Auto-exposure bracketing: how to conquer high contrast | narou |
Learn how to set up and use your digital camera's auto-exposure bracket function to accurately capture highlights and shadows in high-contrast scenes.


Auto-exposure bracketing enables you to automatically take a series of shots at different exposure settings. By changing the shutter speed (or aperture), the camera brackets the original exposure in preset increments (usually between 1/3 to two stops) to capture three or more successive shots. Bracketing ensures a correct exposure in situations when you need to shoot quickly and you don’t have time to check the histogram.


Auto-exposure bracketing makes this process much easier because it allows you to take a series of frames from precisely the same position (so that overlapping frames will align correctly) with different exposure settings to record both highlight and shadow detail.


Most digital cameras have a default setting of three successive shots, while other cameras will allow five, seven, or nine bracketed shots, which is handy if you want to expose for a range of tones. You can also choose the exposure increment between frames from 1/3 stop up to two stops.


For a scene with subtle tonal variations, you would set an increment of around 1/2 for three shots. For high-contrast scenes, and those that you intend to convert to HDR, for the best results, you would typically set increments of between one and two stops.


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