How To: Auto Bracket 9 Exposures on a 3 AEB System

I’ve been asked this question quite a bit. “How can you bracket 9 exposures on your Nikon D5000 when I can only bracket 3 using AEB”? Well there are two solutions, one is the amazing Promote Control, but I don’t have an extra $350 to invest in this must have piece, so I have an alternate solution.

It is recommended to never touch your camera during your brackets, as to not induce camera shake. This is true, but with my solution you will be touching the camera slightly to make adjustments so I recommend this.

1. A Sturdy tripod (not those cheap flimsy ones) I’ve been happy with my budget 7300 series tripod from Calumet Photo, because its made very well without the high price tag.

2. Make sure you tighten up all of the adjustments on your tripod after composing, so that your camera stays in place

3. I always use my camera bag as an anchor to weigh down my tripod.

4. I always use my wireless shutter release remote

5. Under the camera settings menu, set your EV increments to 1/2 instead of 1/3 (this will reduce the amount of wheel clicks you need to make to change the exposure.)

6. Set you camera to delayed exposure, this will allow the shutter to open before the shot is fired (reduces camera shake)

*Now here is how I go about getting 9 exposures out of a 3 Auto Exposure Bracketing System:*

What I do is set Auto Bracketing to 1EV, then I will meter the scene. Usually, I will then start my first 3 brackets 3 stops underexposed. That will give me -3,-4,-2. Then I will manually set exposure to zero, and auto bracket for 0,-1,+1. From there I will manually set the exposure 3 stops over exposed grabbing +3,+2,+4.

Unfortunately, this won’t work if you attempt less than 9. It seems 9 brackets provides me will all the dynamic range information I need, to take back to the digital darkroom. I have had plenty of images that only required 5 or 7 brackets so I will just discard the information I don’t need. Just make sure you don’t need some of those darkest brackets later, for maybe layer masking windows.