1 Tip for correct exposure

The camera’s built in light meter will give us accurate reading most of the time unless we are exposed to “extreme” light conditions like snow or other highly reflective material like metal in the frame.
These elements can easily fool the camera’s light meter and it is much better to use a gray or white card or even an external light meter to get a more accurate reading.

So here is a tip of what to do if you happen not to have any of those and will get you a reliable white/gray card that you will leave at home.

All you need is to get your hands on a gray/white only once and meter the palm of your hand.

1. Meter your gray card: Let’s suppose that the when metering on the gray card you camera reading is ISO 100, f/4, 1/60

2. Meter the palm of your hand: And make sure to meter the palm, i.e. interior, of your hand. Let’s suppose that the camera’s reading is ISO 100, f/4, 1/100

3. Calculate the exposure compensation: It is easy to notice that there is a 2/3 f-stop difference between the two readings.

Now that you have “calibrated” your palm any time you need it just meter of the palm of your hand and dial in the correct Exposure Compensation calculated in step 3.

  • Brilliant!
    Thx for the advice…
    really useful!

  • Ryan


    Sorry i’m not really get it. So base on 2/3 stop difference, i going to add +2/3 EV or -2/3 EV, correct? is it what you mean?

    And also, the last paragraph, you mention that only need to meter the palm, so we don’t need to meter the gray card again? ( when we move to different light condition)


  • Having read this a number of times, I think I understand what you are trying to say, but I can only see this technique working if the ambient light on your hand is equal to that of the whole scene you are shooting. i.e. you have to be in the scene, not sitting in the shade taking a shot of something that is not in the shade for example… (like sitting under a tree and taking a shot of a distant brightly lit landscape)

    my advice would be to take one test shot, look at your histogram and then adjust your exposure compensation based on that 🙂