Drone photography has taken the world by storm, allowing photographers to capture breathtaking aerial images from unique perspectives. As the popularity of this art form grows, a myriad of tools and apps have been developed to help photographers improve their skills and streamline their workflow. In this article, we’ll delve into the 10 best drone apps that every drone photographer should have in their arsenal, explaining their uses and benefits to assist you in taking your aerial photography to new heights.
1. DJI GO 4- Free
DJI GO 4 is the official app for older DJI drones like the Phantom 4 Pro and Mavic 2; the app offers an extensive range of features that enable easy control, live video transmission, and data management. With intelligent flight modes, customisable camera settings, and real-time flight data, this app is a must for anyone using one of the older DJI models. DJI GO 4 offers a built-in photo editor, allowing users to fine-tune their images and share them directly from the app. Furthermore, the app provides access to DJI Academy, a platform offering a wealth of tutorials and educational resources for improving your drone photography skills. For newer DJI models, the DI Fly App is the default flight management and drone camera app, it’s not as feature-rich as the DJI GO 4, but it is still essential to manage your drone.
2. Litchi- Paid
Litchi is a popular third-party app for DJI drones; renowned for its advanced flight modes and waypoint mission planning, it is one of the best drone camera apps on the market. With Litchi, you can plan your flight path ahead of time, enabling you to focus on capturing the perfect shot rather than managing your drone’s position. Some of Litchi’s unique features include Orbit, Focus, and Follow modes, allowing you to easily create dynamic aerial shots. Litchi also supports Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, providing an immersive FPV experience and more precise control over your drone’s movements.
Drone Link is another third-party drone camera app that you can consider as an alternative to the DJI Fly, and DJI GO 4 App. It is a more professional app geared towards commercial applications, not just drone photography.
3. AirMap – Free
AirMap is an indispensable app for staying informed about airspace restrictions and regulations. It provides real-time airspace information, including restricted areas, no-fly zones, and temporary flight restrictions, ensuring that you stay compliant with local laws and regulations. AirMap also allows you to submit digital flight plans to receive automatic authorisation for flying in controlled airspace, streamlining the process and saving you valuable time. This app also includes a community feature, enabling drone pilots to connect with one another and share information about local flying conditions.
4. UAV Forecast – Free
UAV Forecast is one of the best drone apps for checking weather conditions before flying your drone. It provides detailed information about wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and visibility, ensuring that you have a safe and successful flight. UAV Forecast offers a comprehensive satellite map displaying real-time cloud cover, precipitation, and lightning strikes, allowing you to make informed decisions about when and where to fly. You can also set custom alerts to notify you when specific weather conditions are met, ensuring that you never miss an opportunity for the perfect flight.
5. Aloft (Kittyhawk)- Free
Kittyhawk, now rebranded as Aloft, is one of the best all-in-one drone apps for commercial drone pilots and operators. The app provides real-time airspace intelligence, flight planning, flight logging, LAANC authorisation, fleet management, and risk assessment tools, streamlining drone operations and ensuring compliance with regulations. While it may be more feature-rich than necessary for hobbyist pilots, Kittyhawk remains a valuable tool for those in need of a robust drone management platform to enhance safety and efficiency in their operations.
6. Adobe Lightroom Mobile -Free
Adobe Lightroom Mobile is an essential photo editing app for drone photographers. With powerful editing tools and a user-friendly interface, Lightroom Mobile makes it easy to edit your aerial photos on the go, ensuring that your images always look their best. The app allows you to fine-tune your photo’s exposure, contrast, and colour balance and apply presets and filters to achieve a consistent aesthetic across your portfolio. Adobe Lightroom Mobile offers advanced features such as selective adjustments, healing brush, and lens correction tools, empowering you to perfect your images down to the smallest details. With seamless integration with Adobe Creative Cloud, you can effortlessly sync your edits across multiple devices and collaborate with other photographers. This is a must-have drone camera app for any serious photographer.
7. Sun Surveyor Lite -Free
Sun Surveyor is an invaluable app for planning the perfect golden hour shoot. It provides real-time information about the sun’s position, allowing you to find the optimal time and location for capturing stunning aerial photos with beautiful natural lighting. Sun Surveyor offers an interactive 3D compass, visualising the sun’s path throughout the day, as well as a map view that shows the sun’s direction and elevation at any given time. With the built-in augmented reality feature, you can easily scout your location and visualise how the sunlight will interact with the environment, ensuring you’re in the right place at the right time.
8. Google Earth – Free
Google Earth is an indispensable tool for scouting locations and planning your drone photography shoots. With detailed satellite imagery and 3D terrain data, Google Earth allows you to visualise the landscape and identify potential points of interest before you even take off. By exploring your desired location in advance, you can determine the best angles, heights, and positions for your drone to capture the most compelling aerial images. Moreover, Google Earth’s Street View feature lets you experience ground-level perspectives, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the location and its surroundings.
9. PhotoPills -Paid
PhotoPills is a comprehensive photography planning app that is invaluable for drone photographers. It offers various planning tools like augmented reality views, sun and moon tracking, and depth of field calculations. PhotoPills can help you determine the best time and location for your drone shoots, ensuring you capture the perfect shot with the ideal lighting conditions. With its built-in Milky Way planner, you can also plan your night sky photography sessions, capturing stunning images of the stars and other celestial bodies. PhotoPills includes a powerful exposure calculator, helping you to achieve the perfect exposure settings for your drone camera in any lighting situation.
10. Tesla Field Recorder – iOS -Free
Tesla Field Recorder is a versatile app designed to measure and record magnetic fields using your smartphone’s magnetometer. This app can be particularly useful for drone photographers to detect magnetic interference, which may cause compass calibration issues or affect the drone’s GPS. By using Tesla Field Recorder, you can ensure your drone operates safely and efficiently in areas with minimal magnetic interference. Moreover, the app’s built-in data logging feature allows you to track magnetic field variations over time, helping you to identify and avoid problematic areas when planning your drone flights.
These 10 best drone apps are essential for any drone photographer looking to enhance their skills, streamline their workflow, and capture stunning aerial images. By incorporating these tools into your toolkit, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your drone photography adventures. Whether you’re an experienced drone pilot or just starting, these apps will provide invaluable support and guidance, enabling you to elevate your aerial imagery and take your drone photography to new heights.