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Favorite Resources

Next week starts my graduate studies in earnest, so this will likely be my last post to this particular blog. Although I never say never, as you never know 😉 As noted in previous posts, I will keep the The Art of Schutzhund Photography blog live for those who are looking for inspiration and ideas on photographing IPO (Schutzhund) dogs are work. I have truly enjoyed posting and sharing my journey with you. I also appreciate your support and visits. Thank you!

In wrapping up my posts, below is a list of my favorite resources that have helped and inspired me these past years. I encourage you to visit these sites. Some are free; some not. Some investments are very reasonable, while others are a bit more expensive. But like most things, an investment of time and money is needed to make significant progress. I hope there is enough variety in this list for you to find something of value.

Note: I left the URLs where you can see them, rather than as links, to avoid broken links and what not.  If a URL is not included, I tried to indicate a possible source.

Books (Hard Copy and E-Books)

Blair. L. Photographing Dogs: Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers. 2013. Amherst Media, Inc. Available from Amazon.

Digital Photography School. Publisher of e-books, tips and tutorials. Excellent resource. www.digital-photography-school.com

Hisch R. 2012. Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age. Focal Press. Available from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Light-Lens-Photography-Digital-Age/dp/024081827X/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

Kanashkevich M. Natural Light: Mastering A Photographer’s Most Powerfule Tool (e-book). Digital Photography School. http://digital-photography-school.com/book/naturallight/

Laird, S. Artistic Elements (e-books). Using textures and layers to create digital photographic artwork. Stunning! http://www.stephanielaird.com/psd.html

Patel J. What the Heck is a HISTOGRAM. (e-book) Jay Patel Photography. All of Jay Patel’s e-books covering a wide array of photography topics may be found at http://visualwilderness.com/learn

Peterson B. Understanding Exposure. Revised Edition. 2004. Amphoto Books.

Peterson B. Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography. Revised Edition. 2003. Amphoto Books.

Peterson. B. Understanding Shutter Speed. 2008. Amphoto Books.

Peterson B. Understanding Photography Field Guide. 2010. Amphoto Books.

All of Bryan Peterson’s books are available on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_11?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=brian+peterson+photography+books&sprefix=Brian+Peter%2Caps%2C209

Pflughoet, J. Beautiful Beasties: A Creative Guide for Modern Pet Photography. 2012. John Wiley & Sons. Available from Amazon.

Articles of Note / Websites / Blogs

Action Photography. Photographic Magazine. August 2003. Reprinted with permission on Steephill.tv Bike Travelouge. http://www.steephill.tv/photography/action-photography-tips.html

Bigman, A. PPI vs. DPI: What’s the Difference? 99Designs Blog. February 26, 3013. http://99designs.com/designer-blog/2013/02/26/ppi-vs-dpi-whats-the-difference/

Copyright Guidelines. Reprinted with permission by the Photo Marketing Association International. http://www.kodak.com/cluster/global/en/consumer/doingMore/copyright.shtml

Creamer, D. Understanding Resolution and the Meaning of DPI, PPI, SPI & LPI. Ideas Training.com. 2012. http://www.ideastraining.com/PDFs/UnderstandingResolution.pdf

Johnston. M. Bokeh in Pictures. The Luminous Landscape. April 4, 2004. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-04-04-04.shtml

Sloma K. Exploring with a Camera: Printed Aspect Ratios. Kat-Eye Studio blog post. November 18, 2011. http://kateyestudio.com/2011/11/exploring-with-a-camera-printed-aspect-ratios.html

Organizations / Tutorials

KelbyOne (previous National Association of Photoshop Professionals). A website full of amazing tutorials for Photoshop, Lightroom and Creative Cloud, plus a subscription to Photoshop User magazine. www.kelbyone.com

Professional Photographers of America. Atlanta, GA. www.ppa.com. Excellent organization with many resources for emerging professionals and long time professionals as well. Dues are stiff, but worth it.

Caponigro, JP. John Paul Caponigro Illuminating Creativity. His website includes online tutorials, DVDs, ebooks and printed books. www.johnpaulcaponigro.com

Cheat Sheets, Online Tools

CameraSim. Simulates camera settings; great way to play with lighting, distance, focal length, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. http://camerasim.com/apps/camera-simulator/

Color Temperature. Useful chart. http://www.3drender.com/glossary/colortemp.jpg

Cost of Doing Business Calculator. National Press Photographers Association. https://nppa.org/calculator

DOF Master. Depth of Field Calculator. http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

The Photo Argus. Cheat sheets for portrait lighting, photography, photo tips, light fall off, reflectors, plus more. This site also features tutorials and other resources. http://www.thephotoargus.com/resources/helpful-photography-cheat-sheets-to-make-you-life-easier/

PhotoBert CheatSheets and Accessories. http://www.photocheatsheets.com

Photopoly. Another great resource. http://www.photopoly.net/22-useful-photography-and-photo-editing-cheat-sheets/

Ultimate Exposure Calcultor. Fred Parker Photography. http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm

Web Design Ledger. 13 Super Useful Photography Cheat Sheets. http://webdesignledger.com/resources/13-super-useful-photography-cheat-sheets

Until next time…Happy Shooting – and again thank you for visiting!

 

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As all IPO photographers can attest, IPO (Schutzhund) fields are among the hardest backdrops for photographing working dogs in action. The lighting changes from one end of the field to other and from one side to other.  And, I’m sure each of us has one field in particular that bedevils us every time. For me, it’s the Chattahoochee Schutzhund Club field in Winston, Georgia. It’s a lovely place, very green, with many trees lining the field, plus horse pastures on two sides. As you can see in these images from the Chattahoochee Club’s fall trial, the horses graze very near to the field and keep an eye on what’s going on.

I really like photographing on this field. For example, I love using the horses as a juxtapose to the dog’s size and movement. I also like how the trees and pasture weeds add color around the edges of my images, and the field’s contours allow me to get some interesting angles and perspectives.

So, why is this field so challenging? For most of the day, especially prime shooting time when the light is just right, half of the field is in full sun and the other half is in deep shade. This is wonderful for handlers and dogs, but not so wonderful for photographers, especially as the action dances from shade to sun and back again. When the shade finally does retreat, the sun floods the field with bright, white light.  In addition, the dew is heavy here, as is the frost. As you might expect, until the field dries, there is a lot of moisture glistening and reflecting off the grass.

I have yet to figure out just the right balance of settings to get great shots every time. My goal is to create two sets of custom settings, so I can easily flip back and forth, depending on the lighting conditions. I’m working on it, and invite you to stay tuned for future updates.
As noted, the images above are highlights from the Chattahoochee Schutzhund Club’s fall trial, which was held October 12, 2013, Enjoy!
Until next time – Happy Shooting!

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For the most part, Schutzhund (IPO) photography is a digital medium; that is, most images are shared via social media sites. But now and again, you’ll get a great shot, with everything just right – exposure correct, dog in focus, no background distractions and the composition spot on – and you’ll want to have it printed. There is one aspect that you will need to consider in choosing the size of print and that is the image’s aspect ratio.

Aspect ratio is the proportional relationship between an image’s width-to-height.  It is expressed as two numbers separated by a colon, with the width expressed first. The most common aspect ratios in still photography include the following:

  • 1:1 – used in medium format cameras; also known as the classic square and is particularly popular in wedding and portrait photography
  • 2:3 – used in higher end DLSRs, including the professional full-frame sensors and the APS-C sensors, to correlate with the classic 35 mm SLR film cameras
  • 3:4 – used in most point-and-shoot cameras
  • 5:4 – used in medium and large format camera
  • 7:5 – used in large format and view cameras
  • 16:9 – used in cameras that can also shoot high definition video, as it is the standard format for HDTV monitors; also very useful for panoramic images

Sometimes, aspect ratios are expressed as a decimal number; for example, a 1:1 aspect ratio is expressed as 1.0, where as a 4:5 aspect ratio is expressed as 1.25. Dividing the long side by the short side of an image derives this decimal number. Some photographers find this a handy way to compare aspect ratios.

As Kat Sloma explains in her Kat-Eye Studio blog post, Exploring With a Camera: Printed Aspect Ratios, “The higher the number is above 1, the more rectangular the shape of the photo; the closer to 1, the more square the shape of the photo.” To make this a little clearer, the following table, adapted from Kat’s post, provides an excellent reference for the most common print sizes in the US, their aspect ratios and the long side/short side decimal number.

Print Sizes (inches)

Aspect Ratio

Long Side / Short Side

Pixels

1 x 1, 6 x 6, 8 x 8, 12 x 12

1:1

1.00

900 x 900 (6 x 6)
4 x 6, 8 x 12, 16 x 24, 20 x 30, 24 x 36

2:3

1.50

600 x 900 (4 x 6)
3 x 4, 6 x 8, 9 x 12, 12 x 16

3:4

1.33

1800 x 2400 (12 x 16)
8 x 10, 16 x 20, 24 x 30

4:5

1.25

1200 x 1500 (8 x 10)
5 x 7, 10 x 14, 20 x 28

5:7

1.40

750 x 1050 (5 x 7)
11 x 14, 22 x 28

11:14

1.27

1275 x 1650 (11 x 14)
16 x 9, 32 x 18, 54 x 36

16:9

1.77

1920 x 1080 (16 x 9)

By comparison, computer, laptop and/or tablet monitors typically have one of the following aspect ratios:

  • 4:3 (1024 x 768)
  • 16:9 (1920 x 1080)
  • 16:10 (1280 x 800)

The images below demonstrate how different aspect ratios affect an image. For images destined for the screen, cropping to a specific aspect ratio is as not critical. It is critical for prints, however. You can see how the image changes depending on the aspect ratio. If the action is too close to the edge, an important element might get cut off or placed in an odd spot. For this image, I really like the 1:1 aspect ratio. I feel I am right there with the dog, rather than just an observer.

Aspect Ratio As Shot 2:3

Aspect Ratio As Shot 2:3

Aspect Ratio 1:1

Aspect Ratio 1:1

Aspect Ration 3:4

Aspect Ration 3:4

Aspect Ratio 4:5

Aspect Ratio 4:5

Aspect Ratio 5:7

Aspect Ratio 5:7

Aspect Ratio 11:14

Aspect Ratio 11:14

Aspect Ration 16:9

Aspect Ration 16:9

Some cameras allow photographers to select the aspect ratio. Because photo-editing programs also have settings for cropping to a particular aspect ratio, changing the aspect ratio in the camera is a personal choice. If I know I am going to print an image to a particular size, then it makes sense. My preference (though I can be convinced otherwise) is to compose the image to make sure there is enough of a border and then crop for the most dramatic effect in Photoshop or Lightroom. If I am taking a portrait or landscape shot – the subject is not moving – then I do set the camera for aspect ratio. But Schutzhund photography is fast action, so in my experience, leaving some leeway for later cropping is definitely more advantageous.

Next up: More about aspect ratios and resolutions for presentation on computer monitors, tablets and prints.

As always, thanks for visiting and Happy Shooting!

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In my last post, I defined bokeh as a “nice blur effect.” That’s true in a general sense, but bokeh is so much more. In common usage, bokeh refers to patterns of blurred lights or shapes within an image. Another way to look at it (no pun intended) is how out-of-focus points of light are rendered – not in a technical sense, but in an artistic one. According to Ken Rockwell (see below), “Bokeh is not how far something is out-of-focus, bokeh is the character of whatever blur is there.” In other words, it is the aesthetic quality of the out of focus (outside the depth of field) areas of the image.

The term “bokeh” in digital photography has been in use since the mid to late 1990s. It derives from the Japanese words “boke”, which means blur or haze, or “boke-aji”, the blur quality. For more about how “boke” became the Anglicized “bokeh”, see Mike Johnston’s on-line column Bokeh in Pictures.

Bokeh results from a wide-open aperture (f/1.4 up to f/5.6) and a shallow depth of field. The subject is close to the lens and the background and light source are farther away. As you might expect, this will yield a background that is very softly focused or blurred. Recall photos where Christmas tree lights or city street lamps appear as soft circles of brilliant light against a softly focused or blurred background. This is a classic example of bokeh.

Amy Renfry clarifies the difference between soft focus and bokeh in her article, What is Bokeh Effect in Photography: “In soft focus photography there is an intentional blurriness added to the subject while the actual edges are retained in sharp focus, but in bokeh it is only an element of the image that is intentionally blurred. Additionally, bokeh tends to emphasize certain points of light in the image as well.”

Consider the three images below. The first is a puppy against a soft focus background. One could argue that the background is a bit monochromatic. Yet, the image still works. The second image shows a helper (Frans Slaman) against a background of trees and the third a dog running the blinds. Notice how the light filtering through the trees and at the base of the blind appear as soft circles that blend into the background. That’s bokeh! It softens the brighter points of light and adds interesting highlights to the background.

Bokeh-7

Bokeh-19

Bokeh-20

Ken Rockwell offers an excellent discussion of the technical aspects of how bokeh is created. If you are interested in a more in-depth discussion than is offered here, check out his article, simply titled Bokeh. If you really want to get into the technical weeds, see H. H. Nasse’s article, Depth of Field and Bokeh, published by Carl Zeiss Camera Lens Division.

The following summarizes Ken’s definitions of poor, neutral and good bokeh:

  • Poor Bokeh. Occurs when the blur circle (out-of-focus point of light) has a sharply defined edge, bright edges and a dim center.
  • Neutral Bokeh is a technically perfect and evenly illuminated blur circle, but the edges are still too well defined. As a result, out-of-focus objects, either points of light or lines, appear as reasonably sharp lines in the image due to the sharper edges of the blur circle. Many quality lenses today create neutral bokeh.
  • Good Bokeh is characterized as a blur circle with an edge that is completely undefined. That is, it blends softly into the background.

The aesthetic appeal of bokeh within an image is subjective. One could argue endlessly about whether an image has poor, neutral or good bokeh, and if your having an image judged, this could be very important. Most often, it is an artistic judgment. For example, the images below show neutral bokeh. If you are after a more textured effect in the background, this isn’t so bad.

Bokeh-17

Bokeh-8

To me, this next image of a puppy standing on his hind legs combines neutral and good bokeh very well. The tree trunks are softly focused and exhibit a neutral bokeh, yet the blooms on the crape myrtles are an example of good bokeh and really pop out of the background. It’s a nice counter point to the dark puppy fur.

Bokeh-15

In Schutzhund (IPO) photography, it can be tricky to work bokeh into fast action images, as photographers like to fill the frame with the dog – an excellent composition technique. Also, aperture and shutter speeds settings are often set to achieve sharp focus, which is not favorable to creating bokeh. But creating bokeh is possible under the right conditions and offers an appealing feature to perk up backgrounds. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes. Until next time, Happy Shooting!

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This past week I had an opportunity to photograph dogs, cats and other critters at a friend’s farm. She also owns the kennel where our dogs stay when we’re traveling to places dogs cannot go. The purpose of the photo shoot was to grab some great shots for my BJ Spanos Ink Photography portfolio. The added benefit, though, is I was reminded of how paying attention to depth of field can add an artsy look to photos as well as remove distractions.

How many times have you taken a photo of a Schutzhund (IPO) dog at work and realized that not only is the dog in focus, but so is everything else in the field of view (see image below). I’ve taken plenty – more than I care to remember! Tends to be rather distracting, doesn’t it? The viewer’s focus is diffused over the entire image rather than drawn into the focal point, which in this case is the dog going over the one-meter hurdle.

Depth of Field-11

There’s a reason I used the word “diffused” to describe the viewer’s experience, as it directly relates to depth of field. Consider the image below.

Depth of Field-10

The background is diffused, and the dog and helper are in focus as is a bit of the foreground. The viewer’s eye is drawn right to the action, even though there’s a bit of interest in the upper right with the horses grazing. It adds a bit of symmetry to the image.

As a review, depth of field is the area of acceptable focus or sharpness. It extends from the nearest to the farthest part of the subject area in focus. Depth of field is controlled via the aperture and focal length of the lens. As you know, changing the aperture size directly affects the overall sharpness of the image. A small aperture, say f/11 or f/16, results in a deeper depth of field than a large aperture, say f/2.8 or f/5. The wider open the aperture, the shallower the depth of field; that is, the less area is within the zone of focus. What this means is at wider apertures, the subject will be in focus, but the area in front and behind the subject may be softly focused and/or even have a nice blur effect, called bokeh.

For a detailed explanation of depth of field and lens focal length, I refer you to Robert Hirsch’s book Light and Lens: Photography for a Digital Age. An earlier post from December 2010, entitled Using Aperture and Shutter Speed Creatively, also offers a good review and discusses how to balance ISO, aperture and shutter speed to get creative images. This post relies heavily on Bryan Peterson’s expertise. Worth re-reading in conjunction with this post.

Back to this week’s photo shoot. Much of the photo shoot took place in a hay field with very tall grass and just letting our two dogs, Kira and Brio, be dogs. They did not disappoint.

Depth of Field-1

This image of Brio showed me how cool “hay on the hoof” looks with a soft focus. It has a neat texture. Yet, Brio is kind of lost in the brush. So, with a bit of cropping, he becomes much more the focal point.

Depth of Field-3

The next image is Kira in the hay and shows the textured look of the blurred out background even better. Also, notice the foreground is blurred too, so that only the area around Kira is totally in focus, especially her face and the ball.

Depth of Field-5

To close out this post are a few additional examples from the photo shoot of how using depth of field can add drama to images, while minimizing distracting backgrounds. They feature two of our friend’s five dogs, one of her 11 cats and one of her three horses, plus a neighbor’s horse. I particularly like the image of the pit bull mix coming into the field of focus, like he’s jumping right out of the picture. So, the next time  you’re out shooting, remember depth of field is more than just getting the subject into focus. It can add interest and drama to your images and help focus the viewer (yea – I know – a pun!). Until next time, Happy Shooting!

Depth of Field-6

Depth of Field-8

Depth of Field-4

Depth of Field-7

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As discussed in parts one and two of this series, histograms are very useful for assessing dynamic range, contrast and exposure while in the field and using what histograms show to adjust camera settings. Histograms also are useful after the shot in making adjustments on your computer, referred to as post processing. As noted, this series of posts shares some excellent material from Varina and Jay Patel’s ebook, entitled “What the heck is a HISTOGRAM?”  For a more detailed discussion on how to use histograms in post processing, check out their ebook. It’s excellent!

All Schutzhund photographers struggle to conquer the ever-present challenge of properly exposing for the background and the dog. Often, these are conflicting goals, as by themselves the dog and the background more often than not require completely different settings to achieve proper exposure. And, unlike landscape and portrait photography, our subjects don’t sit still, so using HDR and bracketing techniques is not an option. Shooting in RAW, while preferable, also is not practical when shooting in burst mode, at least not in my experience.

Consider this image and its histogram:

Histograms Orig 1

Histograms Org RGB 1

The background and the dog appear to be similarly exposed; that is, the dog is not significantly darker or lighter than the background and the quality of the detail and color are compatible. The level of detail also is apparent in the histogram as the bars are tall. Yet the image is a bit dark, except for the bleachers, which are bright white. This is indicated in the histogram as the spike up against the right (highlights) wall. Most of the other pixels trend towards the left (shadows) side of the histogram.

In post-processing, histograms are helpful in adjusting contrast to bring out the color and details as well as overall dynamic range to brighten highlights and deepen shadows. In this image, the shadows are already pretty deep.

Within photo editing programs, such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop (the two I use), photographers make these adjustments using curves or levels tools. First step is to adjust the dynamic range by moving the white point at the top of the curve or the far right in levels and the black point at the bottom of the curve or the far left in levels “so that they line up with the outer edges of the histogram. Jay and Varina caution to be sure to watch the histogram to “avoid lost detail in the highlights or shadows. But don’t ignore the image itelf. Extreme adjustments can add unwanted noise, artifacts and banding.”

The next step is to adjust the mid-tones. In curves, adding a “simple s-curve adds mid-tone contrast without eliminating details in the shadows and highlights…Pulling the right half of the curve upward stretches the right side of the histogram outward – effectively adding contrast to the brighter tones, with out moving the white point.” Pulling the curve in the opposite direction or downward opens up the left side of the histogram “adding contrast in the darker tones without moving the black point.” In the levels tool. these same effects may be achieved by moving the middle arrow.

Which tool you use is personal preference. I prefer the levels adjustment tool, but many other photographers like the curves adjustment tool.

These adjustments can be seen both in the image and the histogram below. Notice that the bleachers have been removed and the image cropped to bring greater emphasis on the dog. The histogram shifted more towards the middle and the spike next to the right (highlights) wall is significantly reduced. There is also more detail in the highlights area that was missing in the original photo.
Histograms Adjust 1
Histograms Adjust RGB 1
When confronted with a background that is brighter than the dog or a dog that is significantly darker than the background, the best bet is to isolate each area and adjust each one separately. Consider the image below with its histogram. Both the background and the dog are very dark, yet I know from experience that if I adjust both together, the brighter areas of the dog and dumbbell will end up looking really weird, with some blown out highlights. The histogram bears out how dark the image is, yet there is a lot of detail.
Histograms Orig 2
Histograms Orig RGB 2
First step is to isolate the dog and adjust to bring the shadow area of the histogram towards the mid-tones, which will brighten up the darker areas of the dog. When I selected the dog, I did not select the dumbbell or the dogs legs and feet. They are more closely aligned with the background, so I elected to adjust them with the background. Once satisfied, inverse the selection and then adjust the background. I also used the burn tool, set on mid-tones at about 20 to 30 percent opacity, in Photoshop to fine tune the dumbbell and the tan fur on the dog’s legs. Below are the results, with the histogram at the top right:
Histograms Adjusted Image 2
The image is brighter, the dog’s face shows more detail, and the one really bright area along the dogs back leg is toned down. The dog and background look in balance. I could have brightened up the image even more, but it was taken early in the morning, so I wanted to be sure to retain the warmth of the light at that time of day. Notice how the histogram in the upper right is broader and extends into the mid-tones area, while still retaining the nice bell curve shape.

This series is just an introduction to histograms and how you can use them to enhance your photography. I encourage you to read Jay and Varina’s ebook, as well as view tutorials on the curves and levels tools. As always, thanks for visiting and Happy Shooting!

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Understanding the basic concepts of histograms is all well and good, but what do histograms tell photographers about their images and how are they used in the field? As noted in part one, this series of posts shares some excellent material from Varina and Jay Patel’s ebook, entitled “What the heck is a HISTOGRAM?”  For a more detailed discussion, I recommend this ebook. It’s excellent!

To answer that question requires understanding what “you can learn from a quick look at the graph. First, overall width of the histogram gives you some information about the contrast and dynamic range of your image…A low-contrast image will have a narrow histogram. That means a narrow dynamic range as well. Conversely, a broader dynamic range will results in a wider histogram – and an image with greater overall contrast.” This same concept applies to the three different areas of a histogram: shadows, highlights and mid-tones.

A quick aside: “Dynamic range” is another term that is used a lot in photography, but is often not defined very well. According to Sean McHugh, who pens the Cambridge in Color blog (another excellent resource), “Dynamic range in photography describes the ratio between the maximum and minimum measurable light intensities (white and black, respectively)…[In other words, in] a real-world scene [dynamic range] is simply the ratio between lightest and darkest regions (contrast ratio).” That’s not to say the concept of dynamic range is a one size fits all.  Printers, scanners and digital cameras have different dynamic ranges, as do different models within those groups. For an in-depth discussion of dynamic range and how it applies to digital photography, see Sean’s post Dynamic Range in Digital Photography

Back to histograms. With respect to exposure, “over exposure shifts the histogram to the right, and under exposure shifts it to the left.” Another indication of over or under exposure is if the bars bunch up or spike against the walls of the histogram. As noted in part one, this means there is a loss of detail in the shadows or blown-out highlights.

Remember that no one histogram is correct. “The idea is to match the shape and width of the histogram to the scene.” This is particularly useful in the field, because “on many cameras, the brightness of the LCD monitor on the back of your camera is affected by ambient light…[so] it may not accurately represent the true exposure of your photograph. The histogram provides much more accurate information.”

Consider the histogram below:

Histograms Image 12 RGB

There is a peak in the area straddling the mid-tonal and shadow areas (left side) and a flatter area from the mid-tonal to the highlights areas (right side). The peaked and flatter areas are fairly wide, which indicates good contrast. You might think, however, that this image may be a bit underexposed, as it’s shifted a bit to the left, or has only one area with a lot of detail and rest may be boring or muted. In fact, you would be correct, except for the boring part, of course (wink, wink).

Histograms Image 12

This image was taken on a cloudy day against a backdrop of the club field and trees, which are a bit monochromatic, but this was done on purpose so the puppy (as the focal point) stands out from the background. In the histogram, the background is shown as a consistent number of pixels stretching from the mid-tonal to highlights area (right side) and also to the shadows area (left side). The bars are not very tall, indicating there is not a lot of detail in these areas. The peak is the puppy. More pixels equate to significantly more detail in that portion of the image. The puppy is not brightly lit, so the peak is just left of center in this histogram.

The image below shows a similar histogram shape, but reversed. In this histogram, the background is shown as a consistent number of pixels stretching from the mid-tonal to shadows area (left side) and a little bit to the highlights area (right side). The bars are not very tall, indicating there is not a great deal of detail in these areas. The peak, which is just to right of center, is the black dog carrying the dumb bell. Again, more pixels equate to significantly more detail in that portion of the image.

Histograms Image 10 RGB

Histograms Image 10

Unlike the previous image, this one was taken on a bright, sunny day and shows a black dog happily retrieving the dumb bell. There is more reflective light, which shifts the histogram to the right just a bit. Contrast is good, as evidence by the width of the peaks and the entire histogram.

So next time you are out shooting, take a look at the histogram in camera, and use it as a guide to adjust your settings to get the image you’re after. Part three of this series will feature some tips on how to adjust your images in post-processing using the histogram as your guide.  Until then, Happy Shooting!

 

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