I take a lot of photos. Quite many of those (cca 50%) are bracketed ones to create HDR images later. I would like to automatically identify the bracketed sets and move those to a separate folder for further processing.

I use linux, therefore photoshop based solutions are out of scope.

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    Perhaps low-tech, but would the old panorama finger trick work for you? Simply end each bracket set with a shot of your hand, as a marker to end that series. – Fer Oct 9 '12 at 20:58
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    @Ferdy you would still need some hand recognition software to automatically tag and move the bracketed sets as the question requires! – Matt Grum Jan 22 '13 at 9:26

If you have a Canon DSLR and are willing to install Magic Lantern then there is a great feature that solves this problem nicely.

When you do bracketed shots through ML you can configure it to generate a small shell script that runs enfuse on the set of images. The script is written to the same directory as the pictures.

I don't really use the scripts themselves (I have my own enfuse script), but I do find them quite handy as a record of which images are in each bracketed set.

  • Magic Lantern seems to be a good solution to my problem. The script file it saves with the list of bracketed images is a good start for any workflow. – Atis Oct 5 '12 at 14:26
  • It would be nice if you could add a description for how to do these settings in ML, or link to their wiki page. – OSUZorba Jun 6 '17 at 1:47

heads-up, this is not a complete answer; it might help you get to the solution though
Your linux environment is perfect of Phil Harvey's ExifTool

The stand alone tool might have a way to be scripted to do this.
One dirty trick is to use timestamps and bracket bias data to collect images.

There is a Perl library too.

Also see webhdrtools which is based on ExifTool & Perl among other things.
While I have not checked if it handles your interest of isolating bracketed images,
if it does not, take a look at the exiftool output for bracketed and non-bracketed images you might find a simple method to isolate them.

Finally, when you get this done, do share your work-flow here.
This has been on my road-map for a while too :-)

  • Webhdrtools has a program that will do that, but it's based on having a minimum time separation between the bracketed set and the pictures that preceded or followed. This means that in a mixed bag of bracketed and continuous shooting, the latter will end up being treated as bracketed and stuffed into a directory (which might be useful). – Blrfl Oct 4 '12 at 20:40
  • The Magic Lantern script can be used for images I will take in the future. Working on the workflow for existing images has lower priority. – Atis Oct 8 '12 at 23:58
  • +1 timestamp based parsing seems like the way to go, to me. – JoséNunoFerreira Jan 23 '13 at 13:48

Here is what works for me:

exiftool "-directory=HDR" -if '$ShootingMode eq "Continuous, Exposure Bracketing, Auto ISO"' *

If you are on Canon, use BracketMode instead of ShootingMode and AEB as the value. For Nikon try what I used. Here is a list of commands that are specific for brands. I went to Nikon and searched for "bracket" and this solution works.


I wrote a quick post explaining how I complete the same task. You can find it at my blog

I summarize it here. Using ExifTool it’s quite trivial to achieve our intent. Just a matter of one command line:

exiftool "-directory=HDR" -ext CR2 -if '$bracketMode eq "AEB"' .
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    Please put the answer directly here. Otherwise how is this different from spam? – Unapiedra Jan 20 '13 at 17:52
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    Yes, at least indicate that your solution uses exiftool and works for canon. Link to the blog is probably fine, but need some amount of content here so that people can evaluate whether they should click through for more. – MikeW Jan 21 '13 at 4:33
  • And, you know, blogs come and go.... – mattdm Jan 22 '13 at 1:31
  • Done! I've added a quick summary ;) – maxcanna Jan 22 '13 at 9:05

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