What is Bracketing?

Bracketing is a photography technique
to guarantee the right exposure

For manual bracketing, one picture is shot at a guesstimated exposure setting; another image shot just a little underexposed plus a third shot somewhat overexposed. Now one of these three images will typically look better than the other two. Just about of the newer cameras include automatic bracketing, which captures a number of different exposures at a time. Auto bracketing uses a camera setting to shoot numerous bracketed shots (as compared to the photographer adjusting the settings by from one shot to another by hand). ✓

Bracketing Types

Bracketing for Exposure

 The term bracketing typically refers to bracketing for exposure: the photographer sets a given exposure to shoot a picture, plus one or two with more exposure, and one or more that are under exposed, as a way to choose the most acceptable photo. Most of today's professional and advanced pro-consumer cameras, including many point & shoot cameras, have the capacity to automatically acquire a series of bracketed images. Exposure bracketing is important when working with high-contrast scenes or media containing limited dynamic range, like transparency film or the CCD image sensors in several digital cameras.

When photographing using print film, an individual printing the pictures on paper must never compensate for this deliberate underexposing and overexposing of images. Bracketing a set of images and then printing them using automated print equipment, this equipment may wrongfully assume that the photographer or camera made a slip-up and "correct" the shots automatically it determines are "not properly" done.

Bracketing for Focus

A series of photos demonstrating focus bracketing. The photo on the left illustrates a single image shot at f/11 having the spider's features nearest the camera. The center photo illustrates the features farthest away from the camera. The photo on the right illustrates focus stacking: a series of 8 percentage increased photos of the spider put together to make a single composite image using Photoshop. The magnification was altered by a 0.5% factor from image to image (first image being 100%, the next one at 100.5%, and the last at 101%.).  

Mushroom Animation Cracked Mushroom

An animation of the fourteen shots used to create a picture using focus bracketing (on left), next to the final image (right)

Focus bracketing becomes helpful in circumstances having restricted depth of field, like macro photography, where the photographer may desire to create a series of shots with unique focal plane positions and then select the one where the greater portion of the scene being in focus, or digitally merge the in-focus segments of multiple exposures (called focus stacking). Thus focus stacking becomes taxing, in that the area of interest (as in every bracket) must remain still and while the focal point transforms, the position and magnification of the photos change. This is then adjusted using an appropriate application by altering the image.

Bracketing for White Balance

Bracketing for white balance, is exclusive to digital photography by providing a method of dealing with assorted lighting by using the camera to acquire a number of images having unique white points for a single exposure, typically ranging from bluish to reddish colors.

White balance bracketing does not actually require multiple exposures, the identical raw sensor data is just simply reprocessed using unique settings for white balance. When shooting using the RAW format of a camera, white balance may arbitrarily be changed at later time, so bracketing for white balance is not necessary.

Bracketing with Flash

Bracketing for flash is a way of using electronic flash, especially where fill flash is combined with available light. The flash light amount is varied within a bracketed series of shots as a way to locate the most pleasant combination of available light combined with fill flash.

Auto Bracketing

Auto bracketing is a characteristic of most of today's cameras, no matter if they are film or digital, although particularly DSLR cameras, allowing the camera to acquire a number of successive photos (typically three) with somewhat different adjustments. Later, the best-appearing photos can be selected from the series. Where the photographer accomplishes the identical result by adjusting the camera's settings from shot to shot, is just called bracketing.

The most typical type of auto bracketing is exposure auto bracketing, when the camera adjusted to acquire the same image a number of times using slightly unique exposure adjustments, using over-exposed plus under-exposed images (lighter and darker) as compared to the normal camera setting. it depends upon the camera, although difference from each of the auto bracketed shots might be anywhere from two stops in either direction, using half-stop or third stop increments.

Cameras can perform auto bracketing by regulate either the aperture setting or the shutter speed, although not both during the same time frame. Exposure auto bracketing is most typically used with color reverse film (slide film) due to its small exposure leeway as compared to print film (which encompasses a wider exposure leeway) while digital cameras allow the photographer to assess the acquired picture). Auto bracketing is convenient with digital cameras for shooting images to use with High Dynamic Range (HDR).

Another widespread form of auto bracketing is white balance auto bracketing; which only applies to digital cameras. This setting triggers the camera to acquire the identical image a number times with somewhat different white balance adjustments, using both increased and decreased color temperatures (more blue and more red) compared to the normal camera setting. Gene Wright - updated article Oct 1, 2011

Related Articles

External Links

Recommended Reading

Popular Photo Accessories

Articles Index