Capturing HDR Images with a Drone & Rapidly Modifying Pictures

What’s HDR? Why would I would like to make use of it?

HDR stands for Excessive Dynamic Vary. The dynamic vary is the distinction between the lightest spotlight and the darkest shadow in a photograph. In sure lighting eventualities, normally throughout dawn or sundown or taking pictures immediately into the solar, it doesn’t matter what your digital camera settings are, it’s unattainable to keep away from having blown out highlights or utterly black shadows. One resolution for that is taking a number of images at completely different exposures and compositing them collectively to make one, evenly uncovered photograph.  Try these examples from a industrial actual property shoot we lately accomplished in Draper, Utah.

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How do I shoot HDR?

Very first thing’s first, all the time make sure that your drone is about to shoot in handbook, and it’s taking RAW images. Now we have now a few choices to select from, relying on how a lot management you need to have over the ultimate product.

1. The primary possibility is to set your taking pictures mode to HDR. That is the easy and straightforward strategy to get a fast HDR photograph. Your digital camera will routinely take bracketed images and mix them into one HDR photograph each time you click on the shutter. However with this mode, you haven’t any management over the processing of the picture, you solely get one already processed photograph to work with, and never all drones have this selection.


2. The subsequent possibility is to have the digital camera take a number of bracketed images at completely different exposures and course of them into HDR images afterward. To do that, change the taking pictures mode to “AEB,” which stands for Auto-Publicity Bracketing. This makes your digital camera  take take Three or 5 images in fast succession at various exposures each time you click on the shutter. These images might be processed afterward to make one HDR, and you’ll fine-tune every of the images as you course of them. The one subject with this selection is that you simply can not change the completely different exposures that your digital camera takes in AEB mode, it should routinely select to take a photograph one step above or under the accurately uncovered photograph.

2. The opposite possibility is to take a number of single-shot images with out shifting the digital camera and manually change the publicity between each. This lets you resolve how a lot to alter the publicity between images and offers you essentially the most management over the ultimate end result. However manually altering the publicity will increase the time between images, and the longer the time in between images, the upper the potential for the digital camera shifting, which may trigger distortion in post-production. That is normally solely needed when there’s a actually giant distinction between the shadows and highlights in a photograph and AEB mode can not seize all of it.

I like to recommend utilizing the second possibility. AEB mode could be very useful as a result of it captures a number of images in a short time, eliminating lots of motion between the images, and in most lighting eventualities, it it capable of get a big sufficient vary of exposures to accurately expose for each the shadows and the highlights. This technique offers the photographer sufficient management of the scenario to get a great outcome, but additionally takes benefit of a number of the drone’s automated features that may assist to remove human error.

How do I mix these images into one HDR photograph?

There are lots of alternative ways to course of these images into an HDR photograph, however the commonest packages used are Photoshop and Lightroom. Different packages embody Photomatix, EasyHDR, Aurora, or many others, however every of those require a subscription and might get fairly costly. Some packages that declare to “create gorgeous HDR imagery” simply throw a filter on an everyday photograph and name it an HDR. I’ve discovered that essentially the most dependable packages to merge HDR images are Photoshop and Lightroom.

In Lightroom:

Import the images into Lightroom. Choose all 3 (or 5) and proper click on. Choose “Picture Merge,” then “HDR…” and a dialog field pops up.

There isn’t an enormous quantity of choices on this field, however there are a pair price noting. The “Auto-Align” possibility can appropriate any small motion of the digital camera between the images. Toggle the “Auto-Tone” possibility on and off to see which one you want higher. In case you don’t love what Lightroom comes up with, you possibly can all the time edit the photograph additional after processing it.Dronegenuity

Subsequent, there are a pair choices for deghosting. This will appropriate any motion of the topic of the photograph. For instance, on this photograph, vehicles have been driving throughout the bridge and shifted barely between images. The primary photograph has no deghosting, whereas the second photograph has the very best quantity. As you possibly can see, the highest photograph has some blurriness within the vehicles, whereas within the backside photograph, they’re much extra clear. The deghosting quantity you select depends upon the quantity of motion within the photograph.Dronegenuity

After you have determined in your settings, click on Merge within the backside proper nook. Lightroom then provides your new HDR picture to the top of the digital camera roll.


In Photoshop:

The method for merging HDR images in Photoshop is similar to Lightroom. To start out, open all your images in Digicam Uncooked. Choose those you want to merge, and proper click on. Choose “Merge to HDR.” An analogous dialog field opens up with choices to deghost and align the images.  When you select your alignment and deghosting settings, click on Merge, and choose the place to avoid wasting this new picture.


And that’s it! Now you might have a model new photograph, separate from those you took, which you can edit nonetheless you want.

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What if I’ve a big amount of images to course of?

Whereas Photoshop is efficacious for producing exact HDR images and fine-tuning them, it may be time-consuming to course of every photograph separately. One benefit to utilizing Lightroom, versus different software program, is that Lightroom can deal with teams of images as “stacks” fairly than particular person images. After you have processed one, the settings can then be copied and pasted onto the remainder of the stacks.


To do that, import all your images into Lightroom. Choose the entire images, and right-click on one. Choose “Stacking,” then “Auto-stack by Seize Time.” The dialog field that pops up asks you ways a lot time you prefer to between your stacks. Transfer the slider till you see the variety of stacks you expect, or what number of images you took. In case you shot in AEB mode, this must be fairly correct as a result of the bracketed images have been taken in a short time one after one other.


After you have your stacks, proper click on and choose “Stacking” then “Collapse All Stacks” to make it simpler to see the teams. A small white sq. with the variety of images will seem within the higher left nook of every stack.Dronegenuity

Now make your first HDR like ordinary. Then choose the second stack and press CTRL + Shift + H. This can paste the settings of the final HDR you merged onto thenext stack. Repeat this on all your stacks, and Lightroom will course of them suddenly, fairly than separately, and add them to the top of your digital camera strip, the place you possibly can edit them as regular.


I’ve discovered that that is essentially the most environment friendly strategy to course of a big amount of HDR images, with essentially the most correct outcomes. Now exit and shoot your individual HDR images and share the outcomes with us!


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