Coffee doesn't ask silly questions. Coffee understands.
Where Am I? Hiroshima, Japan

4.0 Shooting & Camera Settings

4.1 Shooting and Bracketing (AEB):

I typically shoot 5-7 bracketed exposures for every shot. Very seldom do I shoot 9. Here’s why:

For LDR (Low dynamic range scenes) I shoot: 5 Brackets (-2,-1,0,+1,+2). Honestly, this accounts for about 90% of all my shots. It also works really well for Night scenes as well as Blue Hour Photography.

Here are a couple examples:

Ponte Sant'Angelo in Rome Italy
HDR London History Museum - Elia Locardi - Going Home

For MDR (Medium dynamic range scenes). When things have more dramatic lighting, such as layered lit skies or heavily highlighted and shadowed elements, It’s best to capture an additional stop of light. For these types of shots, I shoot 7 Exposure Brackets (-3,-2,-1,0,+1,+2,+3).

Here are a couple examples:

Elia Locardi - HDR Portugal - Heart of Lisbon

HDR Photo - Meteora, Greece - Morning (sunrise) Highlights

For HDR (High Dynamic Range scenes). I only shoot 9 exposure brackets (-4,-3,-2,-1,0,+1,+2,+3,+4) if the camera is pointed at a hot light source. This really works well if you’re shooting into the sun. Other than that, it’s complete overkill since most scenes don’t contain enough light to justify it.

Here are a couple examples:

Venice Italy - The Setting Sun

HDR Photo - Belem Tower Sunrise - Lisbon Portugal

My camera settings only allow 3 Exposure Brackets.
Is that still ok?

Yes, it’s absolutely fine. Just make sure to switch the camera settings for EV Spacing to +/- 2. This 3 shot format will give you the same data as my 5, since my camera only allows me to space by +/- 1 increments.

For more detailed info on this subject, visit the HDR Tutorial.

4.2 Handheld vs Tripod

Sometimes I shoot all my exposure brackets handheld, without the use of a tripod. Though not reccomended, it’s a skill of the utmost necessity.

I’ve written a series of tips for Shooting Handheld HDR Photography.

I’ve also written an extensive tutorial on the subject that teaches you how to re-align the exposure brackets and work with them in Photomatix and Photoshop. Visit the Handheld HDR Tutorial for more info.

 

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