Nikon Americas USA

121ArticlesRemaining

4.7 Rating
Using Auto FP High-Speed Sync to Illuminate Fast Sports Action

Dave Black on using high-speed flash sync for sports…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Active D-Lighting

Active D-Lighting optimizes high contrast images to restore the shadow and highlight details that are…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Shooting Wirelessly with Nikon’s WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller System

Learn how easy it is to shoot wirelessly with the…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Quick Tips for Taking Better Portraits

Suggested Lens choices, exposure settings and focus modes

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.6 Rating
Learning How to Use Your Camera's Histogram

The histogram is a useful tool that analyzes tonal range and helps in…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Capturing or Freezing Motion in Photos

Learn how to freeze the motion in an action scene or capture a blur to show…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
The Challenge of Bird Photography

Moose Peterson tells why photographing birds in the field is well worth the challenge.

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Polarizing Filters Add POW to Pictures

An Easy to Use Accessory, Polarizing Filters Bring out the Color and Definition in…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.8 Rating
Remotely taking photographs

Flexible wired & wireless remote shooting options expand your photo taking capabilities

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
A Basic Look at the Basics of Exposure

The relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO is the basis of every…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Night Photography

Reed Hoffmann's tips for great night photography

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing

Exposure Bracketing: The Creative Insurance Policy

Once upon a time—in the days when we shot film—bracketing was an insurance policy. It was a technique we learned from professional photographers, and they did it because it was their business to come back with the shot every time, no excuses. So when they faced tricky lighting conditions they'd bracket the shot; that is, they'd make two, three or more exposures below the meter reading and two, three or more above it. Most of the time they'd do it by varying the shutter speed to keep the f/stop and thus the depth of field (the zone of sharpness in front and behind the subject) constant. They could also bracket by using the camera's exposure compensation feature.

Lindsay Silverman, Nikon senior product manager, is quite succinct about his reasons for bracketing: "Once in a lifetime shots," he says. "A sunset in Venice, a graduation ceremony, a multiple flash setup down under the Brooklyn Bridge. I couldn't come back to shoot those and, with film, I couldn't see my results immediately as I now can with digital photography, so I couldn't fine tune my technique on the fly." So he'd use his best metering know-how and technique. Then, because of "the paranoia factor," he'd shoot a one-third stop exposure bracket.

Today, with digital, we see our results right away and make adjustments on the spot. Does the image look too light? Make a -1/3 exposure compensation adjustment and shoot the scene again.

These days, why bracket?

Several reasons, actually. First, because of time. Maybe the situation doesn't give us the luxury of checking our results. We've got to shoot quickly, so we set our Nikon D-SLR for auto bracketing and we've got the tricky lighting covered.

Second, for creative control. Simply, the "over" or "under" image might be the one that best captures the mood of the scene.

Third, because we can choose to bracket not only exposure, but white balance and flash. White balance bracketing changes the color temperature to effectively cool or warm a scene by adjusting its blue and/or amber tones. Flash bracketing will quickly  and automatically bracket the output of a Nikon Speedlight while maintaining the camera's settings; most importantly, the amount of ambient light reaching the camera's sensor remains constant.

Flash bracketing will quickly and automatically bracket the output of a Nikon Speedlight while maintaining the camera's settings; most importantly, the amount of ambient light reaching the camera's sensor remains constant.

Finally, bracketing is essential to high dynamic range (HDR) photography. HDR is a method of capturing in a single image the wide range of tones in a high contrast scene by taking a set of exposures, usually three, five or seven, at different exposure values; then, using software programs, combining the images into a single image that reveals the entire tonal range of the scene. "For my HDR photography, I use autoexposure bracketing," Lindsay says, "and set the camera for aperture priority to insure a constant depth of field."

The specific settings for these bracketing techniques will vary depending on the Nikon camera and Speedlight you're using, so it's best to check your instruction manual to familiarize yourself with the menus and steps.

These days bracketing is a lot more than insurance—it's another example of digital photography's creative opportunities.

Welcome to
Nikon Learn & Explore

We've made it easy to find all the videos, tutorials &
stories you care about, get tips and advice from pros,
learn new shooting techniques, discover classes and
workshops—in short, help you find new inspiration
every time you visit. (And we hope you visit often.)

Get the Learn & Explore iPhone App

Access all the photography techniques, advice and inspiration of Nikon's Learn & Explore anytime, anywhere with the free app for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad®.
photo of two iPhones with the Nikon L&E app on the screens

Take Today's Poll

Make your opinion count and check back often to participate in new polls.

Attend Nikon School

Take your photographic knowledge to the next level; get a working understanding of your camera's features; learn how to create DSLR videos; discover how to edit your images using Capture NX2 software and more.

Butterflies photo taken by Joel Sartore, Nikon Ambassador and Nikon School logo

Subscribe to the
L&E e-Newsletter

And get great tips and techniques to try next time you go shooting!

L&E e-newsletter examples graphic

Learn photo & video terms!

Learn & Explore features an expansive glossary of over 800 photographic terms. Visit the L&E glossary to learn about specific Nikon camera features or more general photographic or video terms and definitions. Browse the glossary by letter, number or icon.
glossary graphic
Nikon Photo Contest 2016-2017 logo

Nikon Photo Contest 2016-2017

Nikon is once again announcing the dates of its global photo contest. The entry period will extend from October 17, 2016 through January 27, 2017. Visit the website to learn about the categories, find out how to enter and more.