Photography Tip Friday

(Image courtesy of Photography

Today’s tip is quick and simple.  If the camera you’re shooting with has a built in histogram and you aren’t using it, you are REALLY missing out.  As nice as today’s LCDs on our cameras are, they simply don’t do you the same amount of justice that a large (properly calibrated) computer monitor does.  One way to help you see if you nailed the exposure is to view the histogram for the image that you took.  It can really save you a lot of heartache later while working in Lightroom or Photoshop.  Not to mention that our goal is to get it right in the camera and not have to rely on Photoshop to fix our bad photos. 

The histogram is a graphical representation of an images exposure for shadows, mid-tones, and highlights.  The darker parts of the image are represented on the left of the histogram while the lighter are on the right side.  Make sense?  Good.

I don’t shoot Canon, but for you Nikon shooters here’s how to use yours on most of today’s DSLRs.  As always, you can consult your camera’s user manual for further instruction.  NIKON: While reviewing images in Playback mode, use the up and down arrows on the navigation button until you see an overlay on your image that appears the same as the overlay in the above image.  That’s all there is to it! 

Experiment a little and see how different light affects different areas of your histogram to help you understand exposure.  By becoming familiar with this little technique, you will end up with more good shots and less bad ones.  Let’s not forget the amount of time it will save you in Lightroom or Photoshop!

Have a great weekend, take some great shots, and I’ll see you back here on Monday!


3 thoughts on “Photography Tip Friday

  1. I started using this on vacation this month and I hadn’t before. I took hundreds of photos and although not all go into the gallery (only the best do) I was very pleased that I could load right into the gallery with no touch ups except for appropriate cropping. Very good tip!

  2. When I finally took the time to learn how to use the histogram on dSLR, my pictures took a giant leap forward in quality. It’s well worth the time and effort.

    I shoot with a Nikon D70 and it uses the left and right on the navigation button to toggle through the photo data. As Stephen says, read that manual! 🙂

  3. The histogram is a great tool under most circumstances to use in the field – the clipping view being another. There are some gotcha’s to be careful of, especially if you are using RAW (the histogram comes from the Jpeg!) and techniques like Expose to the Right.


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