is largely irrelevant when preparing a multi-exposure HDR as no single image will be correctly exposed, so you're only trying to get the centre image in the ballpark so that you don't waste exposures at either end. Unless you're really skilled at judging the dynamic range of a scene (remember the brain compresses dynamic range to fool you), you'll likely have to tweak the number of exposures or the gap between each exposure in to make sure you have the full range captured so you can dial in the correct exposure compensation at this point.

I find whenever I'm shooting a situation where I have the opportunity to review and adjust exposure you want a metering mode that is not sensitive to slight changes in composition, settings like spot metering are bad as if you move the spot slightly after setting exposure compensation the measured exposure could shift, undoing your correction.


I spot meter the brightest and darkest parts of the scene so I can

  • know exactly what the dynamic range of the scene is. do I even need HDR? if that middle shot looks good enough I may not merge the other images.
  • place the middle exposure roughly halfway between
  • make sure my other exposures cover the range and then some.
  • it also forces me to think about the bright and shadow areas of the image and if they're important to me.
  • +1, easy on HDR, do overuse this technique, it's often not needed and results in horrid pictures.
    – Aki
    Feb 9, 2012 at 7:28
  • In my case more out of laziness (not carrying a tripod and not wanting to spend time on post processing) rather than avoiding horrid pictures. If I do HDR I usually try to make it subtle, mainly blending in otherwise washed out sky
    – MikeW
    Feb 9, 2012 at 9:40

Yes, evaluative will typically give the best results. You should aim to expose the darkest image for highlights - ie. nothing should be clamped.

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