A while back I wrote a tutorial on how to process Aerial HDR images. As a photographer I keep trying to evolve and become even better, this also includes my workflow when I come home.
In this tutorial I use Lightroom and Photoshop, almost all the magic happens in Photoshop so you don't necessarily need to use Lightroom.
Lately I have been taking a different approach, so instead of loading my images into a 32bit hdr image I simply load them into a stack as a Smart Object inside Photoshop. I find this method much faster, and it usually only takes me a couple of minutes to have a usable file to finish up in Lightroom.
There is also a huge benefit in working with Smart Objects, ill get to that later in the tutorial.
The final image we are going to create will hopefully end up like this:
To begin with just load your amazing images into Lightroom to get them in your catalogue, and without doing any corrections at all, mark your 5 shots and open in Photoshop.
With your files loaded in Photoshop, click File->Scripts->Load Files into Stack.
In the pop up window, click "Add open files", making sure you check "Attempt to Automatically align source images" & "Create smart object after loading layers" <----- This is very important!
The stacking can take quite a while depending on your computers processing power. Therefor easily take the time to grab a cop of coffee, because as soon as its done, all the fun begins.
Now that all the images are stacked, you should have one "Smart Object" with all your images loaded.
Your image still looks flat and boring, but now it's time to make some magic happen. Click ALT+CTRL+A or choose Filter->Camera Raw Filter, to open Adobe Camera Raw.
One thing I do in my drone photos without any hesitation, to differentiate all the elements and pull out the shadows in the image, is adding a lot of contrast.
Click OK to apply the settings and get back to Photoshop.
At this stage, I usually copy my Smart Object on top of the first image in my series. Do that by right clicking on the Smart Object and click duplicate layer. In the pop up menus drop down list, select the image you want to copy to, and click OK.
At times when I copy my Smart Object to my first image in the series, it gets a little darker. This is where Smart Objects are really really smart, because you can always go back and make adjustments by double clicking on the Camera Raw Filter in the layers pane.
One last thing you need to do is checking your borders and crop if you have any white space on the image. When you are happy and satisfied with your results, save the image and make final adjustments in Lightroom, or save as JPG for print.
One more time, here is the final image after this process.
Stay tuned. And please share this tutorial with friends.