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How to Read Histograms

Caleb Ward

Is your image too dark or too bright? Your histogram will let you know.

If you taking pictures or video you probably have at least seen a histogram. Simply put, histograms are a visual representations of the tonality of your image. White pixels on the right, black pixels on the left and mid-tones…well you get the idea.

Practically speaking a histogram will tell you if an image is underexposed or overexposed. The goal is to create a hump in the middle with the falloff not touching the left or right side of the image. The following video will give a quick rundown on how histograms work and how you can use them to become a better photographer/filmmaker. The video covers:

  • Reading Histograms
  • Setting Up Histograms
  • Understanding the Layout
If you shoot on a Nikon camera finding the histogram can be a little tricky. To avoid issues check out Nikon’s post on histograms.

This video was first shared by CreativeLive on their YouTube channel. If you are interested in learning about other exposure/color scopes we recommend checking out our post on Vectorscopes and Waveforms.

Have any recommendations for working with histograms? Share in the comments below.