I was wondering whether its best to use spot, centre weighted or matrix metering for portraiture when using a white background.

It feels like it could be better to use spot or centre weighted to make sure that you only meter for the subject as the background would have been appropriately setup before hand and would not change at all during the shoot.

  • Have you tried them? Do you think the exposures you got are correct? – Daenyth Apr 1 '14 at 15:54
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    Have you considered getting a light meter with incident metering? – Norman Lee Apr 2 '14 at 0:23

If as you say the background has been setup before the shoot then best practice would be to shoot in manual mode and take a few test exposures to confirm your settings.

Using the camera histogram is far more accurate than any of the metering modes.


The color of the background doesn't matter so much as the brightness of the subject. A white background won't interfere unless it is lit brighter than the subject. If the white background is intensely lit however, then either spot or center weighted would work. If you have a good spot you know you want to base your exposure on, then spot would be fine. If you have a fair range of intensity over the subject though, then spot metering may not do ideally and you would want to try center weighted, which will try to give you the best exposure overall, but with the center given extra consideration.

If you have an evaluative mode, it may also be smart enough to consider that the background is very bright and adjust for the subject.

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