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

Beauty Lighting for Stills and Video

Trying New Things I definitely fall into the category of photographers who get bored doing the same thing over and over again. Although I am often hired to shoot a style that my clients see on my website or portfolio, or shoot images for a […]

Click to Watch

Taking Control of Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness

Taking Control of Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness is at the very heart of photography. When you shoot a photo on your camera one of two things happen. Either the camera saves the image as a Raw file or as a Jpeg. The fundamental difference between […]

Read More

Take your best ever Christmas photos

While the packed supermarkets, heaving shopping malls and congested traffic networks can try the patience of even the biggest Christmas fan, there is no doubt that this is a really magical time of year for the family photographer. Here are five ways to get your […]

Read More