Today, I’m going to drop a few tips on a very little understood tool that comes on almost every camera. it is called the histogram.
Now, before everyone starts freaking out, even though the histogram is a chart and it takes you back to sixth or seventh grade math class. Let’s look at that another way.
Histogram, that’s kind of like telegram, right? Think of it like this… Your camera is trying to send you a message. It wants to let you know how it is seeing the picture in front of it, and whether or not it will do a good job of seeing and copying it.
just push the display button on most models of camera and this chart will appear over the top of your image. If you’re thinking, “I don’t want this confusing chart covering up my pretty picture”, let’s look at this another way.
There are two types of histograms that you can see on the back of a camera. One will show you the balance of the red, green and blue channels on a picture.
The other histogram will show you the balance of light and dark in your picture.
The histogram is set up to be read from right to left. It should, for most normal images, start climbing gently on the left side, rise to its highest point in the middle, and the slowly taper off to the right. This will indicate a balanced image.
If your histogram shows you the left side starts halfway up the side and is cut off on the left side. Then your image is clipping the darks. There are too many deep darks in your picture to make it an averaged acceptable picture.
Here is an example of an underexposed image, and what its histogram looks like.
Clipping, this just means that side of the image is too light or too dark. The blacks will not be anything but the darkest black if it clips on the left. The whites will all be exposed as the brightest white if the histogram clips on the right.
If your image is too heavy on the right side… There are too many brights in your image and you may want to lower the exposure to bring these colors back into range.
Here is an example of an image that is balanced pretty even…
So, keep in mind, the same concept applies for the histogram with colors, toward the middle is averaged, too much toward the edges is a bad thing.
Hope this helps you understand one of the most powerful tools on the digital camera.