IMPROVE YOUR DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY
RotorDrone|February/ March 2021
10 must-know Lightroom tips
Johan Vandenhecke

1. Merge Your Shots

I recommend taking Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) photos, which takes five photos instead of just one. Two will be underexposed to include more details in the highlights (the sky for example) and two will be overexposed to include more details in the shadows. Now Lightroom has this handy option to merge those five photos together into one HDR photo. It samples the best areas from all five photos, so you’ll end up with a photo that has all the detail you want in the highlights and also in the shadows. That’s what they call having a “maximal dynamic range.”

Now how do we do this? Very simple, you select all five RAW photos with ctrl +, clicking them individually or selecting the first one and then holding ctrl + and tapping the right arrow key. This will include the photo on the right into the selection. Do this until all the desired photos are selected (the background will light up grey). Then you right-click anywhere in the selection and chose “Photo merge” – “HDR … .” A pop-up will open and Lightroom will create a preview.

In almost all cases you’ll want to have the Autoalign and Auto-settings checked. Below those are some buttons to play with the ghosting. Imagine a photo where a person or object (like a boat or car) was moving while you took that shot. As those five photos were taken at like a millisecond apart, if you line them up, the moving object will not be in the exact same spot. Depending on its speed, it will create a little or a lot of ghosting in your preview. Meaning it will become a little bit see-through, leave a trace or a person might appear to have four arms. You can get rid of this by adjusting the deghosting level. I tend to keep mine on medium. If there is no movement, it will not hurt your image in any way. If there is movement, the medium option will get rid of most of it.

PRO TIP: Be sure to turn on the de-ghosting mask (shows as a big red spot on your preview), so you can see which areas are affected. Play around a bit and if you’re happy, click on the “merge” button.

2. Crop for the Perfect Composition

The next step in my workflow is usually to look at the overall composition. Click on the square box icon in the right menu (be sure you’re in the “Develop” panel in the top menu) to activate the “Crop overlay” tool. A new workspace will open and you’ll have the option to manually re-crop your image or use one of the predefined aspect ratios on the right. Depending on where you want to use your image, you can select different aspect ratios.

I’ll use the example of Instagram here. The original format for Instagram used to be square (so 1:1 ratio; now they allow more formats). Generally speaking, I would advise using the portrait mode (4:5 ratio) because mobile screens are portrait oriented, your photo will take up more screen space and look more pleasing. When you select this, you’ll see an overlay on your image with the 4:5 format ratio. However, you’ll notice it is still in landscape mode. Click “X” on your keyboard to change the orientation. That’s better, right? I always have my third gridlines activated as well. To toggle to the other gridlines, just click “O.” These gridlines can help you crop to the right composition.

PRO TIP: Usually less is more in your composition. So sometimes zooming into your image will reveal a much better composition. Less distracting items and more focus on your subject. If you are unsure what to do, try to position your subject or any major lines in your photo onto those third-lines. It will look so much better. A horizon is a good example. Position the horizon onto the top third line to balance the image. When you’re happy with the composition, hit “enter” on your keyboard and it will take you back to the editing workspace.

3. Use Auto Settings to Stretch Your Histogram

The next step in my workflow is to sort of reset the image to its maximum values. I open the “Basic” panel and click “Auto.” This usually does a great job. It will adjust your exposure, lower the highlights and move up the shadows to reveal more details.

Look at your histogram while you do this. It will stretch out the histogram all the way to the left and right. The only thing you want to watch out for is clipping. That means when either the highlights (the right part of the histogram) or the shadows (left part of the histogram) will go outside of the little box. That means you’re losing information and you’re either getting over- or underexposed.

Now you can still tweak the auto settings a little bit. When you’re finished, it’s time to look at the “Curves” box right below it.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM ROTORDRONEView All

AUTONOMOUS RESUPPLY IN A CONGESTED BATTLESPACE

Can autonomous drones deliver supplies to troops in an active firefight? DroneUp recently partnered with a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allied Command Transformation (ACT) Joint Force Development (JFD) exercise to find out.

3 mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021

IMPROVE YOUR DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY

10 must-know Lightroom tips

10+ mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021

UAS TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT The Key to the Future of Drones

In 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which established a deadline for the agency: achieve full integration of drones into the airspace by 2015. As the calendar rolls over into 2021, this begs an obvious question: “Are we there yet?”

10+ mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021

FLYING FOR A LIVING

A professional UAS operator on what it takes to be successful

6 mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021

ON THE WING

This bird-like drone is incredibly agile and efficient

2 mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021

LiDAR MAPPING A GOLD MINE

When Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega, Georgia, wanted to open more of its areas to public tours, they asked Inspired Intelligence, a family owned and operated drone business in Buford, Georgia, to help. Inspired Intelligence CEO and founder Nir Pe’er explained, “Besides drone technology, we also used new, amazing cutting-edge technology called LiDAR.

3 mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021

A VIEW FROM ABOVE

Topping out the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge

5 mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021

DRONE TOOLS Safely using autonomous flight modes

In the early days of aviation, as aircraft range and endurance increased, so did the fatigue experienced by pilots. Autopilots were invented in 1912, guiding aircraft to fly straight and level on a compass course and greatly reducing a pilot’s workload. For more than a century, autopilots have improved many aspects of aviation safety, but they have also created new problems.

8 mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021

A Colossal Challenge

Photographing Salem’s Oregon Pioneer

9 mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021

911 DRONE DEPLOYMENT

Archer Unmanned Air Systems (Archer UAS), technology company with a 911-integrated drone deployment system, has announced a partnership with RapidDeploy as part of its Lightning Partner Program.

2 mins read
RotorDrone
February/ March 2021
RELATED STORIES

7 Home Businesses You Can Launch in 2021

If you're considering starting your own business in 2021, you're in good company. Many people are looking to pivot and try something new in light of the recent economic climate.

6 mins read
Home Business Magazine
Spring 2021

Your Facebook Friend Has Some Thoughts To Share About Your Covid Vaccine

Mark Zuckerberg wanted to make Facebook a source of reliable information about the pandemic. Instead he created a perfect platform for conspiracy theorists

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
April 12, 2021

HOW TO SURVIVE an Adventure Ride

I’m no expert endurance rider or a professional fitness instructor, but what I can do is ride my motorcycle continuously for five long days and feel physically content at the end of the trip. Okay, maybe after the celebratory beers, I might not feel as good on the morning of the sixth day, but at least my muscles will be relaxed. So, what can you do to prepare for an upcoming off-road adventure to stay strong, enjoy the ride and be able to dismount at the end of the day without calling friends over to pry you off your bike? Here are a few tips from personal experiences that will help you succeed.

4 mins read
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)
March - April 2021

Sooo…how exactly do I do life again?

AFTER A YEAR SPENT STARING AT SCREENS, WE’VE ALL KIND OF FORGOTTEN HOW TO, WELL, ACTUALLY *DO* IRL THINGS. WE’RE HERE TO HELP YOU REMEMBER HOW TO BE YOUR BEST SELF WHEN IT’S TIME TO RE-ENTER THE WORLD.

5 mins read
Girls' Life magazine
April/May 2021

Opposites Attract?

Don and I had been married 38 years. But only two weeks into lockdown, I was wondering if we’d make it to 39

6 mins read
Guideposts
April 2021

FACEBOOK WORKING ON INSTAGRAM FOR KIDS UNDER 13

Facebook says it is working on a version of its Instagram app for kids under 13, who are technically not allowed to use the app in its current form due to federal privacy regulations.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #491

GALPAL'S STROLL GIVES DON McLEAN BELL-BOTTOM BLUES -INSIDERS

COULD it be bye-bye Miss “American Pie” for singer Don McLean’s latest squeeze?

1 min read
National Enquirer
March 29, 2021

EVICTION NOTICE! WHEN YOU'RE FORCED TO TEACH OUTSIDE, PART 1

FROM THE DAY BLACK BELT WAS FOUNDED, MARTIAL ARTISTS HAVE LOOKED TO THE MAGAZINE FOR GUIDANCE ON CURRENT TRENDS IN THE ARTS, FROM KICKBOXING IN THE 1970s TO GROUND FIGHTING AND REALITY-BASED SELF-DEFENSE IN THE 2000s. NOWADAYS, THE HOT TOPIC IS, UNFORTUNATELY, SCHOOL SURVIVAL IN THE ERA OF COVID.

6 mins read
Black Belt
April/May 2021

THE DREAM OF THE '90s DIED IN PORTLAND

ONCE AN UP-AND-COMING CITY, PORTLAND WAS DESTROYED FROM WITHIN BY RADICAL ACTIVISM AND POLITICAL INEPTITUDE.

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
May 2021

DATA: FLORIDA'S TEXTING WHILE-DRIVING LAW RARELY ENFORCED

A Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy was heading east on Interstate 4 in his red Dodge Charger on a brilliantly sunny afternoon in Florida when he saw him: A young driver behind the wheel of a Jeep texting on his phone.

7 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #490