Using AE Bracketing Method
Bracketing is the method of taking generally three photos, one using the camera’s standard settings, one underexposed and one overexposed. This technique is used to get a properly exposed image with a single shot without having to post-process the image separately. You can choose to use auto bracketing using a built-in camera preset to take several bracketed photos.
Bracketed photos can be processed in HDR (High-Dynamic-Range Imaging) that reproduces a greater dynamic range of luminosity than what is normally possible so that the overall quality of the photo is improved.
To take 360º photos using bracketing method, set your camera to M (manual) mode. Set the aperture to 8 then choose AE bracketing mode. Depending on your camera, you can have exposure options. The more photos you take, the better quality you get. However, normally 3, 5 or 7 sets are recommended considering the file size and efficiency when post-processing. Check the level of exposure by pressing the shutter halfway to find the median exposure. Set the median exposure then take photos overexposed/normally exposed/underexposed. For instance, Take 7 photos at each exposure value from -3 to +3(-3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3).
- If the camera is shaking while shooting, it may cause many problems including blurred images. Use a release to help you shoot, especially when doing a long exposure shot.
- Set the value of F to the highest possible number (at least 8 or above) and the distance at infinite manually.
Put all images taken using AE bracketing into PTGui Pro and process them. You can have the results processed by each exposure and stitched through HDR. The image below shows 7 sets processed at each exposure.
The image shot underexposed shows better texture of the sky, while the image shot overexposed have clear separation in shadows. When the dark and bright areas are put together, use AE Bracketing to get a partially detailed image.
The photo shoot underexposed shows the better texture of the sky, while the overexposed photo has clear separation in shadows. Therefore, you can obtain an image with much more detail and color in both dark and bright areas by mixing them together after taking photos in AE bracketing method.
You can read more details on how to stitch HDR 360º photos in this blog post.
The images below show the stitched photos at each exposure value (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2) and the last image is the HDR photo with all images combined.
When comparing them, you can see that the result of Exposure Fusion is better, especially when looking at the shadow details. Also, as evident in the images below, the HDR photo has better color and contrast.
Ordinary photo – No HDR
Ordinary photo – No HDR
Even though the file size is over 7 times bigger and the processing time is considerably longer compared to non-HDR photos, taking auto exposure bracketing and process it to HDR is highly recommended because of its overall better results.