While teaching a recent photography workshop, an older fellow in the back of the room raised his hand. He said, "I just bought me a new toy and she's a beauty! But I can't figure out how to make the hysterectomy work?" Fortunately, my student wasn't describing a woman. He was talking about how to pull up the histogram on his new Nikon digital camera. His confusion is not unusual. When I use my digital cameras around film people, one of the first things they see and ask about is the histogram. They want to know what it is, and how should they use it.
In this article, I will detail the basics of working with histograms.
At its simplest, a histogram is a graphical representation (such as a bar graph) of digital data (brightness values) in a given image. According to Adobe, a histogram: