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Reading Exposure Via the Histogram

Lesson 7 from: Photography 101

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

Reading Exposure Via the Histogram

Lesson 7 from: Photography 101

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

7. Reading Exposure Via the Histogram


Class Trailer



The Camera is Simply a Tool


How Does a Camera Work?


How to Adjust Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO


Exposure Triangle


What is a Stop of Light


Reading Exposure Via the Histogram


Blown Highlights or Clipped Details


White Balance & Color Temperature


No Such Thing as the Correct Exposure


How To Measure or Meter Light


8 Key Points to Understanding ISO and Image Quality


Understanding the 3 Primary Metering Methods


How to Get Perfect Exposures in One Shot


Equivalent Exposure but Different Images


Compensating for Light and Dark Scenes


Starting with Automated Modes


Auto Mode and Flash-Off Mode


Portrait Mode on a Fashion Shoot


Landscape Mode on the Beach


Sports or Action Mode


Macro Mode with Food Photography


Creative Effects Mode - Floral Photography


In-Camera Processing


A Glimpse into RAW Processing


15 Tips When You’re Having Trouble Focusing


3 Primary Types of Autofocus


Single Shot with Portrait Session


Single Shot with Action Shots


AI Servo with Action Shots


Focus Recomposing vs. AF Point Selection


Shutter Speed and the Reciprocal Rule


How to Hold a Camera and Panning Tutorial


What Makes a Great Photograph?


How to Capture Candid Moments


How to Find the Right Light Direction


5 Basic Compositional Theories


The Power of Cropping


Color Schemes


Diving into the Narrative


If It’s Not Working With, It’s Probably Working Against


More About Your Camera and Lenses


Understanding Megapixels


Crop vs. Full Frame Cameras


Crop vs. Full Frame Cameras Demonstration


Prime vs. Zoom Lens


How the Lens Affects Composition


Dynamic Range and RAW vs. JPEG


5 Tips on Memory Cards


10 Tips on Buying Gear




The Good Karma Jar


Posing and Action Shots with Female Model


Posing and Lighting with Female Model


Posing and Lighting Couples Portraits


Lesson Info

Reading Exposure Via the Histogram

As we progress through the photographer one one serious, we're going to be teaching you all sorts of ways that you can use the cameras in camera meeting system to basically measure the amount of light around you, but for right now we don't want to get all the technical stuff I want you all to get out shooting with us and we'll understand what were doing in camera so what I want to do is teach you how to gauge your exposure using live you and using the live you hissed a gram history ram is an incredibly powerful tool to help us too visually gauge the overall exposure in our images and we're gonna use this scene to kind of demonstrate now what we have here is we have the sun directly in front of me right now and it is behind some cloud, so it is softened up a little bit but it's basically right behind the scene that I'm shooting into now this means that this scene is going to be backlit, so in the rocks we have very deep and dark shadows in the water. We have very bright highlights where...

the light from the sun is touching this is going to be kind of difficult when we get to exposing the scene correctly and the history I'm is going to be a powerful tool now we don't have that necessarily when we're shooting with the sun you can see kind of behind me as we're shooting with the sun. Everything kind of falls to a very flat mid tone range because it's all being directly lip, I'm gonna show you exactly how this would look like in the history of but first let's pull up our live you and show you exactly how you do it. I have my canon rebel t five I right here on my tripod, we have the fifty five to fifty lens on it. This is the standard kit lens, and what we're gonna do is going to shoot with a nice little composition, giving us some foreground rocks and shooting these tide pool rocks and getting a little bit of water splashing on him, the water's coming in from the right side. So if we get a nice shot of the water, kind of comes up and give us some nice action shots, we have this mounted to our meat photo globetrotter, tripod, it's, a great tripod, inexpensive and for what you get is pretty awesome, and we're going to mount it, just that everything stays stable, as were demonstrating all these different things, and we could see exactly from frame to frame how it looks let's, go ahead and hit the live you button right on our team five I here and it's going pull up our live you on the back of the screen now, right now, I pretty much don't see anything, okay? Because it's too dark it's under exposed completely so we need do is a just exposure, so at least we see something on the back of the screen. Not typically you're live. You is probably gonna display something more like along the lines of this now to get it to display the history and we simply hit info until the hiss graham actually displayed. Now let's, go ahead and just adjust our shutter speed our amateur going to go with first of all, an aperture of maybe a little bit lowers I'm gonna hold down the after button we're gonna go down and like maybe around eight because I do want a broad depth of field I want to get around that optimal sharpness on the aperture as well and then now I'm going to slow down the shutter just so we have something to see on the screen. Now this point I'm gonna hit info so we can bring up that live you hissed a gram and there it is now the highest graham looks a little bit confusing and it looks something like awful that we used to hate in mathematics with those curves and all that, but it's really not that hard to understand very simple when you know exactly what it's showing you all the history ram is doing is showing you the overall brightness or the luminosity, and you're seen. Now what this means is that the left of the history ram this little side over here on the left, is going to be our shadows in the middle. We have our mid tones, and in the right side, we have our highlights. Anything that's pushed into those areas basically is going to be demonstrated with these peaks now, wherever it peaks, it's telling you that a lot of the tonal range of the image is in that area, in your shot, I'm going to show exactly that means, because I'm sure that was very confusing to hear. So right now, we're a little bit under exposed. I let me go ahead and keep under exposing, and what you're going to see is that when I get upto one for thousand of a second at f ate one hundred, everything is pushed to the left of the history ram. So the history ram is showing that it's under exposed everything push to the left means that were clipping our shadow detail. If we're losing shadow detail, that means it's gone, it doesn't matter for shooting rock or j peg, it is gone when they get into post production is going print is pure black likewise, if I were to bring this all the way to the other side so now I'm slowing down the shutter speed going down a one one hundredth of a second now we push everything to the right side of the history ram so everything is pushed against the right side are shadows come off the left edge so now we have very little shadows in the scene and we have a lot of highlights that are being blown out blown out is the same thing as clipping our shadows we're losing our detail in our highlights and that means those highlights are going toe print as pure white. The goal with the history ram is to get everything within the middle range. Basically what we're gonna do is I'm going to adjust my shutter speed and watch visually as the history ram pulls into the centre. Now the goal is to get our shadows up against the left edge and the highlights up against the right edge without blowing out any highlights and without clipping any of our shadows and we get that right around say wanted any of this second right now now we can get that right now because well, we're not getting too harsh of sunlight were covered in cloud cover, but if it were much brighter if there were no clouds than we have to go with a much higher shutter speed so that is a balance hits a gram. Now, once I have that, I'm just gonna wait for my waves. I'm gonna take my shot. Now I'm noticing that I'm not one to be the second. That means that way are going to be showing a little bit the action in the way that motion were not fully freezing it. So what I might want to do is just adjust my after down a little bit, so I'm gonna bring my after down teo it's a seven point actually going on a six point three, we'll bring the shutter speed upto one, five hundred second so we can freeze that water just a little bit better now. All it's going to come down to is waiting for that perfect wave and capturing are shot. By the way, I have locked in my focus. I just picked a point of focus that's kind of in the middle of our depth in that scene, and I locked that focus right there, so that way it doesn't change throughout this entire scene I did that is by switching to manual mode. So I have a couple of good waves here coming through. I'm gonna take a couple of the shots. We have our shot here now what I want to do is kind of demonstrate on the nikon is going to a little bit different because some cameras going to different different brand different makes and models may or may not have live your instagram but they will offer a history ma'am, I'm gonna show you also what a different history I might look like so let me take a quick shot I'm just gonna take a shot over here of these rocks in the background because I want you to see what a history it would look like where all the tones fall into that mid range kind of area because the sun is basically front lighting everything over here that's where all of our tones fall into so let's go ahead I'm gonna swap these cameras out now wade got the nikon set up I've got the same work similar composition on the nikon set up is in the cannon let's go and take a quick shot right now this is set at one, five hundred a second at f ate and I saw one hundred I just want to see where we're at with the exposure and we'll adjust because we don't have the live you hissed a gram on the nikon so we're gonna take that quick shot and this is the playback instagram okay so what? We're going to do it after we get the shot we hit play it's going to go that playback menu not most likely what you're going to see is something more like this so you'll see basically the image by itself just like that now what we have to do is we have to hit up on the deep had to be able to see more options actually I think this is the default option right there when you get up again it's going to take you this second screen and shows us the history and in the history of waken see that our shadows are indeed a little bit pull to the left too much and we can see that the highlights when we have a little bit more range on the highlight so we can pull those little to the right okay, so let's go and make that adjustment again so what I'm gonna do is, uh let's say you want to go up a little bit brighter so let's go in and just adjust the after a little bit so I'm gonna bring the after down maybe around f five let's go at six point three and let's take one more shot also the sun is starting to peak right now so we'll see if that kind of messes this up but what I can do is I'm just going to give us a double check we're gonna look at our highlight alert to just make sure you were solid okay, so I'm gonna show you guys the highlight alert in the next video, so don't worry about that that's gonna be our second tool and getting the right exposure visually so right now if I go beheading, go back to my preview we can see that we've maximized artist a gram here so there's our final shot were at one, five hundred a second at six point three, one hundred we have our shadows pulled all they left, but they're not clipped. Our highlights are pulled to the right we've captured of this much tonal detail this shot as possible. Okay, I want to stop piper just a minute here now throughout this video pious mentioned that the goal is to get everything in the history graham in the middle range in other words, capture as much detail as possible and max up the dynamic range that can be captured by the camera now he's right in capturing as much detail in that it's a really great general goal most of the time, but not all the time. So let me show you a couple of examples. Nope, I took this photograph for an equestrian fashion concept shoot not too long ago, and if you look at the image and its history graham you'll notice that a lot of the images in the shadow range there's dark firm the skin of the horse the models outfit the background of the bar now everything is in the shadows except for the model's face. But guess what? That's? Totally okay. And it's it's quite correct it's simply that the scene really is a naturally dark scene. Now let's, take a look at another example and actually it's from the same shoot in this time with a model tying her laces on her boot. If you look at the history room, it looks like a lot of the information is pushed to the right side of the frame and it's being blown out. Now, if I were to just look at that history ram and not the image, I might guess that the images actually overexposed, but in reality it isn't. It looks like it's just where it should be. So the point of this quick tip and exercise is to demonstrate that the history graham and the live you together are great tools and they're a pairing, so you should use them together, always trying to maximize details in your history. Graham is a really good goal, but make sure that the seats still looks correct as well because if you're seeing is naturally dark while you got expect that your history graham will be pushed to the left a bit and if the scene is naturally bright than expected to be pushed to the right of it, so this is where your artistic judgment is going to help you it'll help you arrive at the artistically correct exposure maybe not technically correct one but maybe the right one for that scene all right, so back to the video now there is one benefit in addition well major benefit of the nikon over the cannon we saw the cannon had live you hissed a gram which was awesome the nikon didn't which makes it more cumbersome you don't have that option to be able to adjust in live you you have to go and take a shot before you can see the history but what the nikon does have is the sensor that can capture mohr dynamic range we're going to talk more about this and getting more demonstrations on dynamic range later and particularly shooting and raw, but what that essentially means is that this camera can capture more shadows and more highlights within the same image when compared to something like this this is around fourteen stops this is around twelve stops and don't worry this will make more sense later on just know that this captures more detail which is good all right so we have that's set up now want to compare just that scene that you had going in this direction we shot with the sunlight versus against the sunlight okay, so I just want to show you what the difference in the history of looks like so here's the history ram in this scene where we're shooting against the sunlight whenever you're shooting in a high contrast seen going against the light, you're gonna have a lot of highlights and a lot of shadows. That means it's going to be a u shape hisa graham, because going tohave highlight our shadows in the left side and you're gonna have highlights on the rights, and I think you guys are probably flip flops so shadows on this side and highlights on this side, but you get that u shape hits a gram when we're shooting with the son, I'm going to show you what that looks like, so let's, go back over here on theirs are shot with the sun, so when we're shooting with the sun, we get kind of a different curve. We get more of this kind of middle shaped curve where most of the tones are falling to the mid range that's because we're shooting with the light and it's all flat light, we don't have a lot of highlights. Everything is just kind of mid tones, and so when you're shooting with the light it's actually very easy to capture the entire dynamic range the entire tonal range on the scene within one shot, but we're shooting. Against the light that's when it becomes tricky that's, when the history ram is going to be really one of your best friends and making sure that you get the perfect exposure. All right, that's it for this video, and I'll see you on the next one.

Ratings and Reviews


I watched this class "live" and was simply amazed at the amount of information Pye covered. Yes, he talks a little fast, and since I was streaming the class I couldn't stop it to review anything, but this guy really knows his stuff and explains it very well so I absorbed quite a bit. Bye is enthusiastic, clearly enjoys his craft, and delivers excellent information to students in a light heartedI and fun way. I think some reviewers are a bit harsh about his humor. Lighten up, people! His examples and the additional information his co-host provides are very worthwhile and you can tell the course was well thought out. I plan to buy the class to help me get back into DSLR photography.


I really enjoyed this class. I am not a beginner, but there were still things I learned here that I found helpful. I really enjoy learning from Pye. He is quick, gets to the point and doesn't spend a lot of time going over and over the same point. There is a wide variety of things that he covers, so really something for everyone. I would recommend purchasing this class if you want to understand your camera better, improve your technique and start taking better photos.

Joy Bobrink

I have tried to learn photography myself via the internet / YouTube but always felt like I was missing something in my foundation. Sure I can zero out my meter...but why? How do I know the settings I've selected are the correct ones? I've been circling this drain for a year until this course. WOW! Pye has SO MUCH information in every video. He doesn't just stand in a classroom and talk, he's out in the field actually putting his settings into his camera, talking about why and why not and then shooting. He's hands on the entire course. You don't just hear him, you see exactly what he's doing! I'm a visual / listening learner and this is my eureka moment! Thank you Pye! Watching the Exposure video and how you changed the settings yet maintained the exact same exposure was mind blowing. Awesome course! I would recommend this to anyone new to photography or anyone that feels like they don't have all the info.

Student Work