Using Your Camera’s Histogram Display

Here’s a little video I put together showing you how to use your DSLR’s display option to toggle to the histogram view. Histograms (with the exception of a few extreme lighting situations) are an excellent tool you can use to make sure you are getting correct exposure in camera. I use mine all the time when I’m doing shoots to double check my exposure because the camera’s light meter doesn’t always properly read a scene’s information exactly correctly.  If you are shooting in manual mode, you can use the feedback from the histogram to make subtle adjustments that will then improve your exposure. (If you are shooting in one of the program modes you can make adjustments using the + or – EV buttons)

Here is the video:

And here are some excellent resources to read up more on histograms:

A thread on good exposure based on histograms and what is known as “shooting to the right” (getting as much light as possible without clipping the highlights).  This is a link to I Love Photography which you need to register (free) to become a member to read.  It’s an excellent site and you won’t regret joining and you’ll learn tons!

Understanding Histograms” which goes much more in depth than my little lame drawing in the video.. as you can see, mine was a BROAD generalization, there are many different types of histograms.

Happy shooting, and have a great weekend!!

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TidyMom says:

Thanks so much! this really helps….but I have a silly question. So if you are doing a photo shoot, do you take a test shot then check the histogram and make the adjustments? and if so, how often do you need to keep checking it? Some times I feel like I spend more time adjusting my camera settings than I actually do taking pictures (I’m not a pro, but I do take my kids and friend out for some shoots)- or I find this all very difficult when taking candid shots…by the time I figure out is my exposure is correct, I’ve lost what ever I was shooting.

Ashley says:

thank you sooo much for this! I have been trying to learn how to use a histogram but everything I read wasn’t making sense! Your video has helped me tons! I get it now! thank you sooo much!!!!

ariana says:

You’re welcome Ashley :)

Katie says:

I ran across your site after doing a search on lessons about shooting in manual. I’m brand-new to this and these little videos have been VERY helpful. Especially this one. Thanks a TON!

ariana says:

Glad you all found it useful!! :)

elizabeth says:

That was an excellent run down and now understand it soooo much better. taking a online photo course for the Canon Rebel and was having a hard time understanding exactly what I was looking at and what it meant relative to adjusting settings. Thanks a lot.

pam says:

That’s awesome! I never knew that. I was looking at the histograms from some of the pictures still on my camera, and I was v proud to note that some of them were perfectly exposed. Just luck, there. :) I only wish my DSLR (a really old Digital Rebel) had the neat features that yours has.

Ava says:

Cool tip! Now I have to go run and check the histogram of my last photos ;p

ariana says:

Alicia,
You totally deserve it – you take the best point and shoot pictures of anyone I know!!

Alicia says:

Hmmmm – I’m so gonna re-read your blog after I win the lottery and buy a DSLR! Hope you enjoy a nice relaxing weekend!

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