Is there an almost-universally recognized term for shooting multiple shots to create a single photo?

I'm trying to create a singular heading to discuss the topics of HDR, panorama, auto exposure bracketing / exposure bracketing, and focus stacking (are there others, by the way?).


3 Answers 3


Is there an almost-universally recognized term for shooting multiple shots to create a single photo?

In general, an image made by combining several photos is called a composite image or a composite photo.

  • DMITDRR - Digitally manipulated image that doesn’t represent reality
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 17, 2018 at 7:06
  • 3
    I feel that "composites" are two or more different photos combined into one while the examples I provided are two or more similar photos combined into one? Also, composites might be more of a post-production technique rather than a photographing technique? Mar 17, 2018 at 7:57
  • There'd be little point in combining images if they weren't different in some respect, right? I think we don't use composite for HDR images because we have a more specific term, but an HDR image is still composed of several similar but different images. And techniques like HDR, stitching, and stacking are often done in post; the fact that some cameras can do them automatically doesn't change the fact that the final image is a combination of several original images.
    – Caleb
    Mar 17, 2018 at 15:37
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    @Alaskaman It'd be hard to argue that a single photo, with its limited dynamic range, lens distortion, time compression, and projection onto only two dimensions accurately represents reality either.
    – Caleb
    Mar 17, 2018 at 15:46

Multi-Shot, merged image, or combined image are the best modern terms with popular usage I can think of. None of the terms really stand out as defining and encompassing all of the techniques without requiring a little more detail however.

The problem they may sound like a "Multiple exposure" or a double exposure, which could also be included.

But the term can encompass stacked, stitched, or merged shots.

  • "Double exposure" and "composite" are probably terms I should have included in my list? They all fall under "multiple exposures", right? Mar 17, 2018 at 8:09
  • @PhotographyNewbie they certainly could, at least as far as I understood your question.
    – AthomSfere
    Mar 17, 2018 at 8:19

Seems to me you're combining shooting techniques (bracketing, focus stack) with post pro processes (HDR, Pano). I.e. You use bracketing to get enough data to make an HDR. An HDR is pretty hard to do without starting from at least a few bracketed shots. Saying you want to end up with HDR at the end, then, automatically includes the fact that you need to bracket.

This is the same for pano. Saying you want to end up with a pano already includes the fact that you'll need to take multiple frames and stitch them together.

I guess what I'm trying to get at, is the terms you've listed are already inclusive of their own techniques, and very different ones at that.

Though, if you were going to try to lump them all into a category, I suppose "composite" would be the most global definition.

  • 1
    One could also just bracket in lighting situations that might be constantly changing in an attempt to make sure get at least one good exposure per shot. That's an example of bracketing without HDR being the end-game. Mar 18, 2018 at 5:20
  • Are HDRs and panoramas really "composites"? I feel that a composite usually refers to a combination of two or more non-related photographs? In HDR and panoramas, the multiple exposures taken are all somewhat related to each other? Mar 18, 2018 at 5:23
  • @PhotographyNewbie - that's kind of what I mean about you combining dissimilar things. Bracketing is a shooting technique, HDR is a post pro technique that requires the use of bracketing to supply the shots. Composite means combining images. There's no qualification of similar or dissimilar.
    – OnBreak.
    Mar 20, 2018 at 17:26

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