Drone Photography Tips for beginners and Professional Photographers

drone photography

Drone photography is the current trend in the world of photography. Taking great, breathtaking photographs from any angle has seen drone photography experience an increase in its popularity. Drones are preferred for taking professional photographs because they offer great perspectives and they are very versatile. 

With a drone, it is possible to freeze several incredible moments that would have been impossible to do from the ground. Drone photography can be taken up as a profession as well as a hobby. From drone real estate photography to wedding photography, the breathtaking shots you can achieve from a drone can bring a unique perspective to your photography. 

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Drones are improving in terms of technology and their performance each day. Drone photography offers the photographer an array of options to choose from as well as settings. You need to understand that you don’t need to be a professional photographer to get around using a drone for great photos. The following Drone photography tips are essential for beginners as well as professional photographers.

  1. Understand how a drone works

Understanding how a drone works are the first step in getting started with drone photography. A drone is a type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). An unmanned aerial vehicle is made of lightweight materials to reduce its weight. Drones come in a variety of sizes. The largest drones require a small runway to launch whereas small ones can be launched from the palm of the hand. A drone comes with a remote control. The remote control is used to control the drone by:

  • Launching
  • Landing
  • Maneuvering

The remote control can be informed of a gamepad, smartphone or tablet. A drone is also incorporated with dual Global Navigational Satellite Systems (GNSS) for example GPS and GLONASS. The controller is also used to communicate with the drone. The controller uses wifi to transmit data using speeds of up to 2.4Ghz. The GPS chip on the drone relays information about its location. It also records the drones take off location in case you need the drone to self-return without you having to direct it to its take-off location. A drone also has inbound sensors to keep it aloft. For example, the altimeter that lets you know at what altitude the drone issue flying at.

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In landing, the visual sensor will communicate with the drone and tell it how close to the ground it is. A visual positioning system in the drone uses a downward facing camera to create an image of the ground. The drone will then plot safe spots to land before choosing the best one. These features help a drone to have autonomy, it can fly, land and navigate with minimal human interaction.

The drone’s multiple propellers make it easier for it to change directions and angles.

2. Learn how to fly the drone

If you have never flown a drone before, take some time to learn how to fly a drone. Choose a small, cheap drone to practice with. Don’t attach your camera yet because you may crash the drone a lot before getting the hang of it. To begin your practice:

  • Ensure the drone’s battery is properly charged
  • Make sure you spread its propellers and wings properly
  • Pick an open area without people, pets or trees. Grassy areas are recommended because they offer safe landing platforms.

If you happen to crash, it is safe to turn off the throttle. Doing this will minimize the damage done to the drone’s propellers. Alternatively, you can practice safely using a drone simulator before going ahead to practice with your drone.

3. Learn and follow the law and regulations

Different local, as well as national authorities, have put in place different laws regulating the flying of drones. This is to safeguard people’s safety as well as privacy. Take a moment to read and understand the rules before you embark on flying your drone. If you are in the US, visit the official FAA website on UAVs to get started.

For example, you need to know that every new drone has to be registered regardless of its use. Once you have registered your drone, you will be issued with an identification number.

FAA has also put limitations on where you can fly your drone as well as the right attitude. For example, drones are not permitted to be flown within a range of five miles of airports unless issued with a permit.

Not following regulations will only attract levies and fines against you. If you are a professional photographer looking forward to expanding your skills to aerial photography, ensure you get the necessary certification. For more information, it is safe to check out the specific laws that apply to your region. We have only mentioned the common ones.

4. Choosing the right equipment for drone photography

When you have mastered the drone’s functioning, maneuvering and the regulations in your locality, choose the right equipment to practice your photography. Begin by considering the size of the drone. Choose the right camera.

Consider the amount of the camera’s weight before mounting it to your drone to be carried into the sky. Not all drones can comfortably lift a full-sized DSLR camera. For drone’s with embedded cameras or pre-installed cameras, pick the one offering the best focal length. Check the drone to see if it offers:

  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Features such as the fisheye
  • Jello effect for dramatic pictures
  • A good camera means great quality in images.

5. Choosing when to shoot

Getting a great shot with your drone requires skills. Choosing to shoot on a sunny day will help you get optimal lighting conditions into your images. Visualize how you would like your photos to appear. This will help you assess the angles and perspective to correctly capture the moment.

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The best moment to shoot is when there are light winds and there is enough natural light. Just as in normal ground photography, lighting plays a huge role in enhancing the quality of your pictures in aerial photography. Consider the position of the sun to get the best picture. Don’t forget the shadows, for optimal pictures, consider the objects’ shadows. Don’t face the sun’s direction as the drone’s rotors can cast shadows in the lens blurring the pictures.

6. Shoot in raw format

Raw is a file format that captures the image data as measured by the lens as you take a picture. Raw format is the best way to shoot your pictures. This is because you are able to correct any errors in the photo taken. Shooting in JPEG is disadvantageous because the data is compressed and can get lost. In raw format, no data is compressed. In raw format, you get the highest quality level because you get to record all data in the sensor. 

Shooting in JPEG forces the camera to process the picture on its own and then convert it from RAW to JPEG. Shooting in raw will allow you to do this processing on your own. In RAW format, you also get to record the greatest levels of brightness. An average JPEG image records 256 level of brightness whereas, in RAW format, it’ll record 4096 to 16384 level of brightness. In terms of bits, Raw will capture 12 to 14 bits whereas JPEG will capture only 8 bits. This makes it easier to adjust the posterization in raw format. You can easily adjust a picture’s white balance, correct the color and other adjustments by shooting in RAW format.

7. Always carry extra accessories

Carry an extra piece of propellers, batteries and other components of your drone. This is to prepare for any emergency. This is also to allow for backups in case of an accident. The air can be unpredictable and you may accidentally crash or damage your drone. This does not have to mean the cancellation of the whole exercise especially after working hard to get to your location. 

To prevent incidents of unforeseen accidents, take photographs in low altitudes. The higher the altitude, the windier it is. Test your drone to learn the best altitude for optimal functioning depending on your location. Learn to fly in manual mode because it gives more control in terms of positioning and the best angles to shoot. While GPS allows your drone to fly autonomously, it is only great for taking off and getting the drone to a predetermined location.

Following the above-named drone, photography tips are important in ensuring that you are successful in taking aerial and wide angle photographs. Drones are helping open new possibilities in the field of photography because of the many opportunities they offer.

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