Images and Their Histograms Examples

» Posted on July 22 2008 in Histograms

Real Life Histogram Examples - Fresh Out Of The Camera

Check out the following examples and their respective histograms from this shoot. When possible, I corrected the image in Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop to show a comparison histogram. *Note: Most cameras will display an RGB histogram either in review mode, or in a live histogram display. The histograms shown are RGB histograms from Photoshop’s histogram palette. It’s also worth noting that when you view the histogram in Photoshop, it is going to vary slightly from the histogram in your camera due to the fact that Photoshop’s histogram is a bit more accurate.

example-001 example 001b example 002
example 001 histogram example 001b histogram ex 2 histogram
This histogram is very underexposed. We have some serious clipping in the shadows. This corrected version of the image to the left is better, but much of the detail is still lost in the solid black, clipped shadows. A slightly deceptive histogram. At first glance it appears to have low contrast (the cluster of values centered largely in the middle), but that's only the flat green wall throwing the histogram off a little.
example 003 example 004 example 004b
ex 3 histogram ex 004 histogram ex 004b histogram
An OK histogram with some slight clipping in the shadows and highlights. It would be a purely aesthetic choice to fix the shadows and highlights. Slightly underexposed with some clipping going on in the shadow values and some lesser clipping in the highlights. *Note: The dark background causes the histogram to be weighted to the left. A better histogram that tapers off on both sides without too much clipping.
example 005 example 006 example 007
ex 005 histogram ex 006 histogram ex 007 histogram
Overall, a decent histogram despite some clipped highlights (which are probably in the red channel). Notice the standard RGB histogram can't really tell you much about your white balance. Another example of an underexposed histogram. 
example 008 example 010 example 010b
ex 008 histogram ex 010 histogram ex 010b histogram
A very overexposed histogram with severe clipping in the highlights. Not much can be done to salvage this one. Way too underexposed. After a big correction, this histogram is very healthy. It now has a nice, broad tonal range tapering off at both ends before any clipping occurs.
example 011 example 016 example 009
ex 011 histogram ex 016 histogram ex 009 histogram
Another overexposed histogram. While it might not appear to be that bad by looking at the histogram, the highlights that are clipped are beyond recovery. This histogram is just a little underexposed. While this image could be corrected, it would be best to get the better exposure in camera. Overall, this is a pretty good histogram. There is some minor clipping in the shadows and highlights, but nothing a slight color correction couldn't fix.