The light meter has been one of the most overlooked user features on a digital or SLR camera. One of our network bloggers Andrew Nealon has some great tips on how to make the best use of your light meter:
As you get ready to take a picture, take a reading on your light meter. Most meters run from -2 to +2, with each mark on the meter representing a “stop” or aperture increment. (Don’t worry about what the aperture is right now, we’ll learn about that later.) By adjusting the camera’s aperture and shutter speed — the thumb wheel on SLRs, menu options on a point and shoot — or moving around so that the light of the room or sun changes, you will start to see the light meter changing.
Most of the time, you want to aim for having you light meter perfectly centered, giving you a balanced exposure. But there are special circumstances when an over- or under-exposure is just what the photographer calls for. Remember, you are in control of the camera, and therefore, you can make it do what you want. Playing with exposure is great for artists and nature or outdoor photographers, where shadows and light can change drastically between shoots.