One of the best things I’ve learned since I started taking photos with my drones is that what you do with the image after you capture it is just as important as creating the shot. Correcting colors, aligning the horizon and cropping can make or break a photo.

Swipe the bar to see before and after editing

If I’m in a rush and just want to make some quick edits so I can get something out there, I can use Snapseed on my phone. It allows me to make a lot of great edits on a small screen and work with it without the need to move files from different devices. When I want more power and control, which is most of the time, I’ll download the files from the SD card and bring the RAW photos in Adobe Lightroom. It takes more time and effort, but the process allows me to create much better and more refined photos to post.

On the DJI Air 2S drone, I typically shoot used the bracketed exposer setting of 5. It takes five shots of the same image at five different exposure settings, which takes up a lot of room when you’re shooting in RAW. I like being able to either choose the best one to work with, or, I can combine all five into an HDRI image and combine all of the best lighting from each one into a single image. Adjusting the highlights and shadows can bring out quite a bit of details that can seem lost at first glance. I’ll also mask off different areas and make adjustments independantly of each other, which is usually the sky and the ground when shooting with a drone.

Next, I consider where an image will be posted. For Instagram and most other social media platforms, that usually means a taller image, cropped to a 4 x 5 ratio. Drones shoot with a wider aspect, but the resolution is so good, that I can cut in quite a bit and it still looks great. There are times when a wider shot tells the whole story, especially with a panorama. I’ll put these into Photoshop and divide them into even slices, outputting them as a sequnce. You can post them as a batch on Instagram, but the trick is getting the viewers attention to make them swipe through all of them to get the whole picture.
If I want to give the final image even more treatment, I can put it into Adobe Spark to add some text or other graphic elements. This can also be done right from the phone, so it’s a very powerful tool.

So, a little time and attention can really make you a better photographer as opposed to posting the images right out of your drone. A great camera is very important, but you can turn a bland image into a stunning vista with a little care.