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What is bracketing exposure?



  window window shot with five different exposures

The exposure brackets are a technique where, instead of taking a single photo, you take three (or more) ones that are all slightly different. Normally, one is properly exposed, one slightly underexposed and one slightly overexposed. It's in a lot of situations, so let's look at how it works.

Basics of exposure brackets

Getting exposure right can be a complex subject. There are many things you need to balance: how your camera measures the scene, your camera's dynamic range, and of course what settings you use. You may also want to deliberately try to over-expose your images a little to get more data in the RAW file without going too far and blowing your highlights.

  Beach scene shown with under, normal and overexposure

With all these moving bit exposure bracketing is a solid technique to make sure you get a good exposure while you are in place – there are some things you can't do fix in the mail. By also taking a photo that is one stop or two underexposed and another that is one stop or two overexposed, even if you are unfavorable to your exposure, you still have attachments. Landscape photographers sometimes refer to attachments as "security shots" for that reason.

RELATED: Exposure values ​​give you a better understanding of how your camera works

If you postpone attachments, there are also some more benefits: you can always create an HDR image, you can mix different parts of the image yourself if you need, and if something moves through the stage, you can replace it with original image data instead of relying on the Photoshop tool.

Exposure stapling only works well in some situations. It really is a landscape or architecture photography technique. If you photograph people, pets or anything else that is moving a lot, you will not be able to postpone hanging exposures. Instead, you only take different photographs with different exposure values.

How to take hold exposures

There are two ways to take hold exposures manually and automatically.

RELATED: What shutter speed should I use with my camera?

To manually take hooked exposures, set the camera for a shot as usual. You get the best results if you use a tripod, but it is not necessary. As soon as you take your first shot, adjust the exposure compensation, shutter speed or ISO with one stop and take a second shot. Adjust the shutter speed or ISO two stops in the other direction and take one third. Now you should have three identical photos that are one stop underexposed, properly exposed, and one stop overexposed.

 Sunset showing under, normal, and overexposure

To automatically record hooked exposures, you must enter the camera settings. The procedure is a little different for each camera, so check the manual for the specific steps. For my Canon 5D Mark III, it is called Exposure Comp./AEB Setting. Search for something called Bracketing, Exposure Bracketing, EB or similar.

 Canon 5D Mark III display showing exposure compensation settings

There you can adjust the exposure compensation, as well as the mount shots. In the picture above, I have set my camera to take an underexposed shot, an overexposed shot and a shot as measured. Depending on your camera, there may also be additional options for specifying the order of the shoots and whether there are three, five or even seven frames.

 Window scales shot with five different exposures

] After setting the exposure staple to hold your finger on the shutter button, the camera takes a burst of images that vary the shutter speed each time.

The advantage of bracketing manually is that you can adjust either the shutter speed or the ISO adjustment of the aperture changes the appearance of an image too much. When you use your camera's automatic bracketing, it only adjusts the shutter speed, but it goes faster and automatically works when you have set it. Join which option is best suited to your situation.


Protective fittings are a good safety technique, especially for landscape photography. If I have gone into the effort to set up my camera, I usually shoot some bracket frames only if I need them.


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