4 Auto Exposure Bracketing Tips

Auto exposure bracketing is a useful tool in difficult light situations. It allows you to capture 3 versions of your shot: one at exposure, one under exposure and one above exposure. There are several things to be aware of in order to make the most of this tool.

1. Testing

You do not need to continue taking 3 shots for every photo in every situation. If you are in an environment where the lighting is not changing much from moment to moment, then try taking a few shots with auto exposure bracketing and then turning it off.  Look at the bracketed shots and try to evaluate which of the three shots is most appropriate. If you consistently find that the one-stop-under setting is better than the rest, then you can adjust your camera to expose the rest of your shots one-stop-under the meter reading. However, if the preferred shot is not consistent, then you may want to keep auto bracketing on.

2. How Much to Bracket

Your camera should give you options on how extreme you want your brackets to be. You can bracket by as subtle an exposure as 1/3 stop under and over, or you can go as far as 2 stops under and over. The 2 stops option is most useful when you have lots of contrast to deal with and want to expose different spectra each time. The 1/3 stop option is for very controlled situations when you are really trying to fine-tune your image. The most likely situation is something in between these two extremes, which gives you options that are still realistic. 

3. Adjusting the Whole Set

One reason to use the auto exposure bracketing option is because light around your subject is drastically different from light on your subject. For instance, your subject is standing in the shade of a tree while the background is in the sun. Depending on what mode your meter is in, the amount of light it measures throughout the entire frame is drastically different from the amount of light it measures on just the subject. You may want to account for this by setting your camera to expose slightly over what the meter would suggest. When you bracket, your shots will be at exposure, 1 stop over, and 2 stops over. This way you will be able to see your dark subject against the bright background.

4. Saving Space

Anyone can take a single shot and then adjust the gain for 3 different looks, but with auto exposure bracketing, your camera is actually taking 3 high quality shots at different exposures. Recording three shots each time you hit the shutter release can start taking up a lot of memory space. However, these shots are not linked as far as data is concerned. So when you can get a break, go through your images and delete any versions that are not useful to you. Though data is cheap, this reduces the likelihood of running out of space right when you want to take that perfect shot.

Auto exposure bracketing is an excellent tool in may situations. Maximizing its benefits is merely a matter or awareness.

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