Photo Challenge #2: Use Your Histogram

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.

Vintage Storehouse & Co. Photo Challenge #2 - The Histogram


This is the shot in RAW right out of the camera. The histogram for this shot looks like this:

Vintage Storehouse & Co. Photo Challenge #2 - The Histogram


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.

Vintage Storehouse & Co. Photo Challenge #2 - The Histogram


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.

Vintage Storehouse & Co. Photo Challenge #2 - The Histogram


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!

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