Light meters might sound like one of those photography accessories that should remain the persevere of professionals—but actually they can make a dramatic difference to your pictures. In this video renowned cinematographer Mark Vargo explains how to use one properly.

He knows what he's talking about, too: he's credited as a second unit director of photography on films ranging from Deep Impact through Planet of the Apes to, uh, Ted. As a result, most of his tips originate from his experiences of shooting video—but the same principles definitely hold for photography too. Just don't be but off when gets a bit technical, and you might find your results improve rapidly. [Mark Vargo via Reddit via Peta Pixel]