How to Use Spot Metering & AE Lock on a Digital Camera

As a photographer, the chances of being familiar with the terms spot metering and AE lock are relatively great. They are common features on most DSLR cameras and ones that are often used. That being said, not everyone understands the science behind the two settings which is why the following video will prove to be helpful to many. In it, the instructor lays out the laws of spot metering in a clear and informative manner, giving viewers a thorough understanding of how to use the features, and also how the camera makes them work to our advantage. Pretty handy information to have! Take a look:

The video teaches photographers how they can use spot metering and AE lock to photograph complex lighting situations in which there is a diverse range of light such as the in the photograph below.

landscape photography

“Your camera views your scene and evaluative metering divides it up into sections…What the computer does is take a meter reading for each section then matches it up against a database stored in the computer against hundreds of thousands of scenes and, based upon an algorithm, choses the correct metering.”

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:


  1. Ellen Powell says:

    Thanks for this video. I’m so bad with numbers that I’m going to have to watch it a few times before trying it out. In the video, I would have liked to see some examples of spot metering, evaluative metering, and centered weight metering of the same scene to see what the difference is, with a description of which part of the scene he did the spot metering on and locked up. The image of the mountain with patches of snow reflected in the water here, for instance. Thanks,

  2. Ian says:

    I agree with Ellen above that a real life scene example using the different metering methods showing where he was taking the readings from would have been 10 times more instructional and beneficial. As far as I know if you were to use spot metering you would also need to know what neutral colours looked like so as to have a starting point of 18% grey and then work from there. It`s alright just saying meter the grass but grass has many different hues depending on it`s condition and the light hitting it so which type is 18% grey?.

Leave a Comment

Personalize your comment with an avatar from!

Prove Your Humanity * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever