Tip #38: Use the Histogram on Your Camera
One of the great beauties of digital photography versus film is that you can review your photo immediately. This allows you to recompose, change settings and check for detail in the shot.
Digital cameras also give you the opportunity to verify immediately if you have blown out your highlights or saturated your shadows to complete black. This is important in digital photography because once the whites in your photo have been blown out - in other words, lost all detail - you cannot recapture those in post-processing (in most cases).
You can check for the blow outs using the histogram feature on the camera. It appears as a graph in either white on a black background or multiple graphs in red, blue, green and white on black backgrounds.
If the graph hits or spikes on the right end, you have blown out your highlights and lost all detail in the whites. If the graph hits or spikes on the left end, you have saturated the blacks to the point of losing details.
Another method of checking if the highlights are blown out is to use the "blinkies" or the flashing whites on your preview photo on the back of the camera. You can find how to use this feature in the owner manual for the camera.
The easiest fix is to adjust your exposure or use exposure compensation and retake the photo.
Practicing proper exposure will certainly help to prevent this from happening in the future since not all photos can be retaken - think of your once in a lifetime view of a wolverine crossing the road in front of you.
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