This isn't going to be one of those "old photographers do it by the meter," updates. It's not a rant. I'm not going to infer that, if you're not using a light meter, you're not a "real" photographer. I just want to point out a few advantages of metering over relying on histograms.
Let's say you shoot weddings. I don't but, for the sake of argument, let's say I do. I'd probably be using a light meter for, at least, the formal portraits. Why? Well, because wedding photographers are dealing with lots of whites, as in wedding dresses. Could I use a histogram to dial in those whites? Sure, but possibly at the expense of skin tones. When there's a lot of white in an image, a histogram is going to look like you might be over-exposed, with a bunch of peaks on the right.
On the other hand, a meter allows you to precisely know what's going on with those whites while, at the same time, letting you know what's going on with the skin tones. By metering (and lighting) you can strike a great balance between the whites and the skin tones. If you're really clever, you'll be able to light, meter, and expose for both the whites as well as those black tuxedos, showing detail in both.
Let's say you shoot art nudes. I don't but, once again, for the sake of argument, let's say I do. Again, I'd be using a light meter. Why? Well, because in art nude photography, shooters are often dealing with shadows. Lots of shadows. Shadows often approaching black. Once again, by metering (and lighting) you can strike a more precise balance between the models' skin tones and the shadows. If you're relying on a histogram to give you this information, the histogram is going to look like you're under-exposed, with a bunch of peaks on the left.
Histograms are great. They're helpful and can lead you to proper exposure. But there are enough situations where the histogram is going to be misleading. Sure, possibly as much as 80% of the time you can get a good exposure using a histogram alone, especially if you're experienced reading them. But for that other 20%, a meter is what's going to dial you into proper exposure. I know some of you are thinking, "No problem. I shoot RAW. I can fix my exposure fuck-ups when I convert."
True enough. Leastwise, much of the time... but not always.
You blow those whites completely out and no amount of RAW converting is going to recover detail that simply isn't captured. Conversely, same holds true with shadows, albeit to a lesser extent, i.e., there's often detail in shadows even when they look very black. But blown-out highlights? Fuhgetaboutit!
BTW, while histograms will get you through most any exposure environments in a pinch, relying on the LCD screen alone is, well, is too iffy even for government work.
Ever watch those BTS vids of notable pros shooting? If the vid's content has much depth, you might have noticed those peeps are most always using a meter. Leastwise, an assistant is wielding one. If you aspire to be the next Annie L. or Greg Gorman or David LaChappelle or any number of top-notch shooters, you might want to consider getting and using a light meter, assuming you don't already own and use one.
The pretty girl at the top, trying either to push her way out of the picture or keep me at bay, you decide, is Dylan from a few months ago.