Mitzi Ilagan |

You might be wondering what the little box on the lower right part of your DSLR’s screen is for. You may think of it as a distraction, but  trust us, it’ll be of help as you realize its use.

The histogram, or the box which shows a colorful graph represents the real-time light on your screen. It shows the amount of tones on the brightness of a photo from black (black parts or shadows, on the left side) to white (bright parts or highlights, on the right side). The middle part of the histogram represents the midtones, meaning, the parts which are neither dark nor light. You could see a histogram on different cameras and softwares, including Adobe Photoshop.

A histogram usually display the red, green, and blue channels, which are the primary colors. The horizontal axis of the graph shows the brightness level, from darkest to brightest (left to right). The vertical axis, on the other hand, shows how many pixels are there at the brightness level. For example, when the histogram shows a bunch of jagged lines on the right, the photo is overexposed. If it looked crowded on the left, it’s underexposed.

camera histogram

Clipping, a term used by photographers, describes how the details get lost because the photo is either underexposed or overexposed. However, there is no ideal histogram that all photographers depend upon to. There will be photos that needs more shadows to look better, or some photos which needs highlights and a few midtones to look good. Also, take note that as you change your lens, your histogram would also change even when the settings are not adjusted.

You could always make the histogram visible on your DLSR’s LCD screen to check whether your photo’s got too much exposure or not, but you could not edit it directly. It’s a good tool so you won’t guess or just judge based on what you see. You could use photo editing apps or software to post-process them.

Follow my other articles in and