Reading the Histogram

Another short presentation to my local camera club.  This item was on activating, reading and responding to the histogram.

A histogram is a plot of the tonal values (dark to light) captured by the millions of photosites that make up your camera sensor in a digital camera.  Just like the eye of a fly that uses thousands of tiny lenses to create one image, the digital camera uses millions of photosites to create one image.  These tonal values can be plotted on a chart available in camera that photographers can use to assess the overall exposure of their images.  One reason this chart is useful is that our eyes handle complex scenes so much better than our cameras.  Knowing what the camera sees helps you make the right choices on settings.

Most cameras show the histogram after you take the photo and display it on the LCD screen.  You can then adjust your settings for the next shot.  But higher end or newer models, especially mirrorless models, include a “live” histogram that helps you pick the right settings before you ever press the shutter.

While post-processing can address some of the problems that arise from using the wrong settings, if your image is overexposed or underexposed, there will be limits on what you can do afterward.  So use the histogram to give you an extra edge every time.

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The resources referenced in the slideshow are:


A Focus on Autofocus

One of the greatest advancements in photography has been the invention of autofocus.  Simply by pointing your camera at a subject and pressing the shutter halfway, the camera will not only meter the ambient light, but bring the main subject into sharp focus.

As with most things photographic, there is theory and there is practice and sometimes the two don’t mesh exactly.  Here’s what I’ve learned about autofocus. Continue reading

File Storage Options – What You Need to Know

Happy-New-Year-Images-2018-HD-1-1The start of a new year.  Time to consider shaping up – not only personally but maybe for your photography workflow.  How can you do things better?  At the very least, you’ve probably accumulated a huge amout of content this year.  Are you running out of storage space?  And are you safeguarding your work appropriately?

Managing and safeguarding your photographs is a personal decision with lots of options. Built-in computer hard drives are bigger and faster every year.  But there’s also detachable hard drives and network hard drives and online storage.  How do you choose the right combination?

I’ve used mixtures of all of the above over the years, and currently assign files to different storage options based on importance and where they are in my workflow.  I also need a clean, easy way to organize my content – client files here, personal files there.

With image volumes increasing, I recently looked into just how well these options are working for me, and here’s what I discovered.  One disclaimer:  these options may not be right for you.  It’s about what you feel comfortable with and what you are willing to spend. Continue reading

Being in Control

It’s one of the ironies of photography that we spend ever increasing amounts of money to purchase better and better cameras and lenses, acquiring more and more automatic features to aid us in getting the best images possible.

And then what do we do?  We turn everything off and shoot completely manually, because “that’s what pros do”.  Think about that for a minute.  Does that make sense to you?  Give your head a shake.

I recently had a moment shooting an event where I had to do just that.  Then I did a little experiment to find out just what I was missing by doing all the work myself.  Read on for the results.

Continue reading

Getting Good Bokeh

Another short presentation to my local photography club.  Last time I spoke, it was about preventing blurry photographs.  This time, it’s about deliberately blurring the background to make the subject stand out.  This is useful when the background is busy or unappealing or needs an artistic touch to be more interesting.  Have a look.

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Here are links to the resources referenced in the slides:

Bokeh Basics

Bokeh the Easy Way

Bokeh in Front of the Subject

Advanced Bokeh

Seriously Adobe?

A few days ago, Adobe launched its latest versions of Lightroom and Photoshop.  Strangely, this was done with little fanfare, and came as a complete surprise to me when I first saw the updates.

It’s been a long standing complaint that Adobe Lightroom is frustratingly slow to load and display images, particularly previews on import or previews when switching from Library to Develop.  Adobe promised to deal with this issue, going so far as to release a statement from photography product manager, Tom Hogarty in July.  The statement acknowledged user concerns and committed Adobe to working harder to address them.

I guess this week they delivered, but not in any way that anyone expected.  Far from being pleased, many users are puzzled and even angry at what the latest releases imply. Continue reading