Drone Photography Tips For All Skill Levels

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Drone photography is the next level for all hobbyists and professionals alike. These devices allow us to capture stunning photos with crisp quality. Whether you have just bought your first drone or you want to take your drone photos to the next level, the following sections provide you with tips to improve your drone photography skills. If you are unsure which drone is best for photography, you can also check out this detailed guide regarding the five best drones for photography in 2021.

Preparation And Planning Tips For Drone Photography

Flying Skills

Before you start taking photos with your drone, you must learn the basics of your gadget, such as how to fly and control it. Depending on the model you choose and your flying skill level, this can be easier or more difficult.

For instance, a hover drone is the most suitable for this task as you do not need to control it at all times. In addition, some models are autonomous, which will improve the quality of your photos without any skill required on your side. This would also make it easy to take selfies.

Make sure you are a good pilot before learning how to take drone photos. If you cannot control your device, the result will not be very satisfying. Start with the basics, such as how to hover, fly, or land your drone. Then, exercise camera panning, changing the angle, rotating the drone, and more.

Research Stage

If you want breathtaking photos, you must thoroughly prepare before going out. Try to plan ahead what type of photos you want. When you use a traditional camera with a few hours of battery life, learning through trial and error is not an issue. However, most drones come with 20-30 minutes only, so you need to make sure you get the photos you want from the first try.

To avoid unwelcome surprises, also check the weather forecast. Some drones come with a waterproof case design, which means that you can still take beautiful photos during rain or snow, but make sure your model is equipped for these conditions to avoid damage.

The wind is perhaps your main enemy when flying your drone outside. Apart from destabilizing the device, wind can also take the drone out of your sight, while a quick rain may damage it beyond repair. At the same time, read the manufacturer’s instructions, so you know exactly what your device can handle, including the wind speed.

Some people use anemometers, a device that measures the speed of the wind. However, it is not recommended because the wind speed at ground level can be much lower than the wind hitting the drone above you. Also, some cheaper drone models cannot handle water at all, so make sure you choose an appropriate model, especially if you have frequent strong winds and rain showers in your area.

Many people start by checking the local UAV forecast. This offers you an insight into what areas are off-limits for you and your aircraft, whether there are any buildings, and other important safety considerations.

Make Checklists

If you pursue drone photography as a career, it is critical to be prepared and well-organized. When planning a long day of photo shooting, there will be different steps you must take to make sure that everything will be smooth. Depending on what you need to do, you should make checklists before and after the shooting session.

Firstly, you need to properly pack all the gear you need to take with you. Also, you can add a note to check the weather forecast, as discussed above, and make sure you have plenty of storage space for all the shoots.

It’s highly recommended to check your drone before leaving, ensuring that it is in good shape. Other recommended actions include charging the batteries, emptying SD cards if you have any, cleaning the camera lens, and any other activity relevant for your drone model and shooting needs.

Drone and Camera Settings

Photo Format

People who use drones for professional purposes always take their photos in RAW format. This is because you can easily process and edit them afterward, while the image data is lossless. At the same time, you can enjoy higher brightness levels and details, so you can edit your photos while they look natural.

Nevertheless, this aspect depends on the drone model. Some drones that come with onboard cameras may allow you to shoot in RAW format, depending on their specifications. However, if you use your own camera, you need to make sure it supports this format.

ISO Settings

Low Light Photo - Drone Photography Tips

High ISO settings are usually chosen when you want to take photos during the night or in a very low-light environment. If this is not the case, you should use the low ISO settings if you want to have sharp photos. Otherwise, there will be lots of noise because drones typically have tiny sensors.

In case you shoot in a shaded area, or there’s wind, you can adjust the quality by opting for a slow shutter speed, somewhere around one-sixth of a second. You can also open the aperture to get in more light.

Taking Advantage of Drone Features

Higher-end models come with very high resolution cameras, so you can easily take clear and crisp photos. However, if you are on a budget, you do not need to compromise on quality. This is why it is essential to know your drone before you start shooting.

For instance, if you need a highly detailed photo but your camera has a limited resolution, you can select the panorama mode. Alternatively, you can take numerous shots while panning the camera, then combine them using editing software to make only one high-quality photo. This technique is also ideal when the area has a legal height limit for your drone, so you can capture a larger area without having to trespass this limit.

Essentially, you can explore your device and try out all of its different options and settings. You may find some that work better for your purposes. For instance, drones usually have two aspect ratios wider than regular cameras, namely 4:3 and 16:9. There is no standard choice here, so you can take photos in both formats and see which one fits your preferences.

Drone Photography Tips for Stunning Photos

Discover Hidden Patterns

When we take photos from the ground level, we often miss the big picture. You can use your drone to discover patterns, such as the beauty of symmetric fields or roads. Ideally, you should explore the area using a bird’s eye view and try to find models, lines, and other stunning elements that can only be captured from above. This will make your drone photography skills truly unique.

Symmetric Fields - Drone Photography Tips

Be Ready for the Unexpected

Even if you do your research, you should be ready for unexpected elements. For instance, it may not be as sunny as the weather forecast suggested, or there are not enough clouds for the type of shot you want.

Use your creativity to capture these elements from a different perspective. For example, if it is too sunny, you can use this to your advantage and capture some interesting shades. These can add an unexpected vibe to your photo. Alternatively, use the beautiful clouds to spot unique patterns. It’s best to use whatever you have to take spontaneous shots – the result might be astonishing, too!

Use A Different Perspective

Try a different perspective - drone photography tips

Many of us may disregard certain elements simply because they do not look too attractive from ground level. But, even if you think there is nothing of interest in a particular area, fly your drone and change the perspective. You will find plenty of opportunities, even though they seem plain when you look at them!

Be Creative with Your Locations

If you take photos for a while, you may quickly run out of inspiration. Instead, use Google search to inspect areas around you and find new locations nearby. You can also shoot private properties or buildings, but make sure you ask for the owner’s permission first.

At the same time, even when you find the right location, drone photography may still be tricky. This is because using a drone to take photos is different compared to shooting from the ground level. You can look for new perspectives and start flipping or changing your drone’s position. As a result, learning how to control your gadget and shoot at different angles will offer you plenty of versatility and benefits in the long term.

You can start with overhead photos, then angled ones. You will be surprised how these techniques will offer different results, even if you take photos of the same subject.

Some more tips to keep your drone photography images diverse and beautiful include:

  • Shooting contrasting colors
  • Finding new patterns or symmetric designs
  • Aerial panoramas, either as one photo or multiple ones to be combined using software
  • Take selfies
  • Find repetitive patterns, such as rows of houses or the same buildings
  • Shoot shadows or the horizon

Drone Photography Tips – Summary

All in all, there are numerous ways to improve your drone photography skills and lots of tips to give. If you are passionate about what you do, it’s important to keep experimenting with your drone. Software editing skills are also a great way to improve all of your shots. Finally, whenever you are ready to go and explore, don’t forget additional batteries – you will have so much fun finding new, beautiful perspectives that the time will fly very quickly!

Jeremiah Burnett

What started as a gift for my two sons turned into a major hobby for me! After playing with my sons' quadcopter one winter afternoon, I quickly became obsessed with all things drone. I enjoy precision flying, creating stunning and smooth aerial videos, and taking beautiful photos of my hometown.

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