AEB Cooling tower shot
AEB Cooling tower shot

About me

Please note, I am not a professional photographer. What I am sharing here is what I have learnt whilst taking drone photographs. I am sure that there may better explained photography sites out there, but these techniques, I think, make photos look cool.   - Real photographers often think differently.

What is AEB

AEB stands for Auto Exposure Bracketing. The camera will take 3 to 5 shots in quick succession with different exposures. This will enable the camera to capture things that it sees when over exposing (Often the ground) and also thing like the sky which are often over exposed in a drone image.

I used the three pictures below to create the picture at the top of this page.

See my Willington Power station Drone Adventure

So ... how do I do it?

Set the drone up

Firstly, you'll need a drone that can do AEB. I don't know of any DJI drones that can't do this. If you can't be bothered with the post editing then you could use HDR, which is Similar to AEB mode, HDR mode will take several bracketed photos. But unlike AEB mode, it  automatically pulls the best parts of each frame and merge them to produce the final high dynamic image. I don't think that this gives as pleasing results as doing the post edit manually.

DJI AEB Setting
On DJI Drones, you can change the setting in the camera settings (Either 3 or 5 photos)

Take photos

To be honest, I think that using AEB can improve any photo but that is probably because I am a Philistine photographer, who just likes the affect.

Ideally, you use AEB when there are lots of brighter and darker objects and you are wanting to capture the details of both the highlights and darker tones.... How many photos do you have with white sky? (This is over exposed).

Merge together

I use Affinity Photo to merge the photographs as it's cheaper than some packages but it is massively powerful. There are some free tools available to download too.

In Affinity - Select New HDR Merge ....

Choose the photos that you want to merge (I usually keep everything a default but also select "Automatically remove ghosts") - This copes with the image if the drone moves slightly whist taking the shots.

You could then choose one of the defaults that Affinity Photo gives you.

OR you can start playing around with the settings and go mad with the Local contrast and Tone compression, which gives the photos a real HDR look. Just have a play and see what you get.

Is AEB and HDR Cheating?

The human eye has a much higher dynamic range than the camera sensor.

So, sometimes you actually need HDR in order to capture what your eye sees... If you use HDR to approximate the dynamic range that your eye saw, then you've actually done better in representing reality.

If you use HDR to produce over the top images (Like I sometimes create!), then, that's not what you saw. However, filters and processing have been part of photography forever. And who's to say how far along you can take an image before it stops being a photo?


Take a look at my other tips: