Bracketing is the technique of fabricating photos along the brackets that differ in settings. According to the settings, bracketing can be of different types, like exposure bracketing in which you can create images with different exposure settings, focus bracketing in which you can experiment with various focal points, etc. Exposure bracketing is considered as the most common type of bracketing.
Bracketing is done to get multiple variations of the same subject. Sometimes a small change in settings can produce a largely different image. Bracketing allows a photographer to experiment with the settings and get all the possible shots. These photographs can be used to produce high dynamic range ( HDR ) photos. As a photographer, you might replace filters with HDR blending, using different bracketing techniques. Focus bracketing is used for focus stacking, which helps to get everything in focus.
How to bracket photos
First of all, you will need a tripod for using any bracketing technique. If you try to get away without it and shoot by hand, you will end up with blurred photos produced by a shaky camera. So, after setting your camera on the tripod, go to your camera settings and select a bracketing mode from the given options. If you don't find any, refer to the user manual of your camera. Then choose how many brackets you want to add for a particular scene. It is always advised to set a timer before clicking the shutter button for the camera to take the brackets automatically and make the blending process smoother. Otherwise, the camera will move slightly each time you click the shutter button.
When to apply the Focus bracketing technique and how?
You can take various photos aiming at different focuses, and use focus bracketing techniques. Use manual focus, especially for shallow depth of field, or when you are clicking a nearby subject. If you want to have a particular depth of field that no aperture setting can produce, you can opt for making brackets with many different focus points and blend the photos. You can use a remote to avoid even the slightest camera movement. Take the first shot by focusing on the closest object. Slowly rotate the focus ring to another object present at a point where the focus zone of the first shot just ends. Keep clicking in this way until infinity. You can shoot as many photos as you want, from 3-999.
How to merge bracketed images into HDR photos?
You can use a wide range of applications to merge your bracketed images and create a single HDR photo, the most famous being Lightroom, Photoshop, Photomatix, Aurora HDR, and Enfuse, etc. Depending on your workflow, preference, and convenience, you can choose any of these. Using Lightroom for merging bracketed photos into HDR is as easy as 123. Just select the brackets, choose the 'merge to HDR' option, and you are done with it. If you have captured any moving object in your photo like waves, you will find it difficult to merge into HDR. In that case, you should choose the 'de-ghost' option. If you have shot in JPEG, and not RAW, you can still merge them into HDR using photoshop. At first, add all frames into layers, then select the 'all layers to merge' option. Then auto-align and auto-blend the images.
By using all the above mentioned tips, you can use bracketing techniques for your benefit.
Written by Sanga Basu, Content Writer, WPC.