Post-Processing Drone Photography

Post-Processing Drone Photography

Like any other type of photography, drone photos need to be post-processed in order to bring out their full potential. There are many factors that can affect the quality of your drone photos, including how you shoot them and how you edit them in post. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Color Correction

Drone photography is a great way to capture aerial imagery with unique perspectives. It’s an exciting new type of photography that gives photographers an opportunity to capture everything from star trails to picture-perfect fireworks and Ferris wheels. But post-processing drone photos can take a bit of work to get the best results, and color correction is an important part of that process.

Color correction is adjusting a shot’s exposure, contrast, and light levels to improve the image’s aesthetic. This can be a relatively straightforward task, but it does require some patience and experience to get right.

The first step in color correction is to make sure your image’s white balance is correct. If it’s not, your images will have a yellowish or white-yellow tint. To correct your image’s white balance, use a tool such as an eyedropper or a white-balance slider.

Once you’ve adjusted your white balance, you can move on to adjusting the highlights and shadows of the image. Increasing the brightness of your highlights helps to increase contrast in the image. In most cases, this will improve the overall look of your shots and help to achieve the final exposure that you want.

Another technique to help you adjust the highlights and shadows of your footage is to use a levels effect in Adobe After Effects. This will allow you to see the contrast that the different colors have, and will give you a good idea of where you need to make adjustments.

As you continue to make your final adjustments, it’s important to compare the results of your work with the original frame that you started with. This will ensure that the corrections you make haven’t overexposed or underexposed a part of your shot.

Similarly, it’s also important to keep in mind that any changes you make will be applied to your entire shot, so take your time. Often, it can be beneficial to disable your adjustments in your NLE or coloring software temporarily and playback the shot to see how it looks.

Color correction is a process that requires skill and confidence, but it can be very rewarding when it’s done well. It can also make your work stand out from the rest when you send it to a client for review.

White Balance

In addition to color correction, white balance is another important post-processing step that should be taken when editing drone photos. It can correct yellow or green casts that are commonly found in drone photos, and it can also fix lens distortions that can be caused by the wide-angle lenses used on drone cameras.

Using the proper white balance settings when shooting drone photos is key to producing high-quality images. This is because the lighting in a photo can affect the appearance of different colors in the image, which can create a bluish or yellowish cast.

White balance can be adjusted automatically by the camera, or you can manually adjust the setting in post-processing. The automatic method typically uses a preset with presets for sunlight, incandescent, and tungsten lights. However, this doesn’t always provide the desired result, so it is recommended to use the manual method for the most accurate results.

Light temperatures vary from extremely cold (such as a candle flame) to extremely warm (such as a sunlight bulb). Because the color temperature of each of these different lights can be so different, it’s important to set the right white balance for your shot.

The color temperature of the lighting in your photo is measured by a number called Kelvin. Cool colors have a higher Kelvin value than warm colors, so the camera will attempt to correct for the difference in brightness by adjusting the white balance.

If you are using a specialized filter, such as a ND filter for brightening the sky, you will need to make sure your white balance is accurate before applying it to your photos. You should be able to find information on how to properly adjust your white balance in the manufacturer’s manual or in the user guide that came with your camera.

For most people, the most accurate way to determine the right white balance is by using a neutral grey card or white paper in front of your subject and pointing your camera at it. This will replicate the lighting conditions when you’re flying your drone, and it will ensure that the white balance is set correctly during each shot.

Noise Reduction

When you’re post-processing drone photos, one of the most important things to do is to reduce noise. This can be a challenge, but with a little patience and practice, you’ll soon get the hang of it.

A camera drone is an amazing tool that can take some pretty stunning pictures. However, it’s important to understand that a drone is not a replacement for a traditional camera.

You’ll still need to learn how to use the drone’s camera settings properly and know how to set the exposure correctly. This will allow you to take better drone shots and help your images stand out from the crowd.

To help you achieve the best results, make sure to shoot your drone photos in RAW format. This is a standard for professional photographers, as it allows you to save uncompressed lossless images that have much more information about what the camera saw than compressed JPGs.

Another important consideration when shooting in RAW is your shutter speed, which will be a key factor in how clear your photos are. Newer drones are capable of long exposures, which can be a great way to capture moving objects without losing quality.

Shutter speed is important because it allows you to control the amount of light that gets to your drone’s camera. In general, you want to keep the shutter speed as low as possible, unless you’re flying in stable air or using a tripod.

If your drone has an ND filter, you can use it to limit the amount of light that gets to your sensor. These can be a useful tool when shooting in low-light conditions or if you’re trying to freeze motion.

The same can be said for polarizing filters, which can be used to enhance contrast and tone in your photos. Both of these options can be used to create a dramatic effect in your drone photos.

Another way to reduce noise is to use bracketing, which is similar to HDR but uses multiple exposures that can be stacked in post-production to give you more dynamic range. This is not as effective as HDR, but it can still be a useful way to capture dynamic landscapes and create compelling drone photos.

Sharpening

Drones are a popular way to get an aerial view of a location. As they fly over the ground, they provide a unique perspective on the landscape and can help you capture interesting scenes that aren’t usually visible from the ground.

As you’re editing your drone photo, it is important to make sure the image has a high level of sharpness. This will make it easier for you to see details in the background, and it will also improve your image’s overall quality.

While it is best to sharpen an entire photo, you can also do selective sharpening in Lightroom. This will highlight particular parts of your image and can be a great way to create a more artistic look for your drone photos.

To add selective sharpening, you can use either the Graduated Filter or Radial Filter. Both are easy to use and allow you to apply an unsharp mask to specific areas of the image.

After you’ve applied the filter, you can preview it by pressing the Alt key on your keyboard while moving the Amount slider or holding down the Alt key while moving the Radius slider. Both of these tools will show a simple grey-scale image of your image, which is helpful for checking the results of your sharpening.

It’s important to keep in mind that sharpening will often increase the amount of noise in an image, so it is a good idea to check the level of noise in the photo before applying any sharpening to ensure there isn’t a problem. If you do notice a problem, don’t be afraid to try a different setting or try again with a slightly higher value of the Sharpening slider until you get the desired result.

After you’ve done all of your sharpening, you can also edit your image to improve its composition. This can be as simple as cropping the photo to remove distractions from the background or adding a creative filter to give your drone photo a new look. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even add a vignette to your image to draw attention to the subject.

About the Author: Merv Hass