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Post-Processing Tips for Drone Photography

Updated: May 29, 2023

Post-Processing Tips for Drone Photography
Post-Processing Tips for Drone Photography


Drone photography has revolutionized the way we capture the world from above. With their unique perspective and ability to reach places that were once inaccessible, drones have opened up new creative possibilities for photographers. However, capturing great aerial shots is just the first step. To truly make your drone photos shine, post-processing is essential. In this article, we will explore a range of post-processing tips for drone photography, helping you elevate your images to new heights.

Post-Processing Tips for Drone Photography

Post-processing refers to the editing and enhancement of images after they have been captured. With the right techniques and tools, you can take your drone photos from good to breathtaking. Here are some valuable post-processing tips for drone photography:

1. Shoot in RAW format for maximum flexibility

When capturing images with your drone, it's advisable to shoot in RAW format. Unlike JPEG, RAW files retain all the original data captured by the camera's sensor. This provides greater flexibility during post-processing, allowing you to make precise adjustments to exposure, white balance, and more without compromising image quality.

2. Correct exposure and white balance

Proper exposure and white balance are crucial for achieving accurate and visually appealing images. During post-processing, use the exposure and white balance tools in your editing software to fine-tune these aspects. Adjust the exposure to balance the highlights and shadows, and correct the white balance to ensure colors appear natural and true to life.

3. Enhance colors with vibrancy and saturation

One of the advantages of drone photography is the ability to capture vibrant and dynamic colors from above. To make your colors pop, use the vibrancy and saturation sliders in your editing software. Increase the vibrancy to boost the intensity of colors without affecting skin tones, and adjust the saturation to enhance the overall richness of the image.

4. Remove sensor dust and lens flare

Drone cameras are susceptible to sensor dust and lens flare, which can degrade image quality. During post-processing, carefully inspect your images for any visible specks or spots caused by sensor dust. Utilize the healing or cloning tool in your editing software to remove them. Additionally, lens flare can occur when shooting directly into the sun. To minimize lens flare, use a lens hood or position the sun outside the frame.

5. Reduce noise for a cleaner look

Noise, or graininess, can be a common issue in drone photography, especially in low-light situations or when using higher ISO settings. To reduce noise, use the noise reduction tools in your editing software. However, be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive noise reduction can result in loss of detail. Find the right balance to maintain image sharpness while minimizing noise.

6. Straighten horizons and correct distortion

Drone images often feature expansive landscapes or architectural structures, which require careful alignment. Use the straightening tool to level horizons and correct any vertical or horizontal distortion caused by the camera's wide-angle lens. This simple adjustment can greatly enhance the overall composition and balance of your photos.

7. Experiment with creative filters and presets

Post-processing is not only about correcting and enhancing images but also about unleashing your creativity. Many editing software applications offer a wide range of filters and preset that can dramatically transform the mood and style of your photos. Experiment with different options to find the ones that best complement your drone photography.

8. Dodge and burn to add depth and dimension

Dodge and burn is a technique used to selectively brighten (dodge) or darken (burn) specific areas of an image. This powerful tool can add depth and dimension to your drone photos, emphasizing certain details or creating more dramatic lighting effects. Use the dodge and burn brushes in your editing software to refine the highlights and shadows, enhancing the overall impact of your images.

9. Create panoramic shots for breathtaking vistas

Drones offer an excellent opportunity to capture sweeping panoramic views from above. To create stunning panoramic shots, take multiple overlapping photos while the drone is in a fixed position, and then stitch them together using specialized software or the panorama feature in your editing program. This technique allows you to showcase the vastness of the landscape and provide viewers with an immersive experience.

10. Sharpen images for crispness and clarity

After resizing or making adjustments during post-processing, your images may lose some sharpness. To restore crispness and clarity, use the sharpening tool in your editing software. Apply to sharpen selectively to avoid introducing artifacts or unwanted noise. This step is especially important if you plan to print your drone photos or display them in larger sizes.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What software is best for post-processing drone photos?

A: There are several popular software options for post-processing drone photos, including Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Capture One, and Luminar. Each software has its own strengths and features, so it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and editing needs.

Q: How can I enhance the details in my drone photos?

A: To enhance details in your drone photos, you can utilize the sharpening tool in your editing software. Increase the sharpness gradually, paying attention to any artifacts that may appear. Additionally, you can use local adjustment brushes to selectively enhance specific areas of interest, such as textures or intricate patterns.

Q: Can I use mobile editing apps for post-processing drone photos?

A: Yes, there are several mobile editing apps available that are capable of handling drone photos. Adobe Lightroom Mobile, Snapseed, and VSCO are popular choices that offer a range of editing tools and preset. While they may not have the same extensive capabilities as desktop software, they provide a convenient option for editing on the go.

Q: How can I ensure my edited drone photos retain their quality when shared online?

A: When sharing your edited drone photos online, it's important to consider the image compression algorithms used by various platforms. To preserve image quality, export your photos with the appropriate settings. Resize the images to fit the platform's recommended dimensions, and adjust the compression level to balance file size and image quality.

Q: Are there any specific considerations for post-processing drone videos?

A: Post-processing drone videos requires a different set of tools and techniques compared to editing photos. Video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, or DaVinci Resolve can help you stabilize footage, adjust colors, and add transitions or special effects. Keep in mind that video editing may require more powerful hardware and longer processing times compared to photo editing.

Q: Can I use presets or filters for drone photography?

A: Yes, presets and filters can be a valuable asset in post-processing drone photography. They offer a quick and easy way to apply a specific look or style to your images. However, it's important to use presets and filters as a starting point and adjust them according to the specific characteristics of each photo. This ensures a more personalized and professional result.


Mastering the art of post-processing is essential for taking your drone photography to new heights. By following these tips, you can enhance your aerial images, optimize colors, reduce noise, and create stunning visual effects. Remember, practice and experimentation are key to developing your unique editing style. So grab your drone, and capture breathtaking shots from above.


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