Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?

Started May 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
DotCom Editor Veteran Member • Posts: 7,158
You learn little about exposure with TTL

TTL certainly has its place. But, get a perfect exposure and you'll have no insight into why it's perfect. You become a mere button pusher, adding and subtracting compensation until the histogram looks acceptable. That's no way to learn lighting and exposure.

For my portraiture, still life, macro, and product photography, it's all manual all the time. The light meter tells me what I need to know and I can choose the most appropriate lighting scenario and exposure. I can meter lights individually to set ratios and as a whole to establish overall exposure.

I've seen photographers who live by TTL also die by it. When TTL isn't working for some reason, they are completely lost, with no clue what to do. Shame on them for not learning manual lighting, metering, and exposure.

If TTL works for you, by all means go with it. I sometimes use TTL when I'm shooting with an on-camera flash (typically bouncing it off a nearby wall). But, to me, the only way to take total control of the situation and of all the lighting challenges and nuances, is with manual metering. YMMV. Good luck.

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