We Simplify The Technical!

What is exposure bracketing? What does ETTR stand for? 

How will learning about these help my exposures?  Be forewarned; this show is a little

technical! We did our best to simplify the concepts. Satesh also teaches about

exposure blending in Photoshop.

from U*Please scroll to the bottom of the post for more images from our guest.*

Exposure Bracketing and Blending Techniques
with Satesh Ramjattan

ETTR – Exposure To The Right

  • A technique which refers to the histogram – a graph of tonal values on the back of the camera (or in the viewfinder)
    • The left side of the histogram shows the shadows, the right side shows the whites and brighter areas.
    • It can be seen in LIVE VIEW by hitting the INFO button (the icon looks like a box with peaks and valleys).
  • Always shoot in RAW for this technique – it gives you more information from the camera’s sensors which will allow for more editing possibilities later. A JPEG is a compressed file, where much of the info for the image is removed.
  • Look at the histogram BEFORE you take the picture. Make the image brighter – overexpose slightly. (You still don’t want to “blow out” the sky.  If it’s crawling up the right side of the histogram, it’s overexposed.) 
  • Noise lives in the shadows. Noise can be reduced by slightly overexposing the image.
  • Highlight warnings (the Blinkies) can be distracting using this method.

“You really need to get to know your camera.  Sensors for each camera can be slightly different.  It’s a lot of trial and error to see how much you can push to the right.”

Exposure Bracketing

  • Taking multiple exposures of the same shot. Keep the f-stop the same.  Leave aperture alone to keep everything in focus.  Change the shutter speed.
    • Midtones – where neither edge of the histogram is touching the side.
    • Shadows or foreground – the histogram is heavier toward the right edge to keep details in the darker areas of the image.
    • Brights or sky – the histogram would be heavier toward the left side to keep details in the brighter areas of the image.
  • Also known as HDR – High Dynamic Range – a technique that shows details in both the dark and light values of an image.
  • This technique is necessary for images with high contrast or bright sun and deep shadows.
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB setting) – the camera will automatically take 5 exposures.
    • Option to combine in-camera – don’t recommend – will only produce a JPEG.
                    More control when blending manually in post-processing.


  • Images can be merged together using either Photoshop or Lightroom. Preset blending options within the software sometimes doesn’t look as realistic.  Manual painting of the layers can make the edges softer and more realistic.
  • Use layer masks for non-destructive editing.
  • Start with the image for the midtones. Add a layer mask.  Paint (black conceals, white reveals).
  • The Edit menu has an option to Auto-Align the images.
  • Luminosity Masks – layer masks that can specify a selection based on tonal values.
    • A hidden feature in Channels or a panel plug-in.
    • More accurate than using a manual paintbrush.


  • Create as much as you can in-camera to reduce the amount of necessary editing later.
    • Post-processing – adjust vibrance and curves. Large adjustments of clarity can create a halo.
    • Keep it simple!
  • Look for your composition while handholding your camera. Once you find your composition, THEN set up the tripod.
  • Use a leveling base and Ballhead with your tripod to keep your images level. 
  • Once you have a base exposure set, shift your shutter speed for brighter areas.
  • Focus-stacking – bracketing for focus.
    • Focus one shot on the foreground, one on the middleground and one at infinity.
    • Autoalign and blend manually or autoblend in layer masks. Software is very accurate.


Finding Satesh                  Mentioned on the show:

Satesh.com                        Episode 103 with Satesh 

Facebook                            ETTR Video and Blog from Satesh

Instagram                          HDR in Lightroom from UP




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Satesh Ramjattan Hillsborough-River-Cypress-Trunk-LE
Satesh Ramjattan Naples-Sunset-Jetty-Seascape-Photography
Satesh Ramjattan Dinner-Island-Ranch-Foggy-orange-sunrise-horiz
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Satesh Ramjattan Low-Tide-Beach-Curves-Matanzas

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