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Author Topic: Histogram – probably a daft question  (Read 1613 times)

Offline michaelb104

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Histogram – probably a daft question
« on: February 10, 2011, 11:56:39 AM »
I don’t think I’ve ever looked at the histogram on the camera when taking a picture and when I get back home and tweak the image in PS again I don’t look at the histogram I just change it to what pleases me.

But whenever I read something about technique it always bangs on about checking the histogram, am I wrong in not checking it??


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Offline SimonW

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 12:39:58 PM »
Um, perhaps others won't agree with me. But I think if you are using your camera on auto and the result looks Ok on the camera screen, you'll save yourself a great deal of time by forgetting all about histograms and the results on a larger screen or printed will probably be quite acceptable to you nearly every time.

If you're using manual exposure and/or wanting to squeeze the very last bit of quality (for want of a better word) from the camera then use of the histogram, in camera and in post-processing, will be essential.

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Offline krennon

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 12:41:58 PM »
Michael I'm with you, I just process an image to "what looks right" whilst it's always better to try and get it right "in camera" sometimes the metering systems etc don't read the image the way our eyes do so we have to process it with our chosen software...and to be honest I can never quite work out how a histogram is "supposed to look".....or how to read the bloomin thing properly...so I check the image on the screen and if it looks about right I leave it there and then process it when I get home...I very rarely delete any images from the card though unless they are really awful, out of focus or shakey or anything like that....imo it's just better to work the way that's best for you and not get to hung up on what the mags tell you to do....
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Offline Oldboy

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 02:08:13 PM »
To be different, I check the Histogram quite often, to see if the tones fall in the middle of the range. Sometime, a perfectly exposed image may be over to the right/left rather than the middle. This doesn't mean it needs adjusting with exposure compensation, as a Histogram is only a guide, but it does allow you to make adjustments if required. So, for example, if I shoot a picture of white clouds and check the Histogram and it shows the tonal range over to the right, then I may dial in a minus compensation of one and take another shot, which can produce a better image with more detail. I don't do it after every shot, just only when I think it might be needed like, when there's snow on the ground. Remember, it's better to check the Histogram after taking the shot rather than leave it until you get home, as then it's to late to take another shot.  ;D

Offline krennon

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 05:20:03 PM »
That's the problem though OB I don't really understand what I'm looking at when I look at the histogram I get all confused with it  :-[ which is why I may take a shot then check it on the screen and if I decide I need to do another shot at you say with +/- ev then I will take another shot but this is based on the image I am looking at on the screen not at the histogram...As I say and being brutally honest I don't know how to read the histogram properly so I go with my gut and the image display on the screen (I do shoot in raw though to allow me more scope with editing)
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Offline Hinfrance

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 07:11:42 PM »
I'm in between on this one.

I think it's more important that the image 'looks' right, but I do have my after shot preview display set up to briefly show this histogram. Usually I ignore it, but it's there if needed. If you are shooting in bright or dim conditions then your eyes can easily fool you when you look at the camera display; the histogram gives you an easy to read reality check.
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Offline anglefire

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2011, 08:33:13 PM »
I expose so that the histogram sits more over to the right, without it blowing the important highlights. But I shoot RAW and can pull it back easier than Jpeg.

But in post, I try adjust so there are some solid blacks and the whites are just touching the right of the histogram - the middle bit I adjust to taste.
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Offline Oldboy

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2011, 09:38:46 PM »
That's the problem though OB I don't really understand what I'm looking at when I look at the histogram I get all confused with it  :-[ which is why I may take a shot then check it on the screen and if I decide I need to do another shot at you say with +/- ev then I will take another shot but this is based on the image I am looking at on the screen not at the histogram...As I say and being brutally honest I don't know how to read the histogram properly so I go with my gut and the image display on the screen (I do shoot in raw though to allow me more scope with editing)

Check these out:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-histograms.shtml

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/histograms1.htm

When you open your shot in Photoshop, look at the histogram, top right of your screen. If it isn't open, then click on Windows in the menu items top of screen and select histogram. Look at you image on the screen and if it looks OK, then look at the histogram. If you need to make adjustments then do so, and as you do check what happens to the histogram. It will change when you start adjusting the image and after you have finished, look at the histogram. After doing this for some time, you will get a feel for how the histogram will look on your camera, when you have taken the shot and can adjust as required.  :tup:

Offline spinner

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2011, 10:40:20 PM »
I bracket. :)
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
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Offline Graham

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2011, 05:23:09 AM »
  If your not sure how, or don't like to use the histogram, another useful feature (on most cameras) is the "Blinky Indicator". It will be in the menus somwhere and if there are any blown highlights those areas will flash on the screen. You can then decide if those areas need to be preserved and adjust your exposure accordingly.
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Offline michaelb104

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2011, 08:27:22 AM »
Thanks for all the feedback, I think that I might take OB’s advice and start looking at the histogram when I do my tweaking just to see how it changes.  Then when a little more confident I just might start looking at it in camera but I’m going to have to do some reading up to see what exactly I’m looking at.
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Offline krennon

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Re: Histogram – probably a daft question
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2011, 08:31:27 AM »
OB I will check those out thanks for the links may even get a chance to do it today as the bosses are away  ;), I use elements 8 for PP work and that does have the histogram on the top in full edit mode, but I still don't really understand it when I see it, hopefully your links will make that a bit easier... :tup:
 
Graham I have used the "Blinky Indicator" (good name for it btw) in the past and that has proved very useful to adjust accordingly and as Spinner says there's always bracketing if you're not sure.....which kind of takes us back to what I wrote in the original reply, "Work the way that's best for you"
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