My cheeky girl

My cheeky girl

8 week online workshop
lesson 3
Simply eyes

I took these while my daughter was playing in our spa. There is a brick wall behind the spa which made the shots quite dark, so I used spot metering and metered off her face and also used the back button focus. I’m a bit confused about how I can focus on the eyes when I am using spot metering and the back button focus at the same time….can you explain this to me again? As I moved around the spa, the sun hit the one particular corner that my daughter was sitting in, but as I still had spot metering on the images are a bit over-exposed….but I like them just the same. It always seems to be the way with me that the photos I like the best are the ones that are overexposed, but when I convert them to black and white they look even better.
1. I love this cheeky shot and even though she is looking up and her eyes aren’t wide open, you can can still see the catchlights. ISO400, f/5.6, 1/400. Perhaps in this shot I didn’t need spot-metering as the sun was shining on her….but to be honest I just kept shooting as capturing a good shot of my kids is tricky when they are leaping around. I converted it to black and white as it looks better than in colour.
2. In this second shot I used spot metering off her face again because of the dark background and she wasn’t in the sun in this shot. It was still a bit dark so I’ve lightened the shot as well. ISO400, f/5.6, 1/320.
3. The third shot is another example of overexposure. I had spot metering on for all the shots but again she moved into the sun and I think this shot is a bit washed out. ISO400, f/5.6, 1/400.
Any advice?

cheeky Maddie-portrait Maddie

I'm a Sydney mum to 2 gorgeous girls and am pregnant with my 3rd daughter, who will join us at the end of March. I'm keen to learn more about capturing the best shots of my children and am excited to be learning how to use my camera.


  1. Hi Sally, To answer your question about focus on the eyes with BBF and spot metering: You use the shutter to choose where you meter for exposure (using spot metering). Aim at where you want to take your exposure reading from and hold the shutter button to lock your exposure. You then use your back button to lock your focus on the eyes – while still holding your shutter you move your camera until the focus point is lined up with the eyes and press the BBF button and hold it. Now you recompose (if you need to) and press the shutter. So your exposure is locked where you have taken your reading from, your focus is locked where you have taken your reading from and when you press the shutter your exposure and focus should be spot on. This take a little practice but it will give you better results when you master it. I hope that is clear. Let me know if you’re still not sure.
    Now on to your images.
    #1 love it. The eyes don’t need to be wide open. In fact when they are smiling naturally like that they often won’t be – we smile with our eyes as well as our mouths.
    #2 Lovely exposure and the eyes look nice and sharp – well done
    #3 To me it looks like the exposure is correct for her hair at the top right of the image but it’s not right for her face. I think you may have missed a little with your spot metering and metered for the wrong spot. This is really easy to do when they are moving around a lot. Spot metering is really precise so it’s far more difficult to get right than evaluative or centre weighted. It should only be used when you really need it. When your subject’s face takes up most of the frame you shouldn’t really need spot metering because the camera will meter for the whole face. It’s much more useful when you have a smallish subject in the frame and there’s lots of contrast. And often it’s not the best solution for fast moving kids! I use it mostly when I have a child that is relatively still so that once I’ve locked my exposure on a spot they are not going to move.
    Wow, this is probably longest reply to an image post ever! There’s a lot of information here so let me know if it’s not clear.

  2. I love the B&W – she looks SO happy. I’ve had to convert quite a few pictures when they didn’t come out quite right in color. The second one looks really well composed! It took me a few days of playing to get the hang of back button focusing and metering, but I can’t do without it now!

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