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Don’t be blinded by the light

After the music, one of the most important parts of the performance at a concert is the lighting. But the brightness of those lights can cause problems for the metering system of cameras.

Normally Canon cameras are set to use Evaluative metering. The camera compares the light values at the active AF (autofocus) point and compares it with the light values of the metering segment surrounding this active point. The metering system then selects a suitable exposure based on that comparison.

Although this works well in many cases, sometimes it can be fooled, for example is there is a bright light behind your subject. Canon cameras offer a number of metering modes including the ones below to overcome this issue. Check your manual for full details.


  • Spot metering: Exposure information comes only from the single exposure zone in the centre of the frame
  • Partial metering: Similar to Spot metering but covering a slightly larger area

Compact Camera

  • Smart Auto: This will automatically detect a brightly backlit subject and make the relevant corrections.
  • Spot metering: Exposure information comes only from the single exposure zone in the centre of the frame
  • Center Weighted Average: Metering is weighted at the centre and then averaged for the entire scene

Don’t blind others with your light
The flash on your camera is fine for photos of groups who are close to you, but beyond five or ten metres it will not be powerful enough. So how do you obtain pictures in these circumstances?

Simple; increase the ISO. Many PowerShot and IXUS models will do this automatically for you in Smart Auto mode when you turn off the flash. Some also feature a Low Light Shooting Mode that will set your camera automatically for the best results. Try taking test pictures before the concert begins so you can concentrate on taking great shots once the performers appear.

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