This is another challenge out of the book The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs (Voices That Matter) by David duChemin. In this assignment he goes over how to use your histogram and what your looking for. So I turned my “blinkies” on and went out and started taking photographs.
I do refer to my histogram regularly when taking photos. I can never trust the screen on the back of my camera because it seems to always convince me that my exposure is way to bright, but when I get it into Lightroom it’s too dark. So I refer to my histogram to get a general idea of what my exposure looks like.
I took a few different photos the other day and I wanted to share with you this one because I think it demonstrates a great point in what an ideal histogram looks like.
This is the shot in RAW right out of the camera. The histogram for this shot looks like this:
This shot was taken to expose for the shadows. There were no blinkies flashing on this photo – so I didn’t loose information in the highlights. If I had exposed to preserve the highlights, you would see a histogram with the main part of the graph on the left.
This brings up a great point in using the Histogram. Is it better to expose for the highlights or the shadows? I have heard opinions from both sides. The best advice I ever received was to use your histogram to expose for the shot your trying to get. Be artistic about it, not technical. I rarely expose for the shadows – because I like a lot of my shots to be a bit moody like the photo below, and I want to preserve as much information about the sky as possible.
Here is the photo above that is (in my opinion) slightly over exposed after post processing. Exposing for the shadows was a little bit of a new experience for me, and I’m happy to say it was a good one. I wish the sky had a bit more detail, but I don’t think that’s because of the exposure.
Let me know you experiences with working with the Histogram and which side you generally expose for! I encourage you to try exposing for the highlights and for the shadows and see which one works best for you!