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Understanding Histogram

Understanding Histogram

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Published by Finas Mohd Daud

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Published by: Finas Mohd Daud on Oct 23, 2010
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One of the most important features of digital cameras which have changed the experience of taking pictures is the possibility of reviewing your picture at the point of taking a photograph. You are able to see if you have taken a good picture or a bad one and decide whether you should keep it. However, most of us do not know about an additional feature in our camera that can also help in determining a good picture. This feature is called the histogram.

The histogram shows you the tonal range of your picture, usually depicted as the darkest to the lightest pixels in your picture. Reviewing your picture in such a small LCD on your camera, it can be hard to determine if your picture is of the right contrast level. A histogram can tell you details about your picture’s exposure and whether you need to make any adjustment to the settings on your camera. A picture that is underexposed will show the following

A picture that is overexposed will show the following .You can see that most of the details are concentrated on the left side of the histogram showing that there more dark areas in your picture.

WHAT DO YOU DO IF I HAVE ALREADY TAKEN THE PICTURE? It’s always best to get a picture just right from the point of pressing the shutter button. what is necessary for you to do is to make the right adjustments such as using flash or to manually increase or decrease exposure level. most of the details are concentrated on the right side of the histogram showing that there are more bright areas in your picture. there are times where you can’t get back the same moment and you end up with a picture that’s not well exposed. This is one of the main reasons why there are a number of photo-editing . Most of the time. But. What can you do? Don’t despair.Here. In the above cases. your camera’s auto exposure feature will correctly make these adjustments unless you are faced with extreme cases.

click on the on the black and white button at the bottom of the Layer box and select Levels.software available to fix the problem. If you are using photoshop. You will then see a histogram which displays the level of colours for the red. this method leaves you with little control over the results of the adjustments. However. If you see empty gaps on either side of the histogram. USING LEVELS For most people the simplest way to adjust the tonal range of a picture is to just use brightness and contrast feature. use an adjustment layer. I’ll use Adobe Photoshop to give you an example of how you can fix your picture. this means that your picture has low contrast level and could be better with a slight adjustment. green and blue (RGB) Channels. . Most good and even basic photo-editing software would have this feature available for you to make adjustments.

What you have done is actually improving the overall contrast of your picture by spreading the colour details over the entire tonal range. . This makes for a more pleasing picture to look at. You can see the change in your picture instantaneously as the contrast level improves.Move the slider on both ends to the edge of the histogram where there are tonal details.

you can select the individual colour channel. or gamma level of the picture.The middle slider is used to adjust the overall brightness. __________________ . If your picture suffers from a colour cast. red. either due to poor lighting or a problem with white balancing. green or blue and move the sliders to make adjustments to correct the colour.

10:26 PM sharpshooter Staff Join Date: Jul 2004 Location: Kuala Lumpur Posts: 2.KENJI Images . BEFORE .Keep on shootin' Kenji Images Galleries | Photography Collection | Blog Last edited by sharpshooter : Yesterday at 03:24 AM. sharpshooter View Public Profile Send a private message to sharpshooter Send email to sharpshooter Visit sharpshooter's homepage! Find all posts by sharpshooter Add sharpshooter to Your Buddy List #2 09-10-2005.646 Here are a couple more examples of how pictures can be improved by checking and tweaking the levels in a histogram.



Now that you know the basic steps in adjusting your picture levels. It may be quite a subjective issue and you have to judge for yourself if it looks fine after the adjustments. In the next few articles I will come across this feature to do some creative digital photo effects. a misty atmosphere or soft colours of a fabric. try practicing this on your existing pictures.Kenji - .Do remember that there may be some cases where it is not necessary to make the above adjustments such as pictures of a grey object. .

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