How to find your histogram

Where to find your histogram

On most digital cameras you can call up three different types of histogram. Here, we explain how to access the two most useful in your daily photography.

Canon histograms: how to find your brightness histogram

The regular white and black histogram shows the spread of tones or brightness levels in the picture. First, press the playback button to display an image, and then cycle through the playback displays (on Canon SLRs, press the DISP button; on Nikons, press the up and down arrows on the multi-selector).

Canon histograms: how to find your Live View histogram

The same brightness histogram can be called up during Live View shooting (if your camera has this feature). The difference here is that it’s a live histogram – as you move the camera around or alter the exposure settings, the histogram will change shape to reflect the changing brightness levels.

Canon histograms: how to adjust exposure

If either of these histograms show over- or under-exposure, use your camera’s Exposure Compensation feature to make the shot darker or brighter before you take the next picture (check out our free cheat sheet on What is exposure compensation). Press the +/- button on the back of your camera and turn the control dial to do this.


How to read a histogram: free photography cheat sheet
What your histogram says about your landscapes
How to use focus lock on your digital camera