Histogram: another tool in your photography arsenal

Good photographers understand how to balance a combination of details to compose great shots. Technical settings, artistic composition, timing and sometimes, opportunities need to all meet up at the same moment to deliver those nice pictures you are looking for on a consistent basis. I have met many photographers that shoot often but don’t really study all of the mechanics behind the tools they swear by. Modern cameras have dozens of options both on the bodies and buried deep inside the menus. These settings can be mixed and matched to meet the demands of the most challenging situations if one is willing to spend time creating presets. There are however a few tools that can be learned pretty quickly that will help in improving your skill set.

In photography (and color correction) the histogram is used to evaluate exposure. Ultimately, what your eyes see in the picture is the final judge, but when looking at a histogram, one can more objectively determine how colors balance per pixel, within an image.

A histogram graph is set up with black is on the left and white on the right. Histograms count how many pixels are at each level between black and white based on height. An image with a lot of light will have taller bars on the right, those with a lot of darkness will have most of the bars on the left. In reading a histogram one is not looking for good or bad. The information is there to give the shooter a better understanding of how the scene is captured and if necessary, adjustments in exposure can be made afterwards.

In the video, the people at Adorama Photo give a brief tutorial on setting up a studio shot using your histogram.

For further information on using a histogram:
Understanding Histograms
Photo Color Correction – Histogram

Histogram on Canon 7D


Adding the Histogram To Your Photography Toolkit

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