ou might already know all about histograms, if you don’t it’s well worth getting your head around them because, well, they are pretty awesome. Unfortunately they are often overlooked, dismissed or misunderstood but they are very helpful especially when it comes to strobist photography.

A lot of people will tell you that a good photograph must have a nice even histogram, this is a blatant lie & you must immediately set fire to who ever told you that. What you should do is think of a histogram as a light meter for after you’ve taken the shot — a light meter on a cocaine fuelled acid trip with a dab of heroine and a touch of speed.

Anatomy of a histogram — from left to right the histogram will tell you about the dark, mid & light content in your photo, and from top to bottom it will tell you how many pixels in your image are affected in that area.


When I review a photo, I am probably more interested in what the histogram tells me than what the image preview is trying to show me. I am not looking for a good or bad histogram, there is no such thing, I am looking for one that matches the style of photo I am going for. So I have put together a few examples of histogram shapes and the type of photos they might match up with.


So the next time you go out with your camera, try checking your histogram out after you’ve taken shot, hopefully it will give you a little more insight into how your photo has been exposed.

To get to your histogram on most Canon cameras you press the Info or Display button & on most Nikon cameras you press the up or down button when previewing an image to cycle through the different views.


Topic Filter: Commercial / Landscape / Portrait / Stock / What's Hot

Related Tutorials


Martin Lawrence

After many years as a keen amateur photographer, I decided to start a small landscape photography business called Lakescenes which I ran alongside my main job as an IT Manager. As business increased, I found myself working long, but rewarding, hours just to keep up […]

Read More

Rob Sheppard

Rob Sheppard is a naturalist, nature photographer and videographer who says his favorite location is the one he is in at any time. He is the author/photographer of over 40 books, as well as a well-known speaker and workshop leader, and a Fellow with the […]

Read More

Gary Hart

Gary Hart has photographed California’s natural beauty for over 30 years. Gary’s photos and writing have appeared in many publications, most recently Outdoor Photographer and Sierra Heritage magazines. You’ll also find his images in greeting cards, postcards, calendars, and many galleries and private collections throughout the world.

Read More

Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz

Originally from Poland, based in London UK, Jaroslav has background in Fine Arts, degree in Architecture, and wide array of experience. Being an Architect taught him how to be resourceful and to solve complex problems with simple, yet innovative solutions. Constant passion for graphic & […]

Read More

What's Hot

How to Photograph Buildings

Architectural photography is a very rewarding subject. However, it does take practise and experimentation to get right. If you’ve a hankering to try architectural photography these four tips will prove useful… Choose your lens wisely The closer you are to a building, the more likely […]

Read More

Color Correction: How to Set Custom White Balance in DSLR Camera

Watch this photography tutorial video to learn the art of color correction and setting custom white balance. Color is a visual property of perception. Camera chip interprets the light that passes through the lens in a similar way as our brain interprets the light passing […]

Click to Watch

Understanding Your Camera’s Lightmeter

The lightmeter in your digital camera is astonishingly clever. The default mode is known as Evaluative (or Matrix). This mode breaks a scene up into chunks, each of which are measured independently. And then, after a microsecond of thought juggling such factors as where the […]

Read More