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Turn your drone shots into stunning professional landscape photos. Highlights, saturation, and exposure all play a major role in transforming a standard photo into an photo with a wow-factor. Here’s how to do it in Adobe Lightroom.

We take a very standard aerial image of the cityscape of San Francisco. The first aspect of the photo that we want to immediately address is the crooked horizon line. We use the Crop Overlay tool to bring up the gridlines and straighten the horizon line.

horizon correction

Now we can shift our focus to color correction. We ideally want to increase the Temperature of the photo since we are shooting for a summertime feel.

temperature correction

We then increase the Exposure to bring out the natural colors and lighten the overall image for sunny effects.

exposure

To open up the shadows caused by the sunny day, we increase the Blacks just a tad.

black insert

We can then focus a little on the clouds and bring a little dynamic by lowering the Highlights and saving the details.

highlights

The next two steps are going to be focused on bringing Clarity and Sharpness to our image. To really bring out the awesome nature of a sunset or cloudy sky, we want to bring the Shadows down thereby enhancing the natural sunlight color. In addition, since we are dealing with the skyscrapers in the back, we want to pump up the clarity to keep the details. We don’t want to over saturate the clarity otherwise we will get a very pixelated feel to our image.

shadow:clarity

We can then add a little Vibrance and Saturation to pop the colors and make them seem a little less dull.

vibrance:saturation

Now, to obtain a certain dreamy look with the colors presented in the image, we want to mess around with the HSL tab. Since the sky is primarily 50% of the image, we are going to bump up the blues to enhance the “dreamy” effect.

hsl

Another cool feature to dabble in is the Vignette feature. What vignette will let you do is force the viewer to look towards the center of the image by blurring the sides. With certain aspects of the photo like the highways, streets, and clouds leading toward the cityscape, the vignette distracts the viewer from the edges of the photo and really makes them focus on the center.

vignette

Finally, the last aspect we want to touch on is the Gradient tool. We want to segment the photo into two parts, the sky and city below. Since we brought out a lot of color from the cityscape, we want to optimize the blues in the sky. By selecting the sky, decreasing the temperature, and bumping up the clarity and saturation, we give the sky a natural, but dreamy look at the same time.

gradient

before:after

DJI_0003

There you have it! The final image fully edited and ready to share with the world. There are numerous ways to edit a photo and at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. There is no right or wrong when you edit a photo, so as long as it reflects your style of work, the photo will always be perfect.

To get your hands on the newest and coolest drones on the market today, head over to Lumoid and get the drone of your dreams. Shoot endless photos and videos of skyscrapers, beaches, and bridges with a DJI Mavic Pro or Phantom 4 Pro today!

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