- Select AEB and Aperture Priority Mode (Av). You choose the aperture setting (f-stop) manually, and then the camera will select the three shutter speeds to take three digital photos at different exposure settings.
- Select AEB and Aperture Priority Mode (Tv). Now, you choose the shutter speed manually and the camera sets the three apertures for your three pictures.
There are many advantages to digital photography compared to traditional film photography, but both require a correct exposure to capture the picture you want to take. Many of these PhotographyTalk.com articles explain the nuances of exposure. Digital Photography—Taming the Three-Headed Exposure Monster, Part 1 is a good place to start. It’s important to understand how modern digital cameras automatically calculate and choose exposure settings (aperture and shutter speed) as well as how to do yourself, manually.
As you gain more experience as a digital photographer, it’s likely you’ll want to take some pictures with unusual lighting conditions. Often, these are images with greater contrast of the bright and dark areas. This could be a sunrise or sunset or photographing mushrooms on the floor of a dark forest. Even the best automatic exposure functions have limits, so your camera may not be able to determine and select the exposure settings you need. That’s why you want to know how to set your exposure manually. Once you’ve calculated the correct exposure and taken the picture, you can then use the bracketing method to shoot pictures with exposure settings on either side of the correct setting. You’re almost guaranteed to capture the image you want.
The only downside is that those unusual lighting conditions change quickly. You may not have the time to make manual exposure calculations and change the settings to shoot a series of digital photos at different exposure values. That’s why most DSLR cameras and high-end point-and-shoots are manufactured with an Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) function. In simplest terms, this function will direct the camera to take three or more photos at various exposure settings, automatically, and much quicker than you could manually, changing the exposure for each digital photo.
Keep your camera steady and you’ll have three identical pictures with different exposure settings: the best one the camera can calculate, one slightly underexposed and the third slightly over exposed. You can either keep the shutter button depressed to use burst mode or release the shutter three times for individual shots.
Read your manual to find the AEB setting on your camera, if it has one. Some are buttons on the camera body and others may be a selection from the menu. Your manual will also explain how you choose different AEB ranges. You can tell the camera to set the underexposed and over exposed settings two stops, one stop or a half-stop different than the correct, or primary, exposure.
You can also combine the AEB function with ether the Aperture Priority Mode or Shutter Priority Mode.
Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) can be a very helpful feature on many digital cameras, but only if you take the time to learn how it works, and then practice with it.