Histograms? What are histograms? Do I need a Claritan?

Awhile back I wrote about camera settings, in particular white balance settings.  I’m glad to see that Felia experimented with it and is getting to know her camera a little better.  It really does make a difference in your photos.  Of course, if you know how, you can change the looks of your photos, one by one, in Photoshop.  A long process.  So why don’t you just do it right from the beginning?

The next fun item to learn is about the histogram settings on your camera.  After you’ve set your white balance, the histogram will let you know just how close you are to a perfect light exposure.  That’s right, the histogram will grade you.  It will look you right in the eye and let you know if you pass the test.

Once again, you’ll need your camera, a fully charged battery and your user’s guide.  You need to have your camera on it’s Manual setting to be able to see deeper options your camera has for you to play with.  Depending on your camera (the one I’m using is my point and shoot Canon Power Shot) will determine the location of the histogram option.  Look in the user’s guide for playback information if histogram is not listed.

Take your photo…

Say “CHEESE!”

And now, take a look at the playback options including the histogram.  Did you set the white balance correctly?  For this shot although it was daytime outside, I was in some house shade therefore I chose ‘cloudy’ for my white balance.  Don’t take me wrong, merely setting your balance when you’re in manual mode will not guarantee a perfect picture.  There are other settings to consider when shooting in manual but this little lesson is to get you used to looking at the surroundings of your shot and being comfortable in choosing the manual options given to you to use.  Once you can correctly set the white balance and read the histogram, the next thing to learn and adjust will be the ISO and Aperature.  Did I just lose you there?  Don’t be afraid.  As easy as white balance was, ISO and Aperature is like a walk in the park.  Your biggest hurdle was done when you clicked it off Automatic shooting.  Seriously, folks.

Here are my settings for that shot:

The graph will show how much light has been let into the lens.  If not enough light, the bell curve will be more to the left of center while too much light will go to the right of center.  On some cameras, too much light in some areas will blink off and on during playback.  This is also a tip of not have the correct lighting balance as the blinking or ‘blown out’ areas show over exposure.  In my camera, during playback, I must press the ‘Disp’ button twice to see the settings used and histogram.

As you can see, the histogram has a nicely centered light balance.  It is not too under or over exposed.  See?  The histogram is our friend!

Here are two examples of under and over exposure histogram readings.

There is more information given on this playback image but that is for another lesson.

I use the point and shoot type of camera to display the myriad of ways to use these little heroes.  Much too often, all their bells and whistles are ignored for straight Auto shots.  That’s not a bad thing, but the party is happening in Manual Mode.

Take your camera out and go play!

Love,

Fae

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About Fae

Although I have other blogs I do for my grandchildren, I felt it wasn't enough to satisfy my inner author. I needed a grownup blog to share things on or rant about. Purely egocentric. Hope you like it.
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One Response to Histograms? What are histograms? Do I need a Claritan?

  1. Susan says:

    Very cool! I’ve learned something new today. I’m off to play with my camera!

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