Is the photo too bright / dark?

Whether it is DC or DSLR, have you ever experienced the situation where the photos on the LCD cannot be clearly seen in the sun, and you suspect that the photos are not exposed correctly (too bright / too dark)?



Now I introduce to you an important tool in Digital Photography- Histogram (Chinese translation “Histogram”). For friends who are new to photography, this can be considered a “technical” thing, but it is really easy to use! Now I will give you a brief introduction.

In a Histogram, the x-axis represents information from dark to light, and the y-axis represents the amount of that information. Here are the three most common exposures:

  1. Overexposed (Overexposed)
    most of the information are skewed to the right, left basically do not have any information.
  2. Normal exposure (Average)
    information is evenly distributed in the left to right, the middle more information.
  3. Underexposed (Underexposed)
    the majority of information are biased to the left, to the right is essentially no information.

Click to enlarge

For example

Here are some examples to make everyone more aware of the relationship between photo exposure and histogram:

under over






From the last two pictures, you can see that if you take a photo and find that the Histogram is left (underexposed) or right (overexposed), then you’d better add or subtract EV (EV +/-) Tune your shutter aperture combination.


Histogram’s Myth

Does every photo need to have or be adjusted to a normal exposure histogram? Of course not, as mentioned in the previous article on White balance-Part 2, photography is about the combination of technology and mood , An overexposed or underexposed photo can also be a good photo. Consider the following example:


Obviously, this moonlight photo is underexposed (there is no information on the right), but this is the effect the photographer wants to bring out.


And this photo of snowy trees is overexposed (there is no information on the left), but it can better reflect the effect of snow.

In Conclusion

Histogram is actually a histogram that truly reflects the distribution of dark and light positions in a photo, without right and wrong. Of course, if you want to take a photo with normal exposure (such as travel photography, ordinary portraits, normal landscapes, etc.), the histogram is very valuable, so I suggest that you do n’t just look at the photos after taking the photos, but also refer to them more histogram to understand the effects of different apertures, shutters, and ISO combinations on exposure in different environments. Of course, the most important thing is to ensure that the photo has the “correct” exposure in mind!

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Author: Alex Tam