How To Master Exposure Bracketing And Get The Perfect Lighting Across Your Photo

Exposure bracketing is one of the best and most simply techniques to getting the best light on your scene. It’s one of the very helpful techniques that us photographers use to make sure we get the very best lighting we can.

So how does this work? Well for starters your camera does not always have the best metering (especially on Auto). Since the camera is not always right, we have to experiment.

When you snap the photo on auto, your camera will tell you that it thinks the shutter speed and aperture that its chosen is right.
We then apply some exposure bracketing.

Exposure bracketing or “bracketing” can be explained as the photographer taking numerous photos of the same thing using a variety of different camera settings. Bracketing is great when you are struggling to get a shot with exposure you like and that suits the image generally and helps ensure correct exposure of a photo when lighting in a scene is difficult.

So how do you do this Exposure Bracketing method? It is simply done by taking at least three extra photos of the same scene. One will be under-exposed, the second will be almost right and the third will be over-exposed of the same scene. By taking three slightly different exposed shots of the same scene this will enable you to choose the “best” exposed scene out of the three.

This can be done in two ways.

1) The first way would be to take the photo, and then manually take photos of the same scene after adjusting the EV settings up and down by the same EV amount.

2) The other way is to use the setting on your camera “AEB”, which simply means Auto Exposure Bracketing. This means the camera will automatically take three photos of the same scene with one under-exposed and another over–exposed. The camera will generally default to + 1/3 EV exposure setting for the extra photos.

Let’s take for example this picture of this young woman.

Of course by using the manual method will take longer to take the scene but this also allows you to take more than one of the extra under or over-exposed shots. So you could take more shots “either” side of the exposed scene till you get the “perfect exposed” shot you desire.

If you only have an EV adjustment on your camera, rather than individual shutter speed and F stop adjustment then you need to compensate for light. The tricky thing with manually adjusting your EV is that you may know that you need more or less light, but you may not be sure how much to make the adjustment by. In this case you can still apply the exposure bracketing method. Take a few shots of the same scene, each with a slightly different EV.

Some digital cameras let you set the bracketing step and number of shots. The camera will take pictures of the number of shots that you specify. It will compensate the exposure by the specified EV steps.

Many digital cameras have an auto exposure bracketing function. You might see this on your camera as AEB. This means that if you select this before you take the shot, the camera automatically sets to taking three photos. It will take one that is “perfectly exposed” a second which is over exposed and a third which is underexposed. The level of exposure is at about -1/3EV and +1/3EV. You might also find you can change the exposure that it automatically does this on. Try going to your cameras setup mode and see if you can change it.

You can use exposure bracketing whenever you like. I recommend to use it often if you haven’t done it before to get the full handle of this great technique.

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (20)

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  1. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

  2. I usually don’t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful …

  3. refi plus says:

    As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  4. Ups says:

    Ohh very much thanks admin

  5. Ohh very much thanks admin

  6. D Barkley says:

    Excellent brief and this article helped me alot. Say thank you I looking for your information….

  7. John says:

    This blog site is very good. How did you make it ?

  8. Robyn Webber says:

    I didn’t know what exposure bracketing was until I came to this site. I’ve bookmarked it and can’t wait to read more.

  9. Vik says:

    I was told that in order to do exposure bracketing three shots each is the maximum. But I don’t understand because you have Aperture and shutter speed to work with at the same time. So do you change the Aperture three times or do you change the shutter speed three times? I do not understand, can you please clarify this for me?

  10. seotons says:

    I found your weblog on google and check several of the early posts. Keep up the excellent work. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Looking forward to reading through additional from you later on!…

  11. How do you make this blog site look this good! Email me if you can and share your wisdom. I’d be thankful!

  12. Teri says:

    Your website is so helpful … keep up the good work! Also, is your wp theme a free one? and if so..can i have it? :)

  13. Does exposure braketing take a lot of time to do? I mean how long does it take to set up on the camera?

  14. I really enjoy reading from his blog, keep up the great work.

  15. Jim says:

    Thanks for your article Amy, you give so much.

  16. Tamulth says:

    Thanks for the tips on exposure bracketing. Does exposure bracketing mean that’s all you have to do? I mean, can you get the right exposure, other than exposure bracketing? Just curious!

  17. izle says:

    Great! Thanks for post

  18. Jacqui says:

    I have just started photography and this is so helpful!

  19. Andy says:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom about photography.

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