Histograms: Not as Obvious Nor as Boring as You Might Think!

by Ellen Anon


© Ellen Anon
All Rights Reserved
One of the huge advantages to digital is the ability to check a histogram immediately after taking a shot. With film we exposed, sometimes we bracketed, and we hoped! But with digital we can check immediately and know for sure if we nailed the exposure.

But the truth is, many people don�t bother to check the camera histogram, or know how to interpret it. Almost all digital cameras - and certainly all digital SLRs offer the ability to show a histogram on the LCD on the back of the camera. By checking the histogram, you can readily determine if you have blocked up shadows, burned out highlights, or a good exposure. Then, if the exposure isn�t quite right you can adjust it accordingly - adding light or subtracting light.


© Ellen Anon
All Rights Reserved
What makes reading a histogram a little trickier is that some cameras display RGB histograms whereas some display luminosity or brightness histograms. Although they are referring to the same picture, the more highly saturated the colors in the picture are, the more luminosity and RGB histograms will differ. By knowing which type histogram you�re looking at, you�ll know how to understand the histogram and use it to adjust your exposures.



© Ellen Anon
All Rights Reserved
It's not hard - and, in fact, I consistently hear from students that it's a lot more fun then they expected! And even more importantly, it's really useful to be able to take advantage of the histograms!




Article by Ellen Anon. To learn more about photography, explore the many online photography and Photoshop classes offered here at BetterPhoto.com.