Adobe Lightroom Histogram Cheat Sheet
Learn how to use the master the histogram in this tutorial. The use and purpose of the histogram may not be immediately obvious, however, the histogram is a prevalent tool in digital photography. Most digital cameras, and nearly all photo editing tools include the ability to display a histogram.
if you are new to the histogram, here is a brief overview to get you started .
What is the histogram?
The histogram shows the distribution of colors throughout the entire image. Here are a couple of reasons why this is helpful:
- Quickly identify shadow and highlight clipping issues
- Determine if the images is primarily made up of light or dark tones
- Identify how much contrast is in the image.
How to Read the Histogram
The histogram can be thought of as containing three sections. The left most section of the graph is the shadows. The middle are the mid tones. and the right side is the highlights. The taller the graph in these zones the more pixels in the image reside in these tonal areas.
For example: the histogram for a picture taken in a dimly lit hallway will contain more pixels in the shadows zone. Whereas the histogram of a picture of a bright snowy field would contain more pixels in the highlights zone.
The contrast of the image can also be determined using the histogram. The more spread out the values are in the graph the more contrast is in the image. Conversely, an image with all the values concentrated in one zone is low contrast.
You can see this in action by dragging the contrast slider in the basic panel of Lightroom from the far left to the far right and observing the changes to the histogram.
Using the Histogram to Detect Clipping
When colors go too far to the right or left this is known as clipping. Clipping is pure white or pure black. While it is good to have pure white or black in your image; it is generally not visually appealing if it encompasses a large portion of the image. Clipped areas contain no detail and can look bad when printed and take away from the subject of your image.
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