Same Shot, Different Settings – How to Perfect Your Photographs with Bracketing


Photography has come a long way in the digital age. Not only can you see your picture as soon as it’s taken you can manipulate it with an almost unlimited number of enhancements from switching between color and black and white to improving the way subjects look. Bracketing is just one way you can ensure better pictures as you take them.

In photography, the process of bracketing refers to taking several shots of the same scene or subject using different camera settings. Don’t think that this is limited to exposure. You can bracket other camera settings including:

  • Flash bracketing: Vary the amount of light between different shots until you obtain the best result. This is popular in portrait photography.
  • Focus bracketing: Shift the part of the shot that’s in focus until you achieve the desired result. This is popular in macro photography.
  • White balance bracketing: Remove the light source that contributes to color variations. It allows you to obtain the most accurate colors.
  • Depth-of-field bracketing: Take shots at different depth-of-field ranges to blend multiple images. This is also often used in macro photography.
  • Exposure bracketing: By far the most popular bracketing technique. This allows you to experiment with under and over exposure to make the most of outdoor scenes.

While bracketing is a great idea, how can you implement it? How can you take the same shot three times without moving your camera if you don’t have a tripod? Most DSLR cameras have an Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) function. The other forms of bracketing you will have to handle manually.

Adding Actions to your Photographs

Another popular form of photo enhancement is photo actions. This type of enhancement you can manipulate after the fact. Basically, actions are a sequence of recorded steps that can be reapplied at any time, without you having to go through each individual stage each time. For example you can enhance a portrait with effects like, water reflection, cast shadow, molten lead and quadrant colors.

You will see the image at each stage in the process and can choose to alter the image at whichever point you prefer. If you want to experiment with actions, it’s worth having a look at Photoshop Actions. These actions and overlays make adding photo enhancements easy yet their effects are sure to impress. This digital solution gives you the freedom to adjust each individual layer as well as stack multiple actions for almost infinite results.

These days, image editing encompasses a wide range of means for altering and enhancing digital images. While some photographs may not need any enhancement at all, many professional digital images are altered in one way or another.

Many different photo enhancement programs are available, some free and some to buy, each at varying levels of complexity. If you’ve never used one before, but would like to try, a good place to start is with an online tutorial.

Evan Kirby works as a website designer/developer and is a keen photographer also. He works with a variety of individuals and shares his knowledge of successful websites in his articles.

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