Where to Place a Spotmeter

A spotmeter is a special type of light meter which only measures a small part of the light in a scene. This makes it much easier to identify the light coming from certain sources or bouncing off certain objects. Spot meters have been used for quite a long time and are very popular with photographers.

Some higher end spot meters are much more capable. These can detect a number of different spots at the same time and then take an average of all of the separate points. This makes it really easy to get an accurate measure of all the different points at once.

If you are using a Spot meter then you will need to find out where to place it to get the best readings. It's important that these readings are all accurate and you can only accomplish this if the meter is in the right position.

Positioning the Spot Meter

The position of the spot meter will depend on exactly what you are measuring the light intensity of. It is important to take a look at this guide so that you can get the most accurate measurements possible.

The spot meter should always be positioned in the same line of sight as your camera. This makes it possible to identify the exact light readings for the different objects in a photograph. Placing the spot meter just above or behind the camera will normally be the easiest way of using a spot meter.

Built in Spot Meters

Some digital cameras, especially DSLR cameras have built in spot meters. These will always be aimed exactly where your camera is looking.

Aiming the Spot Meter

You will need to aim the spot meter at the objects in the picture that you want to measure. Some of the better cameras or standalone spot meters are capable of detecting a number of separate objects in a photo and then averaging them all.

To aim the spot meter at a specific object look down the viewfinder and aim the lens of the spot finder or camera at the object that you are interested in measuring. Pressing the trigger will then take the readings. With the readings available it should be fairly easy to set up your cameras exposure correctly.


Once the meter has taken the measurements the readings will be displayed on a screen or dial. Most modern meters are digital and these are useful because they will give you the exposure values in a format which is easy to understand and use with your camera.

You might want to repeat the readings a few times to get it in the correct position. This will improve the chances of getting accurate readings that you will be happy with.

Other Light Meters

Most standalone spot meters are capable of many different types of light metering too. This makes it very easy to use them to measure the light in many different conditions. Simply switch the mode of your light meter to change the type of metering that it uses.