Aerial photography with drones can elevate your photography skills to new heights. Here are some valuable tips to enhance and improve your drone photography:
Step 1: Scout the Location before Shooting Before taking flight, it’s crucial to scout the location and be aware of any restrictions, such as airports or other no-fly zones. Regardless of the size or weight of your drone, ensure you fly within the legal boundaries. I recommend utilizing resources like OpenSky, which provides comprehensive information on where you can and cannot fly, along with detailed explanations.
Knowing the location in advance saves time and helps you find the right direction effortlessly. If you’re using a first-person perspective (FPV) setup, consider downloading Google Maps and activating satellite mode to identify points of interest. This allows you to start envisioning your shots even before leaving home.
Another useful tool is online forums or photo posts where you can discover hotspots or seek inspiration for the best photography locations near you.
Once you’ve identified interesting spots, fly your drone over each location to explore the angles and perspectives that yield the best results. Don’t get attached to a single spot. Take your time to look around carefully because it’s easier to miss something than to recreate it.
Step 2: Embrace the Beauty of Nature Capture the captivating designs and vibrant colors found in the landscape. Look for strong color contrasts or striking lines that help create visually appealing compositions. These elements are often abundant in rural areas, such as fields, beaches, or parks.
For instance, in the image below by MannyDream, notice how the color transition between water and ice splits the frame, directing the viewer’s attention to the small figure amidst the waves.
While capturing nature’s beauty, always maintain a safe distance when flying your drone near people. It can be distracting, especially when they are engaged in outdoor activities. Respect their privacy and ensure their safety.
Another excellent example, found on ifreestock, is a photograph by Marcinjozwiak. Aerial Photography
It showcases how the road’s perspective determines the composition. The wider side of the road receives brighter sunlight, creating an intriguing contrast with the forest. Hello!
Step 3: Perfect Timing is Everything Timing plays a vital role in capturing stunning aerial photographs. Consider the movement and dynamics of the subject you’re photographing. In the beach photo below by MannyDream, observe how the receding waves reveal multiple layers on the beach, exposing the vibrant orange sand that is typically hidden beneath the waves. Your initial shots may not be perfect (unless you’re a legend), so don’t hesitate to experiment until you achieve the desired results.
Additionally, take into account the position of the sun when planning your photo shoot. Sunlight can be your ally or adversary. In the photo created by MannyDream, a typical sunset scene was captured by researching the sunset time and location on Google. Arrive at the location approximately an hour before sunset and wait for the golden hour to capture the best photos. As the light fades, the magic continues.
Step 4: Optimize Camera Settings Amidst various discussions and opinions among photographers, shooting in RAW format consistently delivers better results, especially when it comes to drone photography. Capturing images in RAW allows you to extract maximum colors and perform detailed post-processing. This is particularly important when shooting under challenging lighting conditions, such as bright sunlight. Shooting in RAW format saves you time and provides more flexibility in the editing process. Aerial Photography
Try to use the highest possible ISO without introducing excessive noise. Drones typically have small sensors (ranging from 1/2.3 to 1 cm), so increasing the ISO can quickly lead to unwanted noise in your images.
Unless you’re in a windy area or photographing stationary subjects, avoid using a shutter speed slower than 1/100