Have you always wanted to get your feet wet with photography? One of the best ways to go about it is using a drone camera. By shooting from an aerial perspective, you can get some pretty unique pics.
The problem is learning how to get started with it. It’s a lot different than taking a picture while standing stationary with your traditional camera. If you’re not careful, your expensive device could end up in a tree somewhere.
Once you get the flying down, you have to figure out how to take the perfect shots with the drone. It’s a lot of complicated work! Try out some of these tips to get through the beginner’s stage.
Choosing Your Drone
The first step of drone photography is to choose the best device for your needs. Since you’re new at it, it might be a good idea for you to spring for a ready-to-fly model. As the name suggests, these are ready to go right out of the box without you having to do much assembly.
You may need to charge it for a few hours before you use it, but that’s about it. Most drones either come with a camera or a place where you can put your own.
If you go with a model that already has a camera installed, you’ll have a little more homework to do. You’ll have to look into specs and other features. If you already have a professional-grade camera, you’re better off saving yourself the headache and using that.
You can visit https://www.drdrone.ca/blogs/drone-news-drone-help-blog/drone-buying-guide-2021 to learn more about what to look for in a drone. For now, let’s move on to flying.
Get to Know Your Device
Before you even think about dabbling with actual drone photography, you’re going to need to learn how the device works. While most drones are pretty straightforward to fly around, you still need to practice with them.
If you don’t, you could send your new toy flying straight into a tree. To this end, while you’re still learning, you want to stick to wide-open areas without any obstacles.
Most drones don’t have limits when it comes to how high they can go, so you’ll have to set the boundaries. Try not to go too high until you get the hang of things.
Most drones need to be charged as soon as you take them out of the box. During your wait, take the time to read the instruction manual. You can also lookup YouTube videos.
Respect Your State Laws
Don’t start looking around for photogenic locals until you read up on the state laws. Most places have rules in place when it comes to flying a drone. For instance, you might not be able to send your device up past a certain height.
If you can no longer see your drone, that means that you’ve sent it out too far in most cases. For privacy reasons, you may get in trouble if you fly the device over a group of people. Some states have no-fly zones that you’ll have to respect as well.
Do Your Location Research
Now that you’ve read up on the laws and learned how to fly your drone, you’ll need to find places to snap the perfect pictures. For this purpose, we recommend using Google Earth.
You’ll be able to look at 3D photos of locations to scope out the best photographic spots. Using this technology, you can find out how a place looks from above before you bother flying your drone out.
It will also give you a good idea of what altitude you should send your drone up to and what angles will produce the best results. It’s a super helpful tool!
Keep an Eye on the Weather
If you’re going to make this a hobby, you’re going to need to keep an eye on the weather app on your phone. This isn’t always as straightforward as looking for rain and snow.
You’ll have to wait to go out until the lighting is good for it. Taking your drone out on a windy day is a nightmare. Your pictures will come out blurry because you can’t keep your camera steady long enough to get any quality shots.
Temperature is another important consideration to keep in mind. Cold weather will drain your drone’s battery.
This being said, not all weather conditions are bad for picture taking. You might be able to take some interesting pictures by sending your device out on a foggy day.
Take Advantage of the Aerial Perspective (Within Reason)
By taking pictures with a drone, you get to take advantage of a pretty unique perspective. You can do a lot of cool things from the air.
For example, from a certain height, some park benches look like building ledges. You can have a friend pose, so it looks like they’re jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
We will say that there’s a limit on what you can do. If there are no rules against it, you can send your drone up as high as you want, but that doesn’t mean that you should.
The higher you go, the more of a landscape you’ll capture. Sometimes this will throw off the composition of the shot. The result will be a cluttered mess.
Experiment with the height until you find good middle ground. It may take a couple of tries, but don’t give up!
Use the Rule of Thirds
No matter if you’re using a drone or taking pictures from the ground, you should stay within the rule of thirds. To use this concept, you’ll need to make sure you angle your drone so that your subject is within the left or right third of the photo. This leaves the other thirds open.
This technique will draw the viewer’s eyes to the important parts of the photo. Some drones have a grid setting that makes adhering to the rule of thirds a little easier.
Even with this tool, getting the perfect composition is difficult for beginners. It will take a lot of practice before you get it down to a science.
Panoramas Are Your Friend
The camera in most drones doesn’t have a wide-angle lens. This limitation might stop you from capturing everything that a landscape has to offer because you can’t fit the entire thing within the frame.
Instead of accepting your loss, take a panorama shot. Most drones have a feature that makes pulling off this photo trick easy. All you have to do is press a button.
Using the Right Settings
While it’s true that you can get a lot of crisp images by using your own professional-grade camera, the one built into your drone isn’t so bad. You can get some beautiful shots if you use the right settings.
You’ll need to play around with the ISO and aperture to get a sharp image that contains very little noise. The general rule of thumb is 100 ISO and f/4-f/5.6 aperture.
Most drones have features that will apply filters as well. Feel free to experiment with these so you can add a creative spin to your work.
Shoot for Symmetry
Symmetry is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. While flying around with your drone, look for shapes that you can use to create an interesting mirror image.
This tip isn’t a must, but it does look pretty cool.
Don’t Stress It
The last piece of advice we have for you is to not stress things. You’re flying an expensive piece of equipment through the air. The last thing you want to do is break it while trying to get a killer shot.
We’re here to tell you that most drones come with a return home button. If things start to look hairy, all you have to do is push it to abort the mission.
This won’t save you if the drone gets trapped in a tree, but it helps in most situations. Again, it takes a lot of practice to get good at taking pictures with your drone. Enjoy the learning process and take the time to play around with different shots.
Take the Perfect Shots With Your Drone Camera
Taking amazing pictures with your drone camera can feel a little daunting at first. For beginners, it’s nerve-racking to work with such an expensive device.
That’s why it’s important to not only learn everything you need to know about flying but photography, as well. We hope that you’re able to use the tips that you’ve read here today to have a successful shoot. For more advice on how to work a drone, check out the Tech section of our blog!