Histograms are the solution to a fundamental problem in photography: Our eyes don’t always tell the truth. Have you ever been in a dark room, turned on your phone, and felt it blind you like nobody’s business? The same thing can happen in photography. Several times, I’ve taken pictures at night, and they look great on my camera’s LCD — until I open them the next day on my computer and realize they’re all hopelessly underexposed. Enter the histogram. This is one of the best ways to know exactly, mathematically, the brightness of your pixels. So, let’s dive in.
Practically every day, one can see threads on photographic forums where members discuss the various different modes of automatic exposure, trying to find the right one. As a rule, these discussions result in the same question – what compensation to automatic metering ought one set to get consistently good exposure? It turns out that no autoexposure mode universally guarantees good out-of-box results.
Shutter speed is one of the most important settings to know as a photographer. It doesn’t get any more fundamental than this. To be specific, shutter speed is the length of time your camera sensor (or film) is exposed to light — essentially, how long your camera spends taking a photo. As simple as this sounds, though, shutter speed has an enormous influence on how your images appear. The two biggest effects are exposure and motion blur. I’ll cover them here.