So you have a fancy drone. You’ve decided that you want to do something cool with it other than spy on neighbors or racing. We’re down with that.
There are a lot better things to do with a drone equipped with camera gear, although the spying aspect continues to pique our interest. But let’s suppose you decide to use that camera gear for the greater good. Okay, now you’ve entered a completely different realm of drone operation as well as photography.
This is no longer the world of point ‘n’ snap photography. This is a world where you can truly make a difference. We’re taking making some money with your drone. But you first need to know how to turn those photos into cold, hard cash.
Here are our top tips for drone photography. Even if you are a beginner, these tips are sure to give you an edge and may even teach you a thing or two about what that camera of yours hovering high above you can actually do.
1 – Get Acquainted With UAV Forecast Websites/Apps
Do you know how you usually zone out when you are gazing at the weather girl on your big screen TV? We get it. She’s a babe, and the wardrobe department must be gearing up for sweeps week. However, the stuff she is telling you is important if you are planning a day at the beach as part of your ‘phone into work sick’ routine.
If you are going to use the day to snap photos or shoot video with your drone, the TV weather chick is not going to be much help to your planning. Instead, you need to get connected to UAV forecast sites. All you do is punch in the location you intend to fly, and you’ll get tons of data that will help you to decide whether or not to venture out at all. It could save you a wasted day in crappy weather.
2 – Don’t Forget To Carry A Few Spare Parts
Just because you are sending your camera a few hundred feet in the air, it doesn’t mean that nothing will happen to it. Trust us, stuff happens. So, one very important thing to pack along with you when you go somewhere for a session of drone photography is a toy box of parts and stuff.
That’s things like spare batteries, an extra camera, an extra drone, extra drone parts, a second console, a sandwich you know, important stuff to get you through the session in case something nasty happens you didn’t expect could happen. In other words, don’t be afraid to prepare for a disaster because when you don’t, that’s the day your drone batteries die, and your drone comes crashing down in the middle of an empty parking lot or into heavy traffic.
3 – High-Quality Filters Will Make Your Photos Pop
Assuming you spent a fairly good coin on a quality drone and a reasonably good camera set up, don’t skimp on filters. That means this is your opportunity to make your drone photos really stand out. That’s a hint. With high-quality filters you’ll be able to enhance certain aspects of the photos taken high above ground level.
Don’t listen to the guys who hashtag everything with #nofilter simply because that’s the easy way out. If you are taking your photos for business purposes or in hopes of selling them to make some spare change, we advise you to use any trick possible to seal the deal. Filters are one of your best tricks. That is particularly true if the drone photography you focus on (pun intended) is landscapes. With the right filtering system in place, you can turn an otherwise nifty aerial photo into a prize-winning shot.
4 – With A Camera In The Air, You Get So Many Different Perspectives
You know that the guy with all the angles usually wins, right? Well, with a drone in the air with a camera strapped to it, you instantly become the one with all the angles. So you better start making use of them. You can do many different things ranging from circling a subject to starting down low and zooming up and over the subject.
You can angle down from above and drop down slowly or just zip past something. The possibilities are endless, and because you get a unique view from above, you will be able to photograph things and places you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to access on foot. This opens many doors to other opportunities like: https://dronesuavreport.com/2019/11/15/15-must-see-drone-fireworks-videos-that-you-will-love/
5 – Try To Find Something That Ties The Subjects In Your Aerial Photos Together
We know. It’s straight outta Photography 101, but it has to be said. Just because you can now shoot photos from high above your head doesn’t mean every photo you shoot is going to be considered a spectacular shot automatically. You still need to pay attention to the composition of that photo. Because you now have access to the friendly skies, you need to take advantage of that unusual vantage point.
This means trying to get your photos to show something other than random landscape or blurry objects. Find perspective and use it. The ‘leading line’ is a good guide, even if you’ve been shooting for years because your ground level shots are a whole different ball game compared to what your drone will be offering you to make use of.
6 – Lighting Is Still An Important Factor In Drone Photography
Here’s a question for you. If you are a studio and outdoor photographer, do you use light kits? If you do, you know how valuable they are in producing the exact look you are trying to achieve where natural lighting or other forms of artificial light tend to fail. Okay, suck. But with a drone hovering high above the ground, where are you going to have your light kits?
Sure, two more drones loaded with lights may sound like a likely – and unpractical – solution but now we’ve said it, someone is likely to give it a try. This is why we suggest you let Mother Nature pitch in for a change. Here’s our lighting tip for you: aim for most of your session to revolve around sunrise and sunset. You already know what that kind of light can do for your ‘normal ground level’ photos. Imagine the way those drone shots will come out with that kind of light.
7 – Keep It Simple And Remember To Have Fun
Uh-huh. We know that’s a fairly easy thing to say, but it happens to be true. Although you’ve packed extra back up gear, scheduled your session around UAV forecasts in the early morning or early evening and are going to try some neat angles from your eye in the sky, once you get all of these steps down it will become easy.
What’s that old saying? Right, Romans haven’t massacred in a day or something like that. It just means that you can’t expect all these new-fangled ideas to just sprout out on the first day. You have to water them a bit, and sooner or later you are going to snap some awesome drone photos without much effort. Or at least that’s the theory behind all of this. Just don’t overthink your plans and enjoy the time you spend outside with your drone.
Learn more: https://uavcoach.com/drone-photography/
Quit Reading This And Get Out There With Your Drone
There is no doubt that we can go on and on about the things you can do with a camera strapped to your drone. Heck, we can even make up a bunch of stuff, but none of it is going to be of any use to you if you don’t actually start playing with your junk.
That didn’t quite sound right. We mean, take your drone gear and your camera gear and create some incredible memories. In fact, as much as photography can be a solo pursuit, snapping shots with your drone is an experience you can share with others. That is if you enjoy the company. If you are one of those who would rather stay in a darkroom developing film and maintaining a corpse grey skin tone, forget we ever mentioned venturing outdoors.
But, if you are one of those digital photographers who relishes interaction with your subjects – and the ones that will actually speak words – then you may have found another great creative outlet that you can share with friends and family.
Unless, of course, the drone you have hidden in the garage is just for your personal use and by personal use, we mean you use it to spy on someone in the neighborhood. That’s cool. At least with a camera on it, you can invade someone’s privacy to the full extent of the law…if that’s your thing.
However, if you are looking for a better way to use your camera-equipped drone, hopefully, we’ve helped with that.
The first thing you should know is that flying a drone is quite easy. I know the first time flying one can make you say “I am never going to get good at this.” Trust me, every task seems impossible at the first try!
Remember, practice makes perfect.
I would advise you to get some piloting practice before you start taking images or recording videos. Give a few days to learn how to move your drone around.
Let’s talk about the basic controls of a drone, shall we?
You control your drone with a transmitting device which is called a controller. Every controller has two joysticks (left and right) through which you steer your drone.
The left joystick is used for controlling altitude and also for moving left and right. The right joystick is used for going forward and backward.
There are two ways of keeping an eye on your drone. You can just simply watch it by following it around, but this isn’t ideal, now is it? The ideal way is to see what your drone is seeing through your mobile screen.
This is done through software that you can install on your phone. Most drone companies provide their own software for these purposes. Companies like DJI and Parrot have a user-friendly interface, and that’s why I recommend beginners to buy their first drone from them.
You should watch some tutorials on how to keep an eye on your drone before you start flying.
One thing that may surprise you is how easy it is to take still images. All you have to do is move your device to the ideal position and take the shot. It really is that simple.
An amateur mistake that beginners keep on making is flying in bad weather. Many people damage their drones or worse lose them due to this very reason. So make sure you fly in clear weather.
You should also watch out for battery life. Always bring your drone back when the battery gets low. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you’re buying one from a major brand like DJI, Parrot, or Yuneec as all of their drones come with a return-to-home feature.
Basically, the return-to-home feature automatically brings your drone back to the starting location when the battery gets low.
These were the essential basics that you should know.
Tips and Techniques
Mastering the art of capturing shots from the right angle takes a ton of practice. You have to learn important movements to develop your skills in this area.
My first tip aims at helping you achieve this very goal.
Once you have learned the basic movements, it is time to take it up a notch!
You need to begin learning how to fly in certain paths. Following are some that will develop your piloting skills:
● Move your drone around in a Triangular Path
● Fly in a Square Path
● Try to fly in a Circular Path — this one’s quite challenging
One thing to notice here is that there isn’t a recommended size for the path you follow.
Ever wondered why your drone sometimes captures a blurry image, even when it is standing still?
This problem occurs due to unbalanced propellers. Every drone has light propellers that assist in lifting it up towards the sky.
So even a slight unbalance in weight distribution disturbs the stability of your drone.
You most likely wouldn’t notice this problem on your own because it is hard to notice the difference.
One sign to look out for is if your drone starts turning slowly.
Fixing the propeller doesn’t require any technical skills. Watch a tutorial or read a guide and you’ll be good to go.
Always Be Fully Prepared
Always plan well for a photography session. Take extra equipment including batteries, propellers, and if you can, take an extra motor as well!
Trust me, these extra components will come in handy.
For example, imagine you’re out in the wild to take that perfect shot you’ve always wanted. You check your drone, and it still has 15 minutes of battery left.
You stroll around for a while with the melody of the nature soothing your soul.
Eventually, you find an ideal location and set your gear up. You have everything in place, and the photo of your dreams is just one click away.
You hit the button harder than you ever have, but suddenly you realize something is amiss…
Your drone just died because you forgot to charge the damned thing!
I can feel the pain in my guts just imagining a situation like that. So don’t be that person and always make sure to prepare before you head out.
The key to any great venture is to plan ahead.
Always Capture Several Images
One mistake that amateur photographers keep on making is they only take a single shot.
If you’re trying to capture an image, whether it be of a rocky mountain, a blue sea, or a green forest — make sure you take several shots.
You can just delete the bad ones and save the ones you like. There’s no harm in capturing several shots of a single area so take as many as you can.
Use Prime Lens
A prime lens is defined as “a lens of fixed focal length.”
Why should you use primes lenses? Because they’re super efficient when you’re flying against wind pressure.
Prime lenses have a wide angle and are small in size. This makes for the perfect combination.
When the wind blows and acts to hinder your drone, that’s when these lenses will prevent your camera from shaking.
Install Useful Apps
Installing apps for photography can really improve your creativity and productivity.
My personal favorite is Google Maps because it’s free and very useful. It is helpful for getting an idea of what the area looks like from above.
It’s something you should do before you begin your photography session.
Many apps are useful for drone photography, but most of them aren’t free. Following is a list of the top 3 premium apps which I prefer over all the rest:
● Airmap, some of its features are geo-fencing, location-based flight, and flight logging.
● Hover, some features included are flight logs, a no-fly zone map, weather data, and flight readiness indicator.
● Kittyhawk, it has some great features like weather forecast, flight conditions, telemetry data, and checklists.
The ideal height for taking an image is quite an extensive debate.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. There isn’t just one! There are many.
It really depends upon the place where you’re taking the picture and what your image will focus on.
For example, a suitable height for selfies would range from 10-100 meters. While for capturing the view of an ocean your drone should be at least a hundred meters above the ground.
Again it really depends upon what you’re trying to capture.
Drones can make your selfies standout!
Using your drone for taking selfies can be both fun and challenging.
I know a way of taking selfies that look great. It’s really easy and effective, just follow these four steps:
1. Go to an empty place where no one is around for at least a few hundred meters.
2. Make sure there aren’t any tall obstacles like trees or buildings around you.
3. Position your drone at a high altitude, 50-100 meters above the ground should do the trick.
4. Now simply take the shot.
This way the focus of the image will be sharply on you.