How to use histograms in Photoshop: a quick tutorial

How to use histograms in Photoshop: a quick tutorial

Histograms are an important tool when makingan image in-camera.

They also have their use during post-processing.

In this episode of House of Hacks, I talk about how they work in Adobe’s Photoshop.

[Music] Hi Makers, Builders and Photographers.

Harley here.

This is one in a series of videos about understanding and using the histogram.

The others can be found in this playlist.

I also have a playlist of other topics related to photography.

Today, we'll look at histograms in Photoshop.

In this application, histograms tell us the same information as they do on the back of the camera but instead of just one histogram, Photoshop has several because of the different ways to view the image.

First off, if the histogram isn't visible, go to the Windows menu and select Histogram or you can click this icon.

By default it shows a little view like this.

Click on this option drop down and select "All channels view" to see multiple histograms, one for each channel.

In many images all the channels will be verysimilar.

But in some instances they might be quitedifferent.

The split channels can be useful in situations where one color is predominant in your image.

They help you see how adjustments to the image impact each color to help you know when one channel might startclipping, losing detail in the final image.

There's also this combo box that controls what is displayed in the top histogram.

Personally, I like to show luminosity.

These histograms show the information forthe image with all the adjustment layers applied.

It’s the final histogram for the processedimage.

As you turn adjustments on and off, you can see the histograms change accordingly.

Histograms also show up in some adjustmentlayers such as levels and curves.

The histograms that show in adjustments are the histogram for the image as that layersees it, taking into consideration the original imageand any layers below the current layer.

This means adjustment layers above and belowthe current layer may have different histograms than the current layer.

As an example, this levels adjustment layerhas a histogram for the original image.

If we make some adjustments and then add a curves adjustment above it, the curves layer shows a histogram based on the changes made by the levels adjustments.

If we make some adjustments on the curveslayer, we can see the main histogram shows the results.

Also, if we make adjustments in a particularcolor channel, we can see how those changes impact that channel in the global histogram view.

If our adjustments are too extreme, we can see in the channel’s histogram that we start to lose details in this particularchannel without the typical clipping showing in the main histogram curve.

In conclusion, I’d love to hear in the commentsbelow about your experiences with the histogram, particularly during post-processing.

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