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Understanding the Histogram

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Understanding the Histogram

Histogram can be your best friend in Digital Photography

Do you use and refer to the Histogram in your digital camera or editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom? Understanding the role of the Histogram in digital photography is very important and can help you to make a perfect exposure. Because it is so significant I dedicate one part of our Digital Camera Workshop for Beginners to understanding the Histogram.

Generally speaking the Histogram shows you the tonality of light captured in an image. In this article I am going to talk about the Luminosity Histogram not the RGB Histogram. By understanding the information in the histogram you can easily modify the exposure to make a perfect shot.

Histogram

As you can see in the image above, the left side of Histogram is pure Black and the right side is pure White. The vertical axis shows the number of pixels. By studying the histogram in this example I know the majority of the pixels are used for highlight area with a few in dark Grey and Black, which can result in overexposure like the image below.

Histogram in Over exposed photo

Histogram in Over exposed photo

Or it can be a High Key image like this one.

By understanding the Histogram you can take better High key photos

By understanding the Histogram you can take better High key photos

There is no such thing as a perfect Histogram. You should compare the histogram with the scene and find out if your main subject is within the range of the histogram. For instance try to understand how this Histogram would look as a photographic scene.

Histogram shows that the majority of pixels are in dark grey tones

Histogram shows that the majority of pixels are in dark grey tones

Next take a look at the image and compare it with the Histogram

Although majority of pixels are in dark grey tones, the Histogram tells you it is a correct exposure for this scene

Although majority of pixels are in dark grey tones, the Histogram tells you it is a correct exposure for this scene

Now look at this Histogram.

Histogram shows that the majority of pixels are in dark grey tones

In this image the majority of pixels are in dark grey tones

Although it seems very similar to the previous histogram, when you compare it with the scene you understand that it is under-exposed.

This Histogram shows you that the majority of pixels are in black and dark grey

This Histogram shows you that the majority of pixels are in black and dark grey

Understanding Histogram is not difficult. It just takes practice to become familiar with the information it provides. In our upcoming Digital Camera Workshop for Beginners on July 15, I will cover this topic in depth with more tips that you can put into action to learn one of the most powerful tools in digital photography. Understanding Histogram is like finding a best friend inside your digital camera – one which gives you instant and accurate feedback every single time!

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

 

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