I have taken a bunch of shots. Some of them are intended for bracketing.

But when it comes to post-processing, the photos confuse me because I cannot confidently tell which group of three are from a bracket shot. Here is an example:

enter image description here

Is there any good system or best practice that can help tell the group of photo apart of other normal snapshots?


Take a picture of your left hand.
Yes, really.
Before you bracket you take a picture of your left hand indicating the number of shots that will be in the bracketing series.

What if it's more than 5 shots?
Well, use the fist as one number, open back hand as one, open palm as one, take a picture of your feet.
It's all up to you. Just don't unzip to make 6. Someone will find it offending.

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  • That's a great idea, but for one thing. My hand would be part of of the bracket, or I'd have to have three pictures of my hand, or switch bracketing off & on again.... My camera will only do brackets in 'sets of three', no other way :\ – Tetsujin Aug 21 '19 at 13:53
  • Unless you plan on holding down the button and taking several brackets continuously, the timestamps contained in the metadata should be an extremely good indicator of which shots go with each bracketed group. – twalberg Aug 21 '19 at 13:57
  • also, cameras pretty much write the filenames monotonically increasing. Even without timestamps, file sort order (with files of the same extension) will get you the proper sequence. – scottbb Aug 21 '19 at 14:35
  • @Tetsujin mine only takes as many pictures as I ask it to do. have you tried to just click once? – Andreas Aug 21 '19 at 15:16
  • 2
    If I just click once, it takes the first of the bracket set. No matter how long I wait after that, the next picture will be the 2nd bracket. I often reach the point where I just take a few to see where in the sequence it is, then discard once I know I'm back to 'one'. It's quicker than turning bracketing off/on again. Nikon D5500, consumer-level. – Tetsujin Aug 21 '19 at 15:19

I've found that changing the bracketing pattern from 0, -, + (which is what most cameras seem to use by default) to -, 0, + helps me to more easily identify bracketed sequences when looking at thumbnails or "filmstrips" at the bottom of the screen when reviewing images.

The brightest "+" image is almost always the most easily recognizable one and marks the end of each bracketed sequence.

If your camera allows you to set the order of the bracketed sequence from darkest to brightest (or brightest to darkest) instead of placing the center exposure first, try it and see if you find it helpful.

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You have probably setup a pattern like 0+- in your cameras menu (or it is the default setting) where:

  • '0' means current exposure
  • '+' over exposure (between +1 and +3 EV)
  • '-' under exposure (between -1 and -3 EV)

therefore the pattern is easily recognizable.

The finger count method could be useful when you change the number of frames in one braket. I sometimes add a dark frame to separate brakets.

enter image description here

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