Histogram Basics to Know

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Duration: 7:49

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You consider yourself an accomplished outdoor landscape photographer, and you have a pretty good eye that helps you analyze the natural light. Yet, sometimes you aren’t satisfied with the results. In this premium video, professional outdoor photographer David Johnston will expand your knowledge of measuring light through the use of the histogram.

You will learn how judging the light through your eyesight can be deceiving, especially when you go into post production and find your images overexposed or underexposed in certain areas. Enter the histogram, a data graph representation of the tones within your file image. David shows you his high contrast image of a tiger and its corresponding histogram. The far left of the histogram graph shows the black tones, the near left shows the shadows, and the middle illustrates the perfectly exposed mid-tones. Finally, the near right shows highlights, and the far right shows overexposed whites. Consequently, the histogram captures the complete range of light data.

One warning sign is clipping, the dark left or the bright right touching the edges of the histogram. If you find clipping in an exposure, you might want to readjust your light readings and shoot again. But in extreme lighting, sunrises or sunsets, you may have to make adjustments in post processing.

In his digital darkroom, David works on a desert landscape featuring bright sunlight and deep shadows. He analyzes the histogram, then drags a Lightroom adjustment tool over the graph to lighten or darken certain areas, which rearranges the graph. You will learn how to use other tools such as the tone curve to make subtler adjustments. There are many ways to use the histogram to improve the lighting and colors of your landscape image.

Join pro photographer David Johnston in the field and in the editing suite for the histogram basics to know for improving your outdoor images.