The EV is also referred to with the term stop. A +2 EV is 2 stops brighter than 0 EV. Another example: -1 EV and +1 EV are 2 stops apart.

Take your exposures no more than two stops apart for the best results. A typical bracket will be -2,0,+2. If you need more than three exposures to capture the dynamic range necessary, you might have to take them manually if your camera only shoots three shot brackets. When taking the additional exposures, make sure not to bump your camera slightly out of it's original position. Keep your focus point on the same area of the room as well as this is also where the camera reads the exposure value from. You want to maintain the same reference of exposure value for the additional shots so you have an accurate gauge of how far apart your exposures are.

Here's an example of a checklist you can keep on your phone to remember what settings to use.

If you'd like to learn more on how aperture priority works and why to use it, watch the video below. Aperture priority mode varies only the shutter speed to achieve different exposures. Shutter speed is the ideal setting to use as the variable since we always want to have the lowest possible ISO to avoid digital noise (grain), and changes in Aperture effect the depth of area in focus. Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed are the three settings that control exposure.

Explanation for camera settings -

A RAW picture file is roughly five times larger than a JPEG. This will give you the most amount of data to work with during editing. When you have your camera set to save a JPEG picture file, it will take the photo and then edit it based on how it thinks it will look best. It then saves the edited file and discards the original, larger file which provided the latitude to make changes. You can think of a RAW file like a fresh piece of play-doh from a new container. It’s soft and easy to form. A JPEG file is like play-doh that has been left out for a few days. It’s still malleable but you’ll be limited in your potential creations. 

Every lens has an aperture where it will produce it’s sharpest images. This is often F8 or close to it. Going wider allows us to let in more light when we need to or for other types of photography where we want a blurred background or foreground since a wide aperture has a narrower depth of field. Going with a smaller aperture will give us a deeper depth of field which can be useful when you want to show off a property’s view and get both the property which is in the foreground and the view in focus. Check your images at smaller apertures and see if you’re happy with the sharpness. I shoot all of my interior and most of my exterior shots at F8. 

For indoor shooting, make sure your focus is set on the furthest point in the room to ensure that the most amount of space is in focus. It’s possible if you are not paying attention to your auto focus settings for the camera to choose to focus on a piece of furniture close to the lens and leave the rest of the room out of focus. For outdoor shooting when the house is the subject, you’ll want your focus set on the house. For outdoor shots where you are showcasing the view, you’ll generally want your focus set on the furthest point away from the camera that isn’t the sky. Also know that your exposure value will be from where your focus is so keep your focus point off of windows which are bright and will throw off your exposure settings when you are in aperture priority mode. 

If your lens has image stabilization, make sure to turn it off when on the tripod. This will lock the lens in place. A lens with image stabilization looks for vibrations so they can reduce them, if none are found though, it can actually cause vibrations which create the blur you were intending to avoid. Use a 2 second timer so you can hit the shutter and then move your hand away, giving the camera time to recover from the small amount of shake you induced when pressing the button. Use a 10 second timer if you’re near a mirror or a window that you can see your reflection in, this will give you time to make sure you're not in the photo. You can also use a remote although I find this to be an extra piece of equipment I’d rather do without. 

For windowless rooms without extreme ranges of brightness and shadows you can elect to take single exposures instead of auto exposure bracketing. These will often be laundry rooms, closets, and empty garages. This just cuts down on the total number of files you’re working with. You’ll still be able to bring out a lot of dynamic range by adjusting the shadows and highlights in Lightroom. 


Camera settings for drone shots are very simple. Make sure you’re set to capture RAW files. Typically, unless you have a drone with an adjustable aperture, you’ll want to just leave the settings in “auto” and the white balance on “sunny” if it’s sunny, or “cloudy” if it’s cloudy. Since you’re outside with plenty of light the ISO will be at its minimum, and the camera will vary only the shutter speed based on your exposure setting. I recommend single exposures as opposed to brackets if the lighting is good, this way you don't have to worry about your bracketed images not lining up perfectly when merging into HDR.

Shooting with iPhone and Android Phones -

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