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Is Bracketing Really Necessary?
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May 4, 2019 11:25:29   #
pico
 
I've experimented with bracketing using three exposures. What is gained in the post-processing as a result of bracketing? Thanks for your thoughts and experiences.

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May 4, 2019 11:30:13   #
rmalarz Loc: Tempe, Arizona
 
As I've seen quoted before, "bracketing in for people who don't know how to expose properly".
--Bob

pico wrote:
I've experimented with bracketing using three exposures. What is gained in the post-processing as a result of bracketing? Thanks for your thoughts and experiences.

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May 4, 2019 11:34:55   #
Leitz Loc: West of London
 
pico wrote:
I've experimented with bracketing using three exposures. What is gained in the post-processing as a result of bracketing? Thanks for your thoughts and experiences.

Have you thought of looking at your pictures??

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May 4, 2019 11:34:59   #
redlegfrog
 
pico wrote:
I've experimented with bracketing using three exposures. What is gained in the post-processing as a result of bracketing? Thanks for your thoughts and experiences.


If you are shaky like me it can help you get a sharp image.

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May 4, 2019 11:45:13   #
ClarkG Loc: Southern Indiana USA
 
I only use bracketing for exposures for HDR pics.

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May 4, 2019 12:06:28   #
cvoleti
 
Highly agree bracketing not in the picture(pardon the pun)if you can properly expose.

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May 4, 2019 12:23:57   #
Linda From Maine Loc: Yakima, Washington State, home since 2002
 
redlegfrog wrote:
If you are shaky like me it can help you get a sharp image.
Exposure bracketing, or are you thinking of burst mode?

To the OP: once I started shooting raw, I gave up bracketing. There is so much leeway in editing as long as you don't blow your highlights in the original exposure (as is preached loudly and often on these pages ).

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May 4, 2019 12:32:06   #
BebuLamar
 
I never use automatic bracketing. Back in the film days I did shoot a subject with different exposure but I did it manually. Now with digital if I feel unsure I would chimp and if it's not right I take the picture again. I found automatic bracketing can be confused sometimes and there is a good chance for the camera to stay one auto bracketing afterward.

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May 4, 2019 12:33:45   #
RV Loc: Chicago
 
I find the only need for me to bracket is at night using a tripod. Especially shooting city lights.

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May 4, 2019 14:07:23   #
robertjerl Loc: Corona, California
 
For those who say bracketing is not needed if you know how to expose properly.

Some scenes just plain have too much dynamic range for any know digital sensor or film type to record without sacrificing either the highlights or the shadows.
If you are experienced you know which you prefer and how to expose for it. If you are a beginner then bracketing is the way you learn how to get your preference.

But if you don't want to sacrifice the shadow areas or highlights then bracketing and HDR blending is the answer. I shoot only RAW and in some cases there are scenes that cannot even be saved processing from RAW.

Yes, I did study the "Zone Method" in a college photo course back when we made pictures by scratching flat rocks with pointed rocks (at least some people think it was that long ago). In a dusty old folder I still have a couple of prints I produced that earned an 'A' from a professor who learned the Zone Method from Adam's darkroom tech.

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May 4, 2019 14:12:41   #
Linda From Maine Loc: Yakima, Washington State, home since 2002
 
robertjerl wrote:
...Some scenes just plain have too much dynamic range for any know digital sensor or film type to record without sacrificing either the highlights or the shadows...
Just a little side suggestion for novices: harsh light can be exploited for impact and mood. An obvious example is silhouettes. Working with the light can be rewarding!

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May 4, 2019 14:13:56   #
R.G. Loc: Scotland
 
I find that exposure bracketing gives robust, data-rich files that facilitate a good outcome in post processing. You can get better results than a single exposure gives you, and it's easier to achieve those better results. Many times I've found that to be true even when the dynamic range wasn't particularly challenging. For example, on flat, misty days exposure bracketing makes it easier to get strong colours and cloud detail from apparently bland skies. My preferred method is to discard the bright exposures and use only the neutral and dark exposures. Not to mention the extra protection you get from blown highlights or having to retrieve detail from over-dark areas which came about because you were protecting bright highlights.

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May 4, 2019 14:52:03   #
rook2c4 Loc: Philadelphia, PA USA
 
robertjerl wrote:
For those who say bracketing is not needed if you know how to expose properly.

Some scenes just plain have too much dynamic range for any know digital sensor or film type to record without sacrificing either the highlights or the shadows.
If you are experienced you know which you prefer and how to expose for it. If you are a beginner then bracketing is the way you learn how to get your preference.

But if you don't want to sacrifice the shadow areas or highlights then bracketing and HDR blending is the answer. I shoot only RAW and in some cases there are scenes that cannot even be saved processing from RAW.

Yes, I did study the "Zone Method" in a college photo course back when we made pictures by scratching flat rocks with pointed rocks (at least some people think it was that long ago). In a dusty old folder I still have a couple of prints I produced that earned an 'A' from a professor who learned the Zone Method from Adam's darkroom tech.
For those who say bracketing is not needed if you ... (show quote)


Exactly!
Here's an example:
Let's say, I want to photograph a lit light bulb in a dark room. I want to capture detail of the bulb, filament and all, but also show some features of the dark room in the background. No single exposure setting can give me both - either the bulb is blown out beyond fix, or the room is rendered hopelessly black. The dynamic range is simply too great. Shooting two different exposures (one for the bulb and one for the room), then using a mask in editing solves the problem.
Why rmalarz would make such an absurd statement is baffling... he should know better.

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May 4, 2019 16:35:17   #
Harry0
 
1) HDR bracketing. I'll take the dark one, boost the contrast, sharpen the lines, clean up the noise and grain. I'll take the light one, add a little vivid, CPL effect the sky a bit, lighten the shadows ala the histogram. Then HDR them together for a more realistic shot.
3) Sometimes my camera(s) are better at judging the conditions where I am, versus where I'm pointing. Or the subjects' surroundings, versus the subject. Bracketing helps me fix this.

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May 4, 2019 17:45:01   #
wdross Loc: Castle Rock, Colorado
 
pico wrote:
I've experimented with bracketing using three exposures. What is gained in the post-processing as a result of bracketing? Thanks for your thoughts and experiences.


Bracketing should be for a tricky lighting situations in which one is very uncertain of the actual needed exposure or will need the exposures to "sandwich" them to get to the "proper" dymanic range. There can be other reasons for bracketing, but I think those should be the two major reasons.

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