Your thought of the camera and light received is slightly flawed... Here is why... The meters, no mater which mode you have it on, is a reflective light meter... It see's what hits an object, gets absorbed, and then bounces back to the camera... That's kinda why if you shoot a dark object in a dark environment, the camera may over expose or if your shooting someone skiing or a wolf in the snow, the camera may under expose... This is why exposure compensation becomes relevant... the camera (and the reflective meter) gets tricked and you need to, at times, overcompensate or out-think the situation.
A good light meter, should have what's called an incident light meter setting. That's basically recording the actual light falling on your subject. It's not as convenient... you have to meter your subject at your subject pointed in the direction of your camera, but you can almost pretty much treat that reading as gold. Also on some meters you can retract the dome (incident light meter) to pinpoint light sources if you want to section off what light is and how that will affect your photo. If you have strobes you can pinpoint the light from each strobe, determine to a 1/10th of a stop what ratio you want, and what the overall exposure is... Yes, you may have to slow down to think through what your doing, why your doing it, and become a smarter photographer, but it is what it is.