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Use and abuse of the Histogram in Lightroom printed image preparation.

Discussion in 'Printing Photos and Photo Software' started by 3dogs, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. Jun 28, 2015
    3dogs

    3dogs Printer Master

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    @Roy Sletcher pointed out, quite rightly that my image of Ayres Rock ( aka Uluru) had significant issues with lost data in the blue channel. The image below shows that quite clearly:

    Aged Capture.JPG
    That set me to looking back to see where this image came from. Had I lost data there?

    Capture.JPG

    This shows an acceptable (to me) histogram, better detail in the subject, an altogether 'cleaner'
    image.

    So the question I pose is this:

    Given that the outcome either way is entirely personal and opinion oriented, there is no right or wrong really...(or is there?)

    How much importance does one attach to the Histogram as one processes this image?
    Is it Ok to sacrifice detail to get effect, if no, then why?

    I am asking because the subject is VERY topical at the moment in the Club I visit with, the discussion instigated by me :hide challenges Judges that mark down such things.........

    I stand back at viewing distance and look to see what was/or may have been intended as an outcome, if I am convinced :thumbsup but if it does not seem that the target effect was missed then :hugs...

    The Paint Artists that I look to are often scant on detail in some areas, whereas some German Artists of the same era are almost photograph like in their attention to detail. Both are sought after by Museums and the Public alike.

    I am tending to be influenced more by Painters and less by Photographers and that may be one of the things that keeps me from submitting to photo comps. Club especially.

    input, debate invited as Roy has made a valuable point to my mind, for me anyhow.
     
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  2. Jun 28, 2015
    The Hat

    The Hat Printer VIP Moderator

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    I too have stood at dawn and watched the wonder of that big black hunk of rock (No insult intended) turn red and was left gob smacked by how an object of that size could be transform in a second without any human intervention being involved.:ep

    Well done 3dogs for not taking away that magic on your textured canvas print, it sure brought back some spiritual memories for me, feck histograms..:hugs
     
  3. Jun 28, 2015
    fotofreek

    fotofreek Printer Master Moderator

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    For me, the top image has more mystery and artistic impact. Notwithstanding the canvas texture, which I find adding much to an impressionistic feel, it does remind me of many color pictures I've taken that gain greater visual impact with use of a polarizing filter. In pre-digital days the initial control was in production of the negative and the subsequent control was in the darkroom. We now have infinitely more control of the final print with image editing software. Darkroom control often required the laborious process of adjustment followed by the mechanics of creating the print,often repeated over and over, until all the least desirable prints have hit the "round file" and the desired best print is created and saved. That was extremely time intensive. We now have the opportunity to incrementally add and subtract changes until the on-screen image is most to our liking, after which we can create the print.

    While histograms present us with an excellent tool, an image that conveys artistic or emotional impact is the desired product we hang on the wall.
     
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  4. Jun 29, 2015
    Roy Sletcher

    Roy Sletcher Indolent contrarian Platinum Printer Member

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    Some quoted comments above deleted to save bandwidth


    Well here is some comment to get the ball rolling. I had tried to reply a few hours ago, but for some reason my computer trashed it. Here is a briefer version

    1: Agree there is no right or wrong way. Whatever turns you crank is the way to go. The big advantage of being an amateur is that
    you do not have to be concerned about the opinion(s) of the Onlookers, Gallery Owner or even the General public. If it works for you - it is all good.

    2: How much attention should one attach to the histogram? In my opinion the histogram is critical to help evaluate the component colour values of an image at the creation stage. It gives the critical benchmarks to know you have captured the technical components you need to achieve a good visual outcome during post processing. NOTE - Creativity, focus and artistic interpretation is COMPLETELY SEPARATE. An analogy would be "The Histogram is like an X-Ray of the image component values". It is imperative to capture the image with as much data as the sensor, current light and your exposure settings permit. After all that is why you bought the honking big expensive DSLR camera with the wide dynamic range and bit depth. The histogram helps you make that judgement, and adjust if necessary before making the final exposure. Something you could not do with film.

    Be mindful the histogram you see on your camera LCD is really a converted to JPG histogram, and not a histogram of the raw file. A very significant difference. With some experimentation you cam learn to interpret the histogram on the LCD screen to get an optimum exposure.

    For example on my Canon 7D mark 11 I have found I can over expose by up to max 1 stop, without clipping the histogram. I can judge by LCD blinkies how close I am to clipping. Also my red channel clips much quicker than the G or B and I can try and compensate accordingly.

    Enough for now. Can add more later. Feel free to disagree. The object is to further our understanding not reach and agreement

    RS
     
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  5. Jun 29, 2015
    3dogs

    3dogs Printer Master

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    I use the Camera Histogram 5D II, with a similar caution.
    Bring images in via Lightroom and convert to DNG
    Images to process go to Raw, though Lr's Histogram is good.
    There most times I quit looking at the Histogram till I want to go further.
    There I sort of work down the Develop Module with an eye on the Histogram BUT the image on the screen drives me, I am a seat of the pants pilot in both Lr and Photoshop. In PS pay scant regard to the Histogram but again eyes firmly on the output.
    Finally, back in Lr make a Virtual Copy (or two) and tweak one of those with the histogram.............is this workflow usual or unusual?
     
  6. Jun 29, 2015
    Ink stained Fingers

    Ink stained Fingers Printer Master

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    If you want to know what's in your RAW files, you may use Raw Digger

    http://www.rawdigger.com/ which gives you a histogram of the RAW data, shows the exposure room to the right , and you might detect that one of the other RAW converter handles data different than the other in the highlight area. But it's a computer program, not an app running on the camera, so you'll see all this only after the shot. And you might detect, that the clipping indicator on the camera may be too cautious
     
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  7. Jun 29, 2015
    3dogs

    3dogs Printer Master

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    Good link - thanks!
     

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