Aerial photo of Maldives Island

This is an aerial photo of an Island in Maldives.

I’m sure many of you have photographed such aerial photos which might not have turned up well (not surprising). If it makes you feel any better, even the photo which you are seeing above wasn’t appealing enough, i.e. before I passed it through a series of Image post processing steps.

Aerial photo of Maldives Island - unprocessedThe Image on the right is the un-processed .jpg copy of the image seen above.

When it comes to Image post processing, you can’t recover details which aren’t there, so it’s still important that you start with an image which is captured with appropriate settings – eliminating blur or over-exposed spots.

Photo Meta data: Camera: Nikon D40, Lens: 55-200 mm VR, Aperture: F/5.6, Exposure time: 1/4000 sec, ISO: 200, Exposure Bias: -1.7, Focal length: 100 mm

Image Post Processing steps:

  • Crop and align the image: Crop away un-desirable elements from the frame which you think is reducing the aesthetic appeal -this is both hard and easy at the same time! Always try to have lines in the image aligned horizontally or vertically, whichever suits the image best. You can observe that I have cropped out a little on the right and bottom and rotated the image counter clock-wise by a small degree to align the line of waves horizontally.
  • Shadow and Highlight: this is the process where you bring details out of the shadows and reduce the highlights. Here I simply brought out some details from the shadows and didn’t use the highlights as the original image is kind of dull.
  • Color Balance: This was what brought out the most changes in the image. This post processing step has immense possibilities and combinations, so I will limit myself to a synopsis of what I did. Simply put, I enhanced the blue tones (hence reducing the yellow tones), enhanced the Magenta tones (hence reducing the green tones) and then enhanced the Red tones (hence reducing the Cyan tones). The blue tones were required to enhance the blueness of the ocean and red tones to bring out the colours of the island.
  • Brightness and Contrast: This should be the most common post processing tool that’s used by anyone. There is a reason I used this after Color Balance. Refer to my post – Auto Contrast, Auto Levels and Auto Color –  to know why.
  • Sharpening Image: This is a must for most photos and always good to do this at the last.

The post-processing techniques which I have mentioned above need much practice and getting used to, but the more you use it the better you will get.

By the way, this snap was taken by ‘the wife’ who gets to sit on the window seat of all flights we take these days!

Anoop Hullenahalli

An Electronics Engineer working on wireless embedded systems for a living. Traveling, photographing and sharing my experiences here at ANUBIMB helps me unwind and break the monotony of life.

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