Ident ifying the key tone
Once you know the area you want to expose for, you’re halfway there
The fast track to successful exposure is very much based on experience and judgment, and is simply this: learn to identify the most important tone in the image you’re about to shoot, and then decide how bright you want it. This key tone may well coincide with the obvious subject, such as the skin tone in a portrait, but it may just be a part of a subject, such as the sliver of light around a backlit subject (see left). The key tone does not, of course, always have to be an average, mid-tone. Just think of the difference in a portrait between very dark and very pale: the former needs to be at least a stop darker than an average mid-tone, the other a little lighter.
Meter a stop darker than a mid-tone to capture the beauty of darker skins