Drone Photography is one of the latest and fastest-growing photography trends. It brings a whole new perspective to photography. For landscape, architecture, real estate, cityscapes even weddings- drone photography is getting popular.
The drone is a remote-controlled device also known as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Previously it was used in agriculture, scientific or military purposes. But now the range of Drone usage has been increased in other fields. Photography is one of them. You can get two types of drones for photography- one is with a built-in camera and the other one is an externally attached camera- drone.
Drone photography gives you the ultimate freedom of experimental photography. It is fun but you can take it to the professional level. If you are a beginner, there are some essential things that you must know. Here we have gathered the best tips and tricks for you to get a holistic guideline for Drone Photography.
Get prepared for Drone Photography
Before you start drone photography, you need to take a good preparation. First of all, you need to be aware of the UAV laws in your area. If you need a license, get it first. Get a full knowledge of the federal, local, and state drone laws so that you don’t get into any trouble.
After that, make a pre-flight checklist. It will help you to go through all the necessary procedures before flying. Finally, go for some check flights to learn the device better. You will get more ideas on things to check before flying afterward.
Check the weather
Checking the weather before flying the drone is a must. You cannot ignore it for any reason. Whether it is windy or rainy, it is bad for the drone. Also, you may feel the day is not windy at all. But you don’t know what’s happening in the sky. So don’t rely on assumptions. Know the weather properly before doing anything else. You can take help from your local weather forecast. Besides, some apps can help you too.
Time & location
Time and location are other crucial things that you need to consider. If the time is not appropriate, the photography will not be successful. But why is it so important? The main reason behind it is that low light can potentially damage the drone. The guidance system that keeps it going gets disturbed in low light. So the drone may not land safely on the ground. So you need to know the times of sunrise and sunset.
Along with time, the location also needs to be investigated. Scout the locations before going for photography. Investigate the security, the people, and when the perfect time for that particular location is.
Best camera Drone for drone photography
Depending on your goal, you need to choose the best camera drone that will be suitable for your cause. There are two types of drones available in the photography market. The first one comes with a built-in camera. It is typically big in size but often fails to give high-resolution images.
On the contrary, you can go for the ones that do not come with the built-in camera. It is better than the previous one as here you have better control over the camera. Also, for such drones, you only need to learn to fly them.
Understand your drone
Understanding the drone needs to be the foremost priority. Firstly buy a drone that is lightweight and sturdy. Also, before buying the drone, put together your basic needs from the drone. Do you want to fly it too far? Do you want to fly it outdoors or only indoors?
Depending on your requirement, get the best one. Besides, read the manual carefully. It contains all the necessary information and safety rules for the device. So keeping it aside will not serve you anything good.
Take help from apps
You have already known that flying a drone is not so easy for many reasons. You need to be aware of a lot of things. For that, you can take help from different apps. Some apps will allow you to know any location better. In fact, you can learn about the UAV laws of any location through some apps.
Also, you can learn about the sunset and sunrise time along with how much light is there. For all these reasons, taking help from apps is almost inevitable. So install those apps on your phone before starting the photography.
Get some accessories
Using some drone accessories with the camera and the drone can make photography easier. In fact, these accessories help you get good quality photos as well. For example, you can get a hood to protect the camera from harsh sun rays.
Also, there are several landing gear extensions available in the market that prevent the drone from touching the ground. Thus it remains safe from dirt, grass, or mud. Besides, you can go for landing pads, GPS trackers, etc, to make drone photography much more convenient.
For outstanding drone photography, an appropriate camera setting is undeniable. At a glance, you need a high shutter speed to ensure a sharp and clear image. Low shutter speed may end up giving you blurry photos because of the excessive movements. Another important thing is- ISO. High ISO can promise a bright photo but tends to be grainy and noisy. So keep it as low as possible.
Aperture is related to the lights that come into the lens. So if the light is bright, use a narrow aperture. On the other hand, for low light conditions, a wide aperture will be perfect. Along with these, maintain a proper white balance to avoid blue or orange hues.
Go for raw format
For Drone photography, it is always safe o shoot in raw or DNG format. Unlike JPG files, the Raw format allows you to do more with the image. You can apply lots of post-processing steps to this file. Also, they are larger than any JPG files. So you can use the files more conveniently.
For being detailed and flexible for post-processing, it is always recommended to shoot in raw format in drone photography. One last thing- Raw format preserves the resolution well so that you never lose the quality of the image.
What about lighting in Drone Photography?
Drone photography is mostly outdoor photography. So the sunlight is your source of lighting in most cases. We call it natural light. Indeed, natural light is always the best for photography. The reverse can happen as well. If the sunlight is too bright or harsh, the images will be dark and non-flattering.
So you need to know the ‘nature’ of natural lights better. In the morning and evening, the sun is filled with soft light which is super photogenic. Following tricks like this, you can expect the desired drone photography.
Find symmetrical lines
Symmetry means when the photos have two equal sides divided by a vertical or horizontal line. It gives a balanced and harmonious look to the photos. Even if someone doesn’t understand anything about photography, the absence of symmetrical lines seems dissatisfying. That is the symmetrical lines are comforting to the human eyes. In drone Photography, you can find such lines to make your composition better.
Choose different formats
Most photographers shoot their photos in either 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratios. There is no good rule that you must follow. In fact, it is recommended to experiment with both aspect ratios. Basically, the 16:9 aspect means the image will be 78% wider than its length.
On the other hand, the 4:3 aspect ratio means the image is just 33% wider than the length. Among these two, the 16:9 is used more frequently. But to make your photography outstanding, you can try 4:3 ratios as well.
Learn the bracketing
To make it simple- bracketing means taking multiple shots of the same image using different camera settings. Five different types of bracketing are used by the photographers. For drone photography, this technique helps you to reach a new height.
You can experiment with depth of field bracketing and exposure bracketing (AEB) while taking photos of landscape or cityscape. Also, you can create breathtaking HDR images in Photoshop using the Bracketing technique.
Time-lapse photography means taking lots of photos at different times and combining them together to show movements. It is not a new trend in photography by the way. You have already seen it in many places. Anyway, using a Drone, you can create amazing time-lapse photos.
Though time-lapse looks like a video, in reality, that’s only an illusion. You can get the hovering feature in the latest drones that help you in creating the time-lapse. Shooting in manual mode allows having good control over the photography. Finally, you have to go through some post-processing steps to get the awesome time-lapse.
For wedding photography
If you are a wedding photographer and your client wants a little extra, now is the perfect time for the drone. Drone wedding photography definitely gives you extraordinary photos that will impress everyone. Thanks to the peculiar angles and perspectives, it looks eye-catching and appealing.
However, wedding drone photography is in no way a complex process. Following the simple tips, you can be successful in it. Apply some of your creative compositional skills and the result will be amazing. Go for some practice flying before the event so that you get more confidence and success.
Find out contrasts
A well-defined contrast in the image is one of the many fascinating aspects of drone photography. For example- you can take the sea beach for your photography location. Now keep the sand in one part and the water in the other. Thus, you will get an amazing contrast that cannot be caught by the eyes. Similarly, you can experiment with trees, buildings, roads, mountains, etc.
The rule of thirds
The Rule of Third is a popular compositional technique where the frame gets divided into nine equal rectangle shapes. It emphasizes the main subject and makes the photo eye-pleasing. In Drone photography, the rule of third is applicable. In fact, it creates a balanced and professional look. So to take the photography to the next level, you can go for the rule of the third technique.
Use ND filters
To create surrealistic motion blur images, the ND filter helps a lot. It makes the photos more creative and adds a dreamy ambiance. For drone photography, the filter is mostly used to add motion blur even in intense weather conditions. Invest in a good quality ND filter to get a professional look. Using the manual mode, you can easily create the desired look in the drone images.
HDR image by Drone Photography
HDR drone photography gives you outstanding photos that will prove your great photography skill. You only require some easy and extra things to get the incredible shots. On the basic level, HDR or high dynamic range photography exposes the deepest shadows keeping the bright areas intact.
This technique makes landscapes ethereal and breathtakingly beautiful. To make the photos more beautiful, choose the golden hour as your shooting time. Or else, you can shoot in any low light condition because that is another ideal time for HDR.
Drone Photography is ideal for real estate. In fact, it is one of the major fields that drones are suitable for. As real estate photography is mostly for advertising, the photos need to be detailed and wholesome. Here the drones come to play their part.
You require a good-quality drone to do professional real estate photography. You can start with the cheap and gradually develop your skill to invest in the high-end. A clear day is perfect for drone flying when you can get the most amazing view.
Create abstract aerial image
If you love experimenting, abstract aerial photography is going to be your next obsession. It shows a whole new perspective of the regular things that we see every day. As abstract things are not visible, you have to achieve a sense of abstractness through the composition.
Look around and find the texture or pattern that strikes the eyes. Sometimes, an ordinary thing can look different from the high above. Such things help you to get the desired abstract aerial images.
Try the bird’s eye view style
Have you ever wondered how the birds see the world while flying? It may sound silly if you are already acquainted with the term bird’s eye view. Using a drone you can easily get the bird’s eye view style in your images.
It will open a different viewpoint which is not so common to us. For landscape and cityscape, you can try this style. Here you can experiment with different heights to invent your unique way of bird’s eye photography.
Focus on the composition
The composition of the image plays a pretty significant role in making or breaking the photography. That is true for drone photography as well. If the composition does not look well organized, the whole effort is ruined.
So to make the composition better, keep some significant factors in mind. Frame the images accurately so that the photos are visibly more beautiful. You can find the different patterns and use them as a contrast to make a point of view.
Try different level of height
Here is another great trick to make the photos effortlessly brilliant. In fact, it will help you get better images. While flying the drones, keep experimenting with different heights. You will be amazed that how much the composition gets affected by the heights. Keep in mind that there will be a certain restriction on how far away you can go. Other than that, you are good to go with heights.
Go for panorama
For landscapes or cityscapes photography, if you want to include more areas in the image, the panorama is the best option. Normally, drone cameras don’t have that many wide-angle lenses. So choosing the panorama mode can save your day. You can find the built-in panorama function in your drone cameras easily. It is convenient and effortless to use for everyone.
Don’t fly too high
The temptation of flying too high is hard to resist. But we advise you to strictly resist it. Why? When you go too high, you are most likely to lose the connection with the ground. Sound metaphorical? Well, to capture the patterns and real texture of the ground, you need to stay as close to the ground as possible.
Flying high will not bring you better photos. So keep a moderate distance from the ground so that you get the view properly without losing the connection entirely.
To make drone photography more grounded, including some people is the best idea. If you eliminate people altogether from the picture, the locations will look deserted and barren. Also, people are a part of nature. So to keep the photos realistic mindfully, include some people.
That does not mean that you should just ask some people to pose for you. Compose the image in such a way that they look like an integral part.
Use tablet instead of mobile
You are going to thank us later when you will start following this tip. We are telling you to ditch the mobile and switch to a tablet. The reason behind it is pretty predictable. It makes you able to get a better view while flying. So you can decide better what to keep and what to avoid. Also, you can use your phone for other purposes.
Break some rules
Ironically, we are suggesting you break some rules when we are actually giving you ‘rules’. However, following all the rules is a safe game to play. But breaking some of these and creating your own makes you unique and more skilled as a photographer. So follow the basics and never hesitate to modify some of them.
Post processing in Drone Photography
To make the photos even better and completely flawless, the last step is to go through some post-processing. Use suitable tools and features than enhance the quality of the images. Color correction, image manipulation, white balance, etc are some of the things you need to ensure. Along with them, you can try many cool features of the editing software to bring a touch of creativity to the photos.
Before concluding the article, we want to remind you that Drone Photography gets better with practice. Learning some basic tricks and following some tips will give you a proper guideline on how to start and how to proceed. Hope this article proves to be helpful for you on that matter.