How to Meter by Eye (Aka Guessing an Exposure) | Photograph IO

How to I meter by eye? I’ve got an old film camera that doesn’t have a light meter! Although light meters are everywhere nowadays in digital cameras, learning to meter by eye is still one of the most useful skills a photographer can learn. Yes, I know that your camera probably has TTL metering with all the fancy algorithms, but many of the world’s “best” cameras do not have one (I’m looking at you guys, Leica and Hasselblad). Not only will you be able to use a Leica M4 with ease, but even if you just own a digital camera, it surely doesn’t hurt to know how to meter by eye.

Metering by eye first requires you to know the basics of exposure. If not, don’t fret, a handy guide on the basics of exposure is coming soon on Photograph IO. But for this article, I’ll make the following assumptions :

  1. You know are familiar the basics of the exposure triangle : aperture, shutter speed, and ISO;
  2. You own a film camera without metering, regularly shoot in manual mode or simply want to learn to meter by eye;
  3. You shoot in a variety of conditions but do not like to carry an external light meter with you.


If all (or any, really) of the previous statements apply to you, then this guide might be useful to you………