Beginners or veterans, one thing that’s been known to all is that a good composition adds many points to a photo.

But composition is not an easy thing in aerial photography. Different from traditional photography, where photographers can adjust camera positions however and whenever they want to, doing the same thing in aerial photography needs to fly a drone back and forth, with a high cost since the battery of a drone is limited.

That’s why even an experienced photographer cannot ensure every photo is perfect when shooting down from the air.

He might shoot other things that he doesn’t wish to include in the photo:
drone photo

What’s boat on the top of photo doing here?

Or forget to keep the gimbal leveled:
drone photo

Oops.

Or wrong position of the targeted subject:
drone photo

If you unluckily come across the above problems of aerial shooting, try re-composition before giving up.

But what if you don’t know a thing about the rule of third or golden section or the Fibonacci spiral?

Turn to Photoshop or Lightroom for help.

【Take Lightroom as an example】
Lightroom

1. Import a photo and click the icon in marked by the red box (Keyboard shortcut: R)
Lightroom

2. Adjust “Angle” in the red box to rebalance the photo’s composition
Lightroom

3. Attention! The “O” key on the keyboard can change different composition modes (rule of thirds, diagonal, spiral etc.)
Lightroom

4. Press SHIFT+O to change directions under the same composition mode
Lightroom

【Another example from Photoshop】

1. Import a photo and click the icon in marked by the red box (Keyboard shortcut: C)
Photoshop

2. Slide the mouse to the corner to rebalance the photo.
Photoshop

3. Press O or click the icon in the red circle to change composition modes.
Photoshop

Composition mode is instrumental in photo re-composition.

Example 1
drone photo

Original image, shot in Guilin, China with DJI Phantom 4. The lights are good, plus the hills exclusively found in Guilin, this photo does have something to say. But overall, it’s too plain, with those hills and the sky taking a half of the picture, making it confusing because there is no highlight. Let alone the shape of a drone propeller is also included in the photo.
drone photo

How to make this photo a bit professional and special? There should be a highlight, a focus, and it has to be the hills.

So use a triangle composition mode and click Crop to reduce the size. And then make this photo black and white. With the lights and hills fill over the photo, it looks like a gorgeous Chinese painting.
drone photo

Example 2

Original image, shot in Hokkaido, Japan with DJI Phantom 4. This is a shot when I was shooting 720p panorama. When I looked back to this photo, I found the shape of the grove very interesting, however, not emphasized enough. I was to underline the grove, but the fields steal its thunder. It’s also ruined by the strange field in the lower right.
drone photo

Original image, shot in Hokkaido, Japan with DJI Phantom 4. This is a shot when I was shooting 720p panorama. When I looked back to this photo, I found the shape of the grove very interesting, however, not emphasized enough. I was to underline the grove, but the fields steal its thunder. It’s also ruined by the strange field in the lower right.
drone image

I think square composition is more suitable here, so I adjust the images to 1:1, and put the grove at the cross of two diagonals.
drone image

However, cropping images always costs a reduction of resolution. So the fundamental thing is to do the right composition at the first place.

So two more tips for shooting:

  • Hide all unnecessary interfaces on the screen

Shooting with the edges being obscured by other interfaces is nothing good for composition. You might shoot something you don’t want without knowing it.

So hide all unnecessary interfaces and shoot with the camera footage at full screen.
DJI Go display

  • Use guide lines to help composition

DJI Go display

Instruction: tap the icon under the shutter button – tap the gear icon – show the guide lines

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