A histogram is a visual representation of the brightness values in your image.
Sounds simple enough. And it really is. Once you understand what a histogram represents and how to read it, you’ll wonder why you’ve been avoiding that odd, mountain-range shaped area on the back of your camera or in the corner of your Photoshop screen for so long.
Once you understand how to read a histogram, you’ll have at your disposal an additional and very useful tool for evaluating image exposure. It’s a tool that can improve your photographs, or at least increase the number of keepers that you shoot. That’s because a histogram can point out exposure problems that may not be obvious from the small preview screen on the back of the camera.
By keeping an eye on the histogram, you can see exposure issues more easily and see them while you’re still shooting, instead of later when they’re in full view on a computer screen. The histogram can point out possible exposure issues and give you a hint that you may need to take some additional steps because the contrast in the scene you’re shooting is greater than the camera sensor can handle.
Think of a histogram as an exposure early warning system.
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f you are just getting started in photography, exposure is one of the first things you need learn.
But even beyond that, getting a good handle on exposure and how the different components of exposure work together is essential if you want to take control of your photography and the images that you are creating.