Interpreting the histogram

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The way you would interpret a histogram depends on the type of subject that the image represents. This means you can not define a “perfect” or "golden" histogram. If you take a shot of a white object then the histogram *should* peak at the right side (the light areas of the image). This does not have to mean the image is overexposed.

 

Example:

 

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Purely looking at this histogram you would say the image is underexposed because it peaks at the far left side of the spectrum. This is not the case because when looking at the overall image youll see that the subject is not underexposed, but that the image contains many dark areas. That is exactly why this histogram peaks at the left.

 

Always consider the overall image when judging a histogram. First try to determine where youd expect the image to peak. If the peak of the histogram is far “off”, you can conclude that it is either under or overexposed. You can correct underexposed images by using the “fill flash” effect. Overexposed images can be corrected by using the “Darken Background” effect. Both these effects can be found in the editing bar of the Image Viewer/Editor.

 

Sometimes it is hard to determine where the histogram peaks. This is mainly the case when there is a large peak at the end or at the beginning of the histogram. This is why IDimager includes a 3D mode for the histogram, the 3D mode can be activated by clicking the 3D button at the left of the histogram.

 

A few resources to read up on how histograms behave and how you can use them to improve your imaging results:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histogram

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-histograms.shtml