4 Essential Apps For Drone Photographers

4 Essential Apps For Drone Photographers feature image from drone photography bible. the image is of a DJI mavic pro wrapped in an australian flag skin wrap

When we go to JBHiFi, or the local DJI store and buy our first drone, we get caught up in the excitement of getting it home, ripping the plastic wrap off and diving into the world of aerial photography and videos!

I am guilty of this and rushed to get my drone into the air which was fine, until I started thinking, what do I do with the photographs and videos after the excitement settles?

Let me introduce to you, the mystical world of apps; payed apps, free apps, every app you can think of.

All have their purpose and sometimes the phrase “You get what you pay for” rings true. However some apps that I will detail below, are free and extremely well suited to what you need.

OpenSky

I remember discussing this on my first article, OpenSky is an app which is extremely important and highly recommended to get, as it will give you a clear indication of where you can fly and where you can’t.

There is nothing worse then getting to an area which looks absolutely perfect, to find out that you are in a NFZ (No Fly Zone). These can be National Parks, or areas too close to an airport, built up areas etc.

Keep in mind that emergencys can play havoc to your flying plans, such as bushfires and unplanned events. So always jump onto the app and check. You will have piece of mind when you see that your’e  in the clear or if you have to move.

OpenSky will give you the following information so you can stay clear of;

  • Permanent highly restricted airspace,
  • Known fire hazards and incidents,
  • Controlled airports and their approach and departure paths,
  • Known uncontrolled airports,
  • Known danger areas,
  • Fly during daylight and what time daylight ends,
  • Marine parks,
  • CASA/FAA advised no fly areas and,
  • Known heliports with instrument approach.

All this information is highly important when you’re considering flying in new areas, and even if you have flown at a certain spot multiple times, still check as circumstances could have changed without you knowing and you may be flying in restricted airspace.

Download OpenSky

Apple AppStore

Google Play Store

Adobe Lightroom

This is the biggest issue for most people when they want to edit their photographs…which program do I use? which is best? If I have to buy one, which one won’t be a scam? I had this same problem until I came across Adobe Lightroom.

This is my opinion is by far the best editing program I have come across. It is free unless you want to upgrade, but so far the free version has given me what I need. 

I have used many others, but those have been restrictive and difficult to use. You have to remember that I am Australian and my brain span only goes as far as beers, hot weather, pluggers, knowing every animal and insect living here wants to kill me, and basic technical knowledge!

So a handy user friendly editing app is just what I need, and Adobe Lightroom is just that!

It gives you so many options, and when you look at my Instagram page, you will see the edited photographs have been tweeked with using Lightroom and the end result is amazing.

Wave shots come up beautiful and can actually expose rock formations and water movement unseen in the original image. It can also give you access to basic to advanced lighting controls to fully appreciate the photograph you have taken, so don’t discard the photo’s that look too dark or too exposed, you can fix this with Lightroom!

Bear in mind you can also edit videos on Lightroom too! It is designed primarily to edit photographs, but you can edit videos by trimming, presets, filters etc. You can’t adjust sound quality, but for a free app it will satisfy your needs just fine!

Want to learn more about Adobe Lightroom and the mobile presets? Read the Drone Photography Bible article on Adobe Lightroom now!

Download Adobe Lightoom

Apple AppStore

Google Play Store

Update DJI GO 4

Update, update, update! Don’t ignore that little window that comes up on your phone or tablet that says to update firmware. As much as it’s easy to do so, this will give you updated information including NFZ’s and bug fixes to the app. This only takes a few minutes and saves you the trouble when the app refuses you to fly if you haven’t done so.

I have had a few occurances where the app has not been updated and it has refused to connect with my drone. When you are in a prime location and your best shot is about to come, be it a sunrise, whales, sporting event etc, and you have to stop, disconnect and update, it turns a pleasant experience into a ball of stress and fancy swear words!

So the night before, please do a dry connect, and make sure your drone and software is fully updated. Don’t make my mistake…more than once!

I hope the applications I have mentioned above help you in one way or another. It isn’t a huge amount, but it is two apps that I use religiously and have made my drone flying and photography much more enjoyable.

You will be amazed with Adobe Lightroom specifically as it can drastically improve and highlight your photographs! Feel free to leave any comments below or on my Instagram page, I am more than happy to answer questions or comments.

Download DJI GO 4

Apple AppStore

Google Play Store

PolarPro Drone Photography app

Have you seen other drone photographers talking about ND filters but not sure how or when to use them?

A great little app for helping you pick the right ND filter and shutter speed is the PolarPro app.

This app is designed to help drone pilots pick the right ND filter for the right moment.

In addition to helping you pick ND filters, the Polarpro app also gives live wind and weather forecasts, live Kp index and notifies you when the golden hour is.

If you want to know how to use the Polarpro app in more detail, you can read the Drone Photography Bible article on the app.

About the author – Timothy Merchant

My name it Timothy Merchant and I am an amatuer drone photographer. I grew up in Perth, Western Australia (WA) before joining the Army and then settling in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

I have always had a passion for flying and since I can remember, I had always wanted to be a pilot. Throughout my 35 years on this earth, I managed to get my Private Pilots licence but circumstances prevented me from continuing. Needless to say the flying bug has stayed with me, throughout my tours in Afghanistan and Iraq seeing all the jets and helicopters doing their thing, living the dream of all boys and girls out there, to now here in Canberra..it will never leave.

So introduce drones, the amazing technological advancement allowing people like me to satisfy their flying urge, but also given the opportunity to take high quality aerial and drone photographs. It was a win win for me and I always love the feeling of setting it up and taking off that first time.

Please feel free to follow me on Instagram. I take photographs of anything that peaks my interest, mainly ocean views, surfing, ships, boats and anything that has that potential wow factor. Message me if you would like any information on drone flying or setup.

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As always, if you want to have your drone photography featured on the Drone Photography Bible Instagram feed, tag @dronephotographybible and hashtag #dronephotographybible. Your photos will feature on our Instagram as well as on the drone photography galley on our website.

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