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Many of us will go about our photography without ever looking at those magical graphs called histograms, yet by doing so, we are severely restricting our ability to get the perfect exposure. Histograms are perhaps the most powerful, and often overlooked, tool in the photographer’s skill-set. By understanding what they are telling us and reacting to that information, we can dramatically increase the quality of our exposures.
Where Do You Find a Histogram?
The two most common places photographers will come across histograms are in your camera settings and in your photo editing software. Both work in similar ways and are basically a representation of how the light is distributed through your image through the use of a graph. This means it can not only tell you how close you are to a correct exposure but also whether that exposure has high or low contrast and whether you have lost details in the shadows or highlights. On your camera you will usually find the histogram information in the display section of the menu. Most cameras, when reviewing an image, allow you to cycle through several screens of information. These will include, just the image, image plus exposure details, clipping, in other words where the image is overexposed and histogram. Some camera’s will also allow you to show the histogram in terms or red, green and blue as well as luminance.