How to Bracket My Exposures With the Canon 50D

By Dawn Marie West

Learning the capabilities of your camera takes time and practice.
i woman with camera image by Valentin Mosichev from

Bracketing can help you get the right exposure for your picture. Bracketing is a technique of shooting three separate exposures simultaneously. Bracketing is also useful for more advanced photography techniques such as HDR (High Dynamic Range) which is merging three exposures to achieve a realistic lighting range within the photograph.This guide will show you how to understand and implement exposure compensation.

Select Exposure Compensation (Expo.Comp. AEB) on the camera settings menu, The bracketing sequence at default will read as: 2..1..0..1..2 + . Select the menu and become familiar with the scale. Compensation below 0, is for a darker exposure, while the compensation above 0 is for a brighter exposure.

Turn the main dial (closest to the shutter button) to set the AEB amount. One lead bar and two short bars will appear. Proceed to move these bars by turning the dial until they gradually spread out with the numbers. On average, exposure compensation of 1...0...1 is equivalent to one stop difference for each exposure. Press the set button to save the current settings.

To move the entire exposure bracket, simply move the quick control dial (dial closest to the LCD screen) with the previous settings and all three bars will be movable. This can drastically change the exposure compensation and is an advanced feature rarely needed.

Set up continuous shooting mode. Bracketing will activate only on continuous settings. In the LCD panel, select the AF drive button and scroll with the quick control dial until you see what looks like three pictures stacked together. Press the shutter half way down to set these settings.

Shoot using exposure bracketing. Focus your shot and while holding your shutter button down, the camera will take three continuous shots. Then stop shooting momentarily. Three bracketed exposures will be taken: standard, decreased and increased exposure. The images will always appear in this sequence.