6 Best Apps for Drone Photography
Drones have really taken off lately as both objects for hobbyists and as serious tools for work ranging from construction to farming to hydrology. Equipped with a camera, a drone provides a way to gain a whole new perspective on things. They’re typically ready to run straight out of the box and can do a lot. The addition of apps, though, provides a means of making these valuable machines even more powerful in their capabilities. There are plenty of apps around but only a few stand out for the enhancements they provide. With the ability to run on both Android and iOS platforms while handling virtually all makes and models of drones being a must, here are six apps that should prove to be indispensable.
Outdoor lighting strongly depends on the location of the sun and most professional drone photographers can’t escape this fact. The Sun Surveyor app supplies information about where the sun will be at any given time in any given spot. This is obviously important for artistic purposes, but there’s no shortage of practical uses for such knowledge as well. The Sun Surveyor app handles this work by showing the sun’s path within existing images along with other valuable information like the moon’s path and phases superimposed within an image. It also reveals information about the golden hour, the period around sunrise and sunset when golden tones are most prevalent in exterior ambient lighting, and the blue hour before sunrise and after sunset when the sky radiates its purest blue hues.
In many professions, like architecture or landscaping, having a three-dimensional mock-up of buildings and terrain are invaluable. Available as an annual subscription, the Pix4D app makes this possible by collecting overlapping images and constructing 3D models. The software provides the options of either downloading the raw data into the user’s desktop computer for processing or simply letting the company’s own servers to do the heavy lifting. Work begins with the app determining the best flight path for the drone to gather images from. The final product includes the elevation of each data point in the model for exact analysis. With this level of precision, a high resolution camera can come in handy.
Drones don’t handle rough weather particularly well but the Hover app provides the solution. This app is simple to use and supplies data on current weather conditions and projected weather events several hours into the future to avoid surprises. It also supplies an easy to understand list of no-fly zone to keep the drone and its operator from heading into other types of surprises.
Even more important than the sun’s location is the location of aircraft in the area. The AirMap app provides information about current flight paths and potential interference from commercial craft along with warnings about private airports and buildings equipped with helipads. The best feature of this app is its ability to link the drone operator with nearby airports so they can inform them of their intentions to fly the drone within five miles of the facility and keep things legal. To date, 125 airports are registered with AirMap’s digital notice and awareness system or D-NAS and more are being added regularly.
While the AirMap app lets the drone operator know where existing flight paths are along with letting the airports know where the drone operator is, Flightradar24 lets the drone operator know where the actual aircraft are in real time. It works by collecting data from radar tracking and sends it to the mobile app to give the pilot a better sense of what’s really going on. This is especially valuable if an aircraft veers off its planned course.
After the photos and video have been shot, the operator will usually find a certain number of distortions in the final images. The SKRWT app is ready to take care of these problems by correcting for both horizontal and vertical biasing. The app handles these generic errors by allowing the user to tilt the images along their horizontal and vertical axes. There are also precision controls for moving the image center in or out. In addition, the SKRWT app supplies a menu of the more common platforms including iPhones, wide-angle scenes, fisheye lenses, and GoPro cameras so that the distortions typically found in each can be automatically ameliorated.
From knowing when it’s safe for takeoff to enhancing the final images, these apps cover the essential features that an amateur or professional drone photographer needs. For the hobbyist just wanting a little fun, they can make things more enjoyable. When work is involved, these apps can make a crucial difference. You should choose the best drone for you. If you’re on a budget and want to use the drone solely for flying it around the house while your dog is chasing it, then it’s no use to go for a difficult-to-maneuver and costly drone. Of course, if you are willing to dedicate a bit of time in learning how to fly and your budget allows it, a high-end drone is the best choice if you want a true drone pilot experience. Either way, these apps are technological marvels and definitely worth looking into.