The histogram is a useful but often misunderstood tool your camera provides to help you get the correct exposure on your images. In this article I’m going we’re going to look at how to read it, and use it to your advantage to help you do just that. Getting the best exposure (there is not such thing as the “correct” exposure, as it’s all subjective, we’ll talk about this more later) in camera should be your goal every time you click the shutter. Using these tips should help you increase your success rate.
What is a histogram anyway?
Dictionary definition: A bar graph of a frequency distribution in which the widths of the bars are proportional to the classes into which the variable has been divided and the heights of the bars are proportional to the class frequencies.
HUH?! Anyone else confused? But what does it do? How do you read it? Let’s have a look!
How to read the histogram
A histogram is a graphical representation of the pixels exposed in your image. The left side of the graph represents the blacks or shadows, the right side represents the highlights or bright areas, and the middle section is mid-tones (middle or 18% grey). How high the peaks reach represent the number of pixels in that particular tone. Each tone from 0-255 (o being black and 255 being white) is one pixel wide on the graph, so imagine the histogram as a bar graph all squished together with no spaces between each bar.
How to Read and Use Histograms.