Photography Histograms Explained

Photography Histograms

An image histogram is a type of histogram that acts as a graphical representation of the tonal distribution in a digital image. It plots the number of pixels for each tonal value. By looking at the histogram for a specific image a viewer will be able to judge the entire tonal distribution at a glance.

Image histograms are present on many modern digital cameras. Photographers can use them as an aid to show the distribution of tones captured, and whether image detail has been lost to blown-out highlights or blacked-out shadows.

The horizontal axis of the graph represents the tonal variations, while the vertical axis represents the number of pixels in that particular tone. The left side of the horizontal axis represents the black and dark areas, the middle represents medium grey and the right hand side represents light and pure white areas. The vertical axis represents the size of the area that is captured in each one of these zones. Thus, the histogram for a very dark image will have the majority of its data points on the left side and center of the graph. Conversely, the histogram for a very bright image with few dark areas and/or shadows will have most of its data points on the right side and center of the graph.

Source : Wikipedia

Histograms are the only way when shooting to get an accurate representation of your exposure. Without it, you could look at your screen and think your photo is exposed properly but then look at them on your computer later and realize everything was underexposed or overexposed.