Launch Slideshow

Photo Bracketing - Door Jamb Assembly

Photo Bracketing - Door Jamb Assembly

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    Roe Osborn

    Step one of the zoom bracket is wide open showing the carpenter and the saw as well as the door jamb on the bench.

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    Roe Osborn

    Zoomed in half way, the focus is more on the sawing, but the vertical orientation lets me see the other end of the jamb.

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    Roe Osborn

    With the photo zoomed all the way in the focus is on the action of sawing that particular leg of the jamb.

Launch Slideshow

Photo Bracketing - Fastening Hinges

Photo Bracketing - Fastening Hinges

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    Roe Osborn

    Zoomed in the focus is on the screw itself, with secondary emphasis on the driver.

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    Roe Osborn

    At the middle zoom the photo more about the action of driving the screw.

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    Roe Osborn

    This photo has been zoomed back and composed with the face of the carpenter in the shot, introducing a compelling human element to the photo.

Most of JLC's authors take their own photos. I'm hoping to share tips on how to make those photos more engaging and more informative. This week it's a technique called zoom bracketing (see slideshow). "Bracketing "in photography is taking a series of the same picture, but changing some aspect of the photo such as exposure, or in this case, the zoom angle of the lens as you progress through the series. With zoom bracketing the first image is zoomed all the way back at a wide angle. The second image is zoomed in about half way for composition, and the third image is zoomed all the way in. In the first series, the wide angle shot shows the whole door jamb assembly, along with the saw and bench. The next shot is composed to show both the ends of jamb, but closer to the action of sawing. The third shot is zoomed in to really focus on the action of sawing. Each of these photos conveys slightly different information. If I want the photo to illustrate how the jamb is held on the bench, I choose #1, but if I want the photo to be more about slicing the leg of the jamb to length, I choose #2 or #3. Notice how the caption changes with each bracket.

In the second set, the zoomed in shot is all about the screw being used in the hinge. The middle shot shows the whole drill-driver so it becomes more about the action of driving the screw. The zoomed back shot captures just the side of the carpenter's face, which adds a human element to the shot while still being about the action of driving the screw.

So why not just crop? Cropping is OK in a pinch, but each time you crop in on a photo, you lose resolution, meaning that the photo is less crisp and shows less detail.  So whenever you can, take three photos at different zooms of the same composition. Get used to changing from horizontal to vertical orientation if need be, and change the composition to include part of a face or a detail that adds more information to the photo.