Hey everyone, it's been a while since my last blog post here on bernholdt.dk, sorry for that, I have just been overloaded with work and have been using my spare time on taking photos instead of writing.
A few days ago I began receiving questions about my workflow when developing my drone photos on twitter, and instead of answering every singe one of you in a email I thought I would write a small Lightroom & Photoshop tutorial on it here on the blog.
First thing first to be able to create a HDR photo you need to capture 3 or more frames of the same image, I am flying a Phantom 3 so it is pretty easy to do that.
Load up the DJI GO app open menu and select AEB, I always choose 5 bracket shots to have more material to work with. For some reason the DJO GO app dosent register that you want to shoot in AEB so make sure to always check by pressing play and verify that it takes 5 shots. I always shoot in dng and set my white balance manually to that makes it much easier to post process the final image.
Before I import my images into Lightroom make sure you clean them up in the DJI dng cleaner to remove those annoying red pixels pots the camera leaves in your dng files, you can download the program for free here: http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-3-pro/info#downloads
Now load all your cleaned dng files into Lightroom.
I usually stack them in groups of five to make it easier to find my way around all the images, this is especially helpful if you have a couple of hundred images from a photo tour. Right click control and select each of the 5 images in a group go to stacking and then click group into stack.
The only thing I do in Lightroom before merging them to HDR in photoshop is that I apply lens correction to all images in that series You can do this manually or you can use this preset I have created for the DJI Phantom 3 lens: PHANTOM 3 Lens correct.zip
Now open all files on photoshop by selecting the 5 images right click and select Edit in > Edit in Adobe photoshop.
There is also the option to Edit in > Merge to HDR pro in Photoshop but I never use that so I don't know if you have the same control with your image.
Depending on you hardware it might take a while to load all images in photoshop, after the files are loaded in Photoshop go to File > Automate > Merge to HDR pro.
Add open files and select Attempt to align source images click ok, Photoshop will now merge them images and open up the HDR dialog, check remove ghosts set mode to 32 bit and mark the middle EV 0,00 exposure it should have a green frame when it is selected, finish up the HDR dialog by pressing Tone in ACR (ACR = Adobe Camera RAW)
In camera raw I make some small edits like adding contrast and adjust exposure, to get a good base image to work with in Lightroom later on.
Now I duplicate my HDR image to the first image in my set, to avoid having to go back in Lightroom an have to import my HDR image again. Right click layer Select Dublicate layer, in the dialog boks select the first image in your set.
Now you only need to save the first image of your set, click save or press the little x on the image pane, the rest of the images can just be closed. Head back to Lightroom and apply your favorite preset or do your edits like a champ.
Working with a 32bit hdr image in lightroom gives you so much more data to work with in the shadows and highligts that you can pull your sliders way more than usual without adding image noise and artifacts.
The images used in this tutorial are developed with my Aerial green preset download it for free here: mbernholdt_aerial_green.zip
Let me see what you come home with, do share links to your work in in the comments below.
Happy flying and developing
Michael B. Rasmussen