Before your First Photo Shoot
Throughout the rest of the course I'm going to go over settings in Lightroom and use specific photos as examples. If you have your own, great, but I also have most of these photos in here for you to work with alongside me.
OLD Mavic 1 Photo Pack: Download Here
You don't need ALL of them, but there are plenty to choose from if you'd like to use a few or a bunch.
Note: You'll notice a ton of photos in this course are square - these are mostly from the Mavic 1 when the course first started. The newer photos are wider because they are from the Mavic 2 Pro. The lessons still remain the same, but if you notice a sudden change in quality in the example material, remember that this course is constantly updated so some examples and videos haven't needed to update. The principles all remain the same.
Hi my name is Alex Harris, I’m the Videography and Photography Instructor at Drone Launch Academy.
I'm pouring years and years of photography and videography experience into an easy, edible form so you can actually apply this yourself, right now, without any insane amount of knowledge or experience.
You don’t have to be an expert you just have to know a checklist of steps that we are going to look at from camera settings, to how to shoot, to actually editing the photos.
I've given you some sample RAW Photos above to download and play with while we do this.
THIS SECTION REQUIRES ADOBE LIGHTROOM (lightroom classic is the one you want NOT lightroom cc which is only cloud-based for online photos and sucks to deal with)
It's $10 a month, but if you already have the entire Adobe Suite it comes with it.
Yes, you need to have it - No serious professional isn't editing their photos if they are selling it as a service.
Photos are pretty small so you don't need a ton of space on your memory card, or a very expensive one. $10-$20 on Amazon.
About your Drone
The DJI Phantom series, DJI Spark, Mavic Pro, Mavic Air, Yuneec Typhoon, and most others over $400 shoot photos in two formats: JPEG and RAW
From a photography perspective, this is fantastic. The ability to shoot in RAW opens up worlds of opportunity for quality control.
JPEG stamps a photo into an easily viewable, easily sharable item. What you see is what you get.
RAW is bascially a data recording, it soaks in as much info as it can and later you tell it what to do with that data. IE: The shadows should be much brighter, the water should be bluer. It will flex with your settings like cookie dough being cut to shapes, where a JPEG is like a finished cookie. The second you bend it too much it just breaks and looks obviously tampered with.
RAW stores way more data. More data = more flexibility later on as well as more detail.
Here I've taken two different exposures of the photo. The first I tried to change the lighting so that you could see the sky better. The second I tried to fix it for the ground to be more visible. Both are taken in RAW. Then you can see that after corrections are applied in Lightroom, even though both photos started out dramatically different, they wound up nearly the same. That is how far RAW will bend and allow you to recover image data.
Editing a huge pile of RAW photos is also a copy/paste process for settings, versus the days where you had to edit each photo one at a time in Photoshop.
A little bit of planning is going to make a HUGE difference.
You don't have to show up, fly into the air, spin in circles for 10 minutes hoping something will pop out at you, then fly back home feeling stupid. There are two things I do that are a major help.
Use Google Maps to scout out good locations while you’re not under the pressure of time, it even has a 3D mode so you can turn the map to a different perspective to preview what you'll be getting later.
The other bonus is that when you pick a landmark or popular location, a lineup of local photography shots will stack up at the bottom of the page. These are good reference points for what you might be aiming for later.
But my Secret Sauce is to use Pinterest.com to look at stack and stacks of artsy, exaggerated photos of places that are already online for you to reference, then find those locations in real life since the info is usually listed next to the photo and they might even have the setup explained of how they got it.
It might say "I swam out to the rock beyond the dock just before sunset to setup on a tripod" which is just perfect for you having a drone, because when you swim out it'll be to cheer your drone on during its majestic flight.
You can just type in any place you want to visit, and tons of already planned and successfully executed shots will show up for you to practice getting or aim for something similar.
The last part is just having the patience for good scenarios to present themselves. Once you've taken enough photos, you'll know when the conditions are right for something good. If there is great visibility in the evening, and you notice tons of soft, feathery clouds you'll be able to spot the conditions for a very vivid, colorful sunset and then spring into action. This eye you will develop over time.