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In live view, if my histogram shows no clipping of darks nor highlights of for example a sunset scene, is there any need to bracket the shot? Shooting in RAW of course :)

  • Although not typical, there may be specific scenarios where bracketing would still be warranted for a specific intended usage. What do you intend to do with the raw file? How do you plan to process and present the image? This will have some bearing on the answer to your question. – Michael C Mar 10 '18 at 7:57
  • Thanks Michael! I always attempt to bring the image to what the scene looked like with the naked eye when I was there. Basically, I’m wondering if I am capturing all the necessary data to achieve this in post processing when the histogram shows there is no clipping at either end. For example if the sky was a very saturated orange, is it necessary to add a shot that is exposed for the sky, or can I recover that color from my single shot in post processing since there was no clipping of the highlights? – Geir Solvang Mar 10 '18 at 20:28
  • What is your intention for the final image? A small print or small web-sized image? Or a 60x40" print? Things like that will affect the choice you make. – Michael C Mar 11 '18 at 1:19
  • Thanks again, I see now how these questions come in to play given your comprehensive answer below! – Geir Solvang Mar 11 '18 at 4:55
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I always attempt to bring the image to what the scene looked like with the naked eye when I was there. Basically, I’m wondering if I am capturing all the necessary data to achieve this in post processing when the histogram shows there is no clipping at either end. For example if the sky was a very saturated orange, is it necessary to add a shot that is exposed for the sky, or can I recover that color from my single shot in post processing since there was no clipping of the highlights?

Because of the way digital sensors work, if your main concern is preserving the highlights and your histogram shows no clipping there you are probably fairly safe that you don't need to bracket.

If, on the other hand, there are extensive dark areas in the image as well that you wish to boost in post, then bracketing for the shadows could be helpful. When we "see a scene with our eyes" our brains do a lot of compensation for different brightness levels in the scene and we perceive the darker areas to be brighter than they really are compared to the brightest parts of the scene.

Even when the histogram does not show clipping in the shadows, boosting the shadows in post will also boost noise, which is also above the clipping threshold. By taking bracketed shots that expose brighter to place the shadows closer to the mid-range tones, you will blow out the highlights but will preserve the details of the shadows with much less noise in them.

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you can use exposure bracketing to give shadows and highlights more dynamic, other than that i see no reason to bracket a sunset.

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Essentially no because you have a low contrast scene. The histogram actually shows that of a JPEG given the camera's current settings, even when shooting RAW, so you have even more safety room.

You could bracket to get different exposures of add more color-depth for further manipulation but this is a case where it would not be really needed.

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If your scene had some detail in the foreground that you want to keep or even enhance, it could be useful to bracket, in order to get a better exposure for the foreground and then bracket. When you try to raise dark areas in post processing you may find that the dynamic range is not enough.

Also consider that the sensor's sensitivity is somewhat linear, while our sight is not. So, most of the dynamic range is used for highlights.

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