Yesterday HEV asked the following question:
How do you deal with lamps that are just too bright? Especially if you do hdr and/or flashless photography?
There are a bunch of ways to shoot brackets but my favorite is the way Simon Maxwell describes in his Enfuse For Real Estate Photography e-book and video series. Simon’s approach to shooting brackets ensures that you capture the entire range of brightness in the room you are shooting. Bright lights to dark corners.
Generally it works as follows: You use the histogram on your DSLR LCD to do this. Most modern DSLRs have this. The images to the right are from my LCD. The top one is the starting point (first bracket) and the bottom is from the last bracket. You can shoot as many as you want in between. I’m using a 5DMKII with the brightness histogram on and in LiveView. Here are the steps:
- Lock the body down on a sturdy tripod.
- Set the camera in manual mode and set the aperture. I’m using f/5.6.
- Use the lowest ISO you have. I’m using ISO 100.
- As you move the little wheel (on Canon bodies this is the wheel just behind the shutter release that speeds up the shutter speed the histogram will move to the left. Keep moving it left until the histogram just barely touches the top of the histogram scale. Take the first bracket.
- Move the wheel that controls shutter speed so the histogram starts to move to the right. On every DSLR, I’ve seen each click on the thumb wheel is 1/3 of a stop. So go three clicks for every stop you want to have between brackets.
- Keep going shooting a bracket every stop until the histogram crawls up the right side and just starts to touch the top. Take the last bracket. Now you’ve captured the entire dynamic range of the scene exactly.
When you process the brackets for each shoot, you don’t have to use them all and if you’ve shot in RAW you can do adjustments before you process the brackets to deal with bright lights. Simon describes how to decide which brackets to use to get good results. While this may take a little more time than using the Auto Exposure Bracketing feature, it makes sure you have the whole brightness range of the room,