Middle Gray


Middle gray is one of the most important concepts to understand when metering. Whether you need a quick review of middle gray or you’re starting from scratch, here’s a more in-depth explanation of middle gray and how to adjust exposure settings for both low key and high key scenes:

Things to remember…

  • Underexpose for low key scenes, but be cautious because if you underexpose too much, it’s hard to bring shadow detail back with film.
  • Overexpose for high key scenes.
  • In scenes where you have a full range of tones, you’ll generally want to overexpose, since film retains detail in the highlights so well.
  • Light meters are a great place to start, but be ready to adjust any settings when necessary.
  • As with any film technique, practice is king! The more you practice, the more you’ll know when and how to adjust your exposure settings. We can’t wait to see what you shoot!