Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB Mode) on Your Drone: What It Is, and Why You’d Use It

Camera drones offer a lot of powerful tools for photographers to capture stunning aerial images. Once you’ve mastered the basic camera settings, you might be ready to experiment with tools like auto exposure bracketing (AEB) and high dynamic range (HDR). Capturing photos in AEB mode can help with tricky lighting, like dealing with bright skies and shadows on the ground.

What is Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB)?

AEB mode will take multiple photos of the same composition at different exposures. Like Burst mode, which takes several successive frames of a motion or action, AEB mode allows you to capture multiple photos by pressing the shutter button once. Unlike Burst mode, however, AEB mode will capture each of the three to five images using different exposure values. The exposure value (EV) is a combination of shutter speed, aperture, and sometimes ISO. Simply put, the exposure value determines how light or dark your image will appear. With AEB mode, you’ll typically get a range of underexposed, properly exposed, and overexposed images. With this set of images, you can simply select your favorite of the set, or you can create a high dynamic range (HDR) photo.

What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?

An HDR photo merges multiple images with the same composition but different EVs together. Using the images you’ve captured in AEB mode, you can create an HDR photo with a photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. The resulting HDR photo will pull detail and information from each frame. For making images in challenging lighting environments, an HDR image will optimize the exposure for each of the elements in the composition. This can get you some pretty incredible results.

Tips for Using AEB with Your Drone

  • Fly in low wind conditions. Although drone technology is advancing to allow for stabler flight, maintaining the same position is key for creating HDR photos. A non-aerial photographer would typically use a tripod for stability, so try to avoid windy conditions as any movement could translate into your images.
  • Take RAW photos. DNG files are uncompressed, so they offer the most data. More data means more options when editing.

Learn More About AEB and HDR

Find out more about creating HDR images and shooting in AEB mode with the Autel Robotics X‑Star Premium:

The Bottom Line

Learning to use AEB mode will help you capture the best images, even with tricky lighting. You can really give your pictures that “wow” factor by merging your AEB images into an HDR photo.