Utilizing Spot Metering for Stage Performances

Nikon D750 + AF-S 85mm f/1.8G @ ISO 8000, 1/200, f/2

Utilizing Spot Metering for Stage Performances by Alan Trammel.

What is spot metering?

In spot metering, metering is evaluated based solely on one point and ignores everything else.  It’s great for stage performances because it allows you to expose for your subject while telling your camera to ignore other lighting in the frame.

When I was asked to be the official photographer for Cirque du Slay and I started thinking about camera settings, my mind immediately went to spot metering.

Cirque du Slay was a theatrical showcase celebrating the diversity of alternative art forms.  It was produced by Lisa Allred Dance and Idiosyncrasy Performance Artist Collective and took place at Aradia Fitness in Cary, North Carolina.

Heading into an unknown venue I decided to set my camera on spot metering, aperture priority and auto ISO.  These settings allowed me to follow the fast paced action while only having to choose the aperture I wanted for each act.


  • Nikon D750 w/Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G
  • Nikon D500 w/Nikon AF-S 17-55 f/2.8G DX
Nikon D500 + AF-S Nikon 17-55 f/2.8G (DX) @ ISO 1600, 1/200, f/2
Nikon D750 + Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G @ ISO 900, 1/200, f/2
Nikon D750 + AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G @ ISO 1600, 1/200, f/2
Nikon D750 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G @ ISO 1250, 1/200, f/2


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