Photography Tutorials and Articles

Understanding the Histogram

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 make a perfect exposure.

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 the 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 that most of the pixels are used for highlight areas with a few in Dark Grey and Black, resulting in overexposure like the image below.

Histogram in Over exposed photo

The Histogram in Overexposed 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 histogram range. For instance, try to understand how this Histogram would look like a photographic scene.

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

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

Next, 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 the 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 looks pretty similar to the previous Histogram, you understand that it is under-exposed when you compare it with the scene.

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 tricky. It just takes practice to become familiar with the information it provides.

In our upcoming Photography BootcampI 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!

Our next Bootcamp starts on February 3, 2022. It is a six-week program and has two field trips.

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New Bootcamp Programshow details + $576.45 (CAD)*  

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Histogram

That is all for now. Stay tuned for my next photography Tips. We love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions; feel free to send us your questions, and we will be more than happy to answer them. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more Free Tutorials and Tips.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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