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Photography Tutorial: Understanding the Histogram

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Photography Tutorial: Understanding the Histogram

TEST-Infinity-Curve-table-014

Reading the Histogram

Many times you take a photo and when you look at it on your computer it looks darker or brighter than you intended. This is because the LCD on the back of the camera cannot always display colors as they would appear when enlarged, and you might be looking at the LCD in bright sunlight.

Histogram

(image: histogram)

This is why digital cameras can display a graphic that shows the levels of light in your scene. This is called the histogram. To find it on your camera, you might need to press "display" while in preview mode. (depending on make or model)

Histogram of overexposed photo

(image: overexposed photo with detail lost in the bright parts)

The first thing to know when reading the histogram is that the left edge represents the shadows, the right is the highlights and the middle is the midtones. The shape of the histogram must go up from the left and right edges and not be cut off.

The area of the curve that is cut off, represents detail that is lost in the dark or light areas of the scene. This is especially important when taking photos of wedding dresses, where you want all the details of the dress to show and not just a white sheet of fabric.

Another example is when shooting outdoors with some parts in shadows and others in bright sunlight. An easy fix can be to move the subject into shade or alter the composition of your scene. This would save you a lot of time in editing later.

All this could be missed if you didn't notice your histogram reading.

Fixing in Photoshop

If however your scene is such that you couldn't move the subject, or you missed something on the shoot, you can still bring back some detail in those areas, but only to an extent. This is done by using the "Levels" Adjustment in Photoshop and simply adding a mask. You then make the mask black with the fill tool, and paint in white over the areas where you want the adjustment to happen.

A tip to use for all your images, is to check the histogram in the "Levels" adjustment and then dragging the right slider back to the point where the histogram starts to appear from the bottom. This fixes images that are slightly under exposed and will not result in any loss of detail.

If you are editing images in Black & White, the "Levels" Adjustment is very handy in adding some contrast by dragging the left slider slightly to the middle.

Why not just edit?

Photoshop has made our lives as photographers a whole lot easier, yet we have become reliant on it to do most the work  for us. In the end, a bad image can only go so far. So try getting it right in camera first, and see your photos improve to the next level.

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TIPS: Wedding Stationary

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TIPS: Wedding Stationary

Formal Wedding

This week's interview was with Elzette Kotze from Toasts & Tassels Events Stationary. With a view set on the stationary side, let's take a look at the current trends in weddings.

Formal Wedding

Formal Wedding

Reception program, menu, name card, table number, invitation

The formal look is timeless and the simpler you keep it, the better. Good paper and elegant lines, mixed with quality glassware are the main things to keep in mind. Laser cutting has become more frequent now to give name cards a new design. Even tables can be given names, instead of numbers, that remind of significant destinations the couples have visited perhaps, or any other special memories. Whatever you choose, remember that less is more.

Farm Wedding

Farm Wedding

Wine coaster, name card, menu, invitation, napkin holder, wedding favour

Many brides have opted for a more rustic look. Barn houses and gardens have been converted into vintage banquets that are both bare foot and fancy free. Custom made napkin holders can be cut into animal shapes and the use of baskets, wooden furniture, picnic blankets and chalk boards to the atmosphere to keep things casual. A good idea might be to have your wedding favours designed to add to the décor. Whether its straw bales or wild flowers, always balance it out with decent linen for the tables and you can't go wrong.

Playful Wedding

Playful Wedding

Invitation, menu, name card, photo props

The more adventurous and fun couples may want to express their personalities in their wedding décor. These may include centre pieces made of sweets or even lotto tickets as wedding favours. If you have a photo booth planned, you can ask your stationery designer to create some masks that match the feel of your wedding.

Other fun ideas that have come up recently are circus themes and ice cream diners.

Something that has become more prevalent lately is that many venues don't allow confetti in any form. An interesting alternative would be to use ribbon sticks to wave as the bride and groom leave the church. This still makes for great photos and a lot less messy for the venue.

For more information on Toasts & Tassels follow this link:

http://toastsandtassels.yolasite.com

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