How to Read a Histogram: Underexposed? Overexposed? Or Just Right?

Photofocus (old site)

Editor’s  Note: The following is an excerpt from a new book called the  Photofocus Guide:  Develop Great Images in Lightroom.  This book is almost done and we’ll be giving away free copies soon to all our readers thanks to Mosaic.  Be sure to check out the Lightroom Learning Center.

The Histogram panel contains a number of tools to help you evaluate your photo’s exposure and even begin making adjustments. The most visible part of the panel is the histogram itself, which is simply a graphical representation of all of the tones contained in your photo, from the darkest tones on the left to the brightest tones on the right. While there is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” histogram, the histogram can be incredibly instructive when examined alongside your photo. The histogram below shows that the associated photo contains brightness values that span across the entire tonal…

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