Hi all

I have purchased a light meter and have read a plethora of confusing and conflicting literature on the correct metering techniques for studio portraiture.

Could you give me advice on what I should or should not be doing. I won't mention brand names of the light meter I have purchased so will keep this generic and hypothetical.

Let's say I have a four light set up: key, fill, hair and background lights. I am not so much concerned about the mix between continuous fluorescent lighting and any strobes I might be using.

Okay here we go. From my understanding, I might want to:

Firstly meter the key light (let's say eg f/11), aiming directly at the light from the subject. I would turn all other lights off to do this
Then I would meter the fill light 1 stop under at f/8 (turning other lights off), aiming directly at the fill light from the subject.
Meter the background light at f/11 (with main and fill on), holding the back of the light meter against the background where the light falls and aiming at the camera.
Meter the hairlight at f/8 (all other lights on), aiming from the side of the head.

This would then give me my lighting ratios in relation to the key and fill.

After being satisfied I had my light power settings and distances correct for the aperture or shutter I wanted to shoot at, I would then take my final overall incident metering reading (with all lights on) from a position at the subject (let's say under the chin), aiming the light meter directly at the axis of the camera lens.

Have I got that right? In summary, my understanding is that the individual light readings are only to determine the ratio in relation to each other. The final reading (the one aimed at the camera from under the subject's chin) is the actual one I use to determine my final exposure settings on camera.

Cheers and thanks in advance.