bracketing photo by nito on shutterstock

A Beginner’s Guide to Bracketing in Photography: Types | When to Use | Tutorial

If you're starting in photography or want to get more out of your shots, bracketing is a technique you need to know. This guide will teach you the basics of bracketing and show you how to use this technique to capture incredible photos every time.

So, what is bracketing, and how can it help your photography? Keep reading to find out.

What is Bracketing in Photography?

Bracketing in photography involves multiple shots of the same subject, each with a different exposure setting. The goal of bracketing is to ensure that at least one of the shots is properly exposed, even if the lighting conditions are challenging.

Many photographers use bracketing when shooting in HDR (high dynamic range), allowing them to capture a greater range of tones and details in their images.

Most cameras have a dedicated button or menu option to shoot in bracketing mode. Once activated, the camera will take a series of shots, each with a different exposure value.

bracketing photo of landscape

For example, if you're shooting in 1/3 EV (exposure value) steps, the camera might take a shot at EV 0, EV -1, and EV -2. By varying the exposure, you can increase your chances of capturing an evenly exposed image.

6 Types of Bracketing in Photography

Now that you know the basics of bracketing let's look at the types of bracketing you can do.

1. Depth of field Bracketing

Depth of field bracketing is a specific type of bracketing that involves varying the camera's aperture to produce shots with different depths of field.

This can be useful for landscape photography, where you may want a single shot with:

  • A wide depth of field to capture the foreground and background in sharp detail
  • A narrow depth of field to isolate a particular subject.

By taking multiple shots at different aperture settings, you can ensure that you have the right image for the desired effect.

2. Focus Bracketing

Focus bracketing is a technique that can efficiently capture a range of sharpness in an image.

By taking a series of photos at different focus distances and later stacking them in an editing program, the photographer can create a single image with a greater depth of field than any individual photo.

This can be useful for situations where it is difficult to get the entire scene in sharp focus, such as when photographing a landscape or architectural detail.

Additionally, focus bracketing can create interesting effects by deliberately choosing to blur certain parts of the image.

3. Flash Bracketing

Flash bracketing is a type of bracketing that involves using flash to illuminate the subject. By varying the intensity of the flash, you can create different effects and capture a range of tones.

Flash bracketing photo

Photo by nito on shutterstock

Flash bracketing can help you create stunning and unique images when done correctly. However, it's important to note that flash bracketing takes some practice to master.

If you're new to this technique, starting with simpler subjects and working your way up to more complex scenes is advisable

4. ISO Bracketing

ISO bracketing is a type of bracketing that specifically involves changing the ISO setting between shots.

By taking many shots at different ISO settings, photographers can ensure that they have a range of images to choose from when editing. This can help minimize the noise in low-light images or ensure that all details are visible in a high-contrast scene.

5. White Balance Bracketing

White balance bracketing is a type of bracketing that specifically deals with color temperature.

The camera takes several shots at different white balance settings, allowing the photographer to find the perfect balance for the scene. This can be helpful when shooting in mixed lighting conditions, such as indoors with artificial and natural light.

By taking advantage of white balance bracketing, photographers can ensure that their photos are accurately exposed and free from color casts.

6. Exposure Bracketing

Exposure bracketing is a type in which the photographer takes several images of the same scene, each with a different exposure setting. This can be done by changing the camera's exposure settings between each shot or automatically using a camera with an exposure bracketing function.

By taking many images with different exposure settings, the photographer increases their chances of capturing a correctly exposed image.

bracketing photo of different exposure

Photo by nito on shutterstock

Exposure bracketing is especially useful when shooting in difficult lighting conditions, such as in low light or when there is a strong backlight.

When to Use Bracketing in Photography?

Bracketing can be useful in several different situations.

Condition 1

Bracketing can be helpful when shooting in low-light conditions or when trying to capture a fast-moving subject. Taking several shots at different settings increases the chances of getting a sharp, well-exposed image.

Condition 2

When photographing a particularly long or tall subject, such as a building or a mountain range, it can be difficult to capture the entire scene in a single frame.

In these cases, you can use bracketing to produce a series of images that you can later combine into a single composite photo.

By taking multiple photos at different exposures, bracketing makes it possible to capture a scene's highlights and shadows, resulting in a more balanced image.

Condition 3

Bracketing can also be used to create HDR images. HDR is a technique that involves combining multiple images with different exposures into one image. This can create an image with more detail and greater tonal range than would be possible with a single image.

How to Bracketing Images in Lightroom

Step One

Select the photos you want to merge to start bracketing images in Lightroom. There are three photos that we want to merge.

An original, balanced image that the only thing that it is lacking is some details in the shadows

tutorial of bracketing photos: original, balanced image

An underexposed image that is dark; however, it has retained its details in the sky.

 tutorial of bracketing photos: underexposed image

An overexposed image blows out the sky but gives a shadow image that isn't seen in the original balanced image and the under-exposed image.

tutorial of bracketing photos:  overexposed image

We will select the three images. Choose photo option> photo merge >HDR. After a few moments, Lightroom will give you a preview image.

Step Two

Click merge, and a new HDR image is created, and then you can add it to the lightroom library.

tutorial of bracketing photos:  HDR image

Conclusion

Bracketing is a technique that can be used to get the perfect exposure for your photograph. By taking three photos of the same scene, each with a different level of exposure, you can then choose the best photo from the group. This process takes a little practice, but it's worth it when you get that perfect shot.

Tutorial Image Credit: youtube.com

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