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Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Carole, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. Carole


    Jun 15, 2008
    Bellingham, WA
    I'm trying to figure out how to properly read a histogram. I've looked around the net and have read various descriptions and explanations, but I still don't feel like I know how to read it totally. Is there a definitive explanation out there that you would recommend? I've gotten to the point where I really need to know what the camera is doing, why it's doing it, and what I need to do to correct it.

  2. Carole, did you read this one? histograms

    The main thing is you don't want anything "clipped" off the end of the histogram, either side. If you do, then you have lost data, either no detail in some highlights, or no detail in some shadows.
  3. Carole


    Jun 15, 2008
    Bellingham, WA
    No, but I will now :)  Thanks, Rodney. I took a course on Adobe Bridge at Miller's the other day and he explained some things, but I need more :) ))

  4. Rodney is essentially correct, Carole. But after mastering that, you will learn to look to see where the darkest and brightest areas are, and in which color. It is possible to stretch the dynamic range by selectively clipping where it is hidden...thereby creating more "punch". It is also usefull to watch the histogram as you apply brightness or contrast controls or d-lighting to see how they change the balance, as well as to recognize certain light patterns...open blue sunny sky, for example.

    However you end up using it, it is important to get familiar with it. It will become your most important exposure tool.
  5. Carole


    Jun 15, 2008
    Bellingham, WA
    That's why I am trying to figure it all out. I know how to basically read it, my problem is what to do to correct things. Up til now, I've just been playing with exposures or adding fill flash here and there, but I never know what I'm going to get until after I shoot it. I'm trying to get myself to the point where I know a photo will come out decent before I hit the shutter button :) 

  6. Carole,

    Here is an excellent article on histograms: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/histograms1.htm.

    I hate to tell you this, but everyone uses histograms differently and to different degrees of importance to their photography and rendering. Furthermore different cameras, meters and software create different histograms. In my opinion, the use of the histogram when taking pictures is primarily as a tool to help the photographer achieve optimum exposure and to help ensure that highlights are not blown and unnecessary loss of image detail does not occur.

    With that said, your skill with using histograms and your comfort level with histograms develops along the lines of ".....practice makes perfect" and sometime along the lines of ".....familiarity breeds contempt!" The trick is to tame the contempt through practice and turn this into content.

    Have fun and enjoy!
  7. scooptdoo

    scooptdoo Guest

    just reread this artical.very helpful indeed.

  8. Hi Rodney,

    Great site and a very simple explanation of a histogram.

    Thanks for sharing.


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