I'm looking at light levels for photography and I'm trying to figure out how much light hits my sensor. There are plenty of tables online which give light levels, but that's only directly relevant if I'm photographing the light sources themselves. Since I'm photographing objects instead, I only get the reflected light. How much reflection can I expect?

Obviously this will depend on many particulars -- if I was shooting a mirror reflecting the light source it would be nearly 100%, while an all-black scene or distant objects might be almost 0%. But I'd like to get an idea of what's typical, or even better a range of examples.

I assume that distance works normally, with light levels falling off as the inverse square pf distance.


1 Answer 1


Various sources indicate that average reflectance of surfaces is somewhere between 12-18%.

Calculating exposure from table values is not very typical. Most photographers would use a light meter, either built in or external.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you -- I appreciate that this is not a typical question. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Charles
    Feb 20, 2015 at 1:30

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