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Why You Should Own A Light Meter But Probably Don’t

A light meter is one of the most important tools in a photographers' arsenal, and you probably don't own one.

Photography is about capturing light, which is why it’s confusing that many photographers don’t own a light meter. After all, if we’re trying to capture light accurately and/or creatively, then we need to know how much light there is and where it’s coming from.

In this conversation at the Seikonic booth at the 2016 Photokina trade show, we talk with photographer and educator Lorenzo Gasperini, about why light meters are such essential tools.

During my time as a photo educator, I’ve rarely found someone that has a light meter in their camera bags. Despite the fact that most pros have upwards of tens-of-thosands of dollars of gear in their bags–everything from cameras to wireless transmitters to strobes–a light meter is rarely purchased.

As the son of a commercial photographer, all of my memories of my father include a Gossen Luna Pro hanging around his neck. Certainly in the era of the Nikon F (before the FTN metering unit) a light meter wasn’t just important it was required, but the use of a true incident light meter, instead of a reflective meter (found inside a camera) was very clear.


With the dynamic range limitations of digital photography, knowing where your key tones lie is incredibly important, especially for portrait, wedding and event photographers. Gasperini explains why a light meter is such an important tool, why you should own one, and how they’re more affordable than you think.


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