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7 Tips for Creating Stunning Drone Photography

7 Tips for Creating Stunning Drone Photography

Drone photography can be amazing. The maneuverability of a personal drone can get you above the scene, capturing an event or a gorgeous panorama in a way that traditional photography can’t match. Not only that, but the fisheye perspective that most drone cameras produce creates an open feeling – perfect for landscapes, real estate photography, and much more.

Whether you’re a professional looking for a streamlined look in your photography or a hobbyist just starting out, these 7 tips are sure to help.

1. Try FPV mode.

Some drones offer a First Person View mode, which lets you see exactly what your drone’s camera is pointing at. FPV can give you a much-needed sense of perspective when you’re standing on the ground. The technique also gives you the advantage of framing your shots as you take them and can deliver great long-ranged results.

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Drones with FPV will connect to your smart device and relay the image via Wi-Fi, usually up to a range of around 300m.

2. Use a gimbal.

Gimbals are stabilizer systems that connect the drone to the camera, providing shake-free shots. Nothing ruins a great shot like camera blur, and gimbals prevent muddy shots and the dreaded “jello effect.”

Drones equipped with gimbals will shoot stable photos and footage even in turbulent weather or during rapid drone movement. While they don’t come cheap, having one is a must if you are serious about aerial photography – though you could also make your own.

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3. Rebalance your propellers.

Balanced propellers will make your drone fly and hover more smoothly, which in turn will result in better footage and photos. To balance the propellers, remove the propellers and then carefully reattach them, testing to see if the propeller stays horizontal.

4. Shoot from higher up.

While your instinct might be to move closer to your subject, try doing the opposite for a better view. The wide angle of the drone’s camera lens will create shots with more of the subject in frame. The further you are, the more your drone camera picks up, and the better your end results will be.

Getting that perfect panorama is much easier when you put more space between the drone and the ground.

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5. Keep an eye out on the weather.

Weather can affect everything in drone photography, from the way the sunlight looks to the way your drone will handle in the air. On overcast days, shadows will be softer and the natural sunlight will diffuse, giving you a flat light to work with. If you have no cloud cover, expect hard shadows and bright highlights in your photographs.

Research what weather situation will work best with your subject, and plan ahead to make sure your shooting schedule matches the weather forecast. Sometimes a bright, sunny day will give you the best end result; other times an overcast sky will be better.

6. Know what time of day is best.

Similarly, the time of day will affect your aerial photos. Early morning light provides long, softer shadows and a calmer mood — and if you’re lucky, the morning sunlight will filter through haze or fog for a beautiful effect. Late morning and early afternoon light can give you an evenly lit subject with enough brightness to get all the detail you need.

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Noontime light is often avoided for the traditional photographer due to the harsh light, but drone photography can actually benefit from it – the top-down angle of the sun will minimize shadows and maximize visibility. Sunset and dusk will give you warm light that can create a powerful mood.

7. Keep on shooting.

The trick to all photography, including drone photography, is to keep taking photos. The very act of shooting can give you new ideas, and often you’ll be more willing to experiment as you shoot the scene more thoroughly. Try moving your drone to a different angle or altitude – either way, time invested in taking more photos will pay off.

Drones are the upcoming innovating technology to embrace. They give us opportunities to see the world in ways we’ve never seen before and then share those views with others.

Have you used your drone to take photos? What tips would you suggest? Comment and let us know.

Featured photo credit: Small Drone via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

We are all about doing things faster and better around here at Lifehack. And part of doing things faster and better is having a solid personal productivity system that you use on a daily basis.

This system can be just about anything that helps you get through your mountain of projects or tasks, and helps you get closer to your goals in life. Whether it’s paper or pixels, it doesn’t really matter. But, since you are reading Lifehack I have to assume that pixels and technological devices are an important part of your workflow.

“Personal Productivity System” defined

A personal productivity system (at least the definition that this article will use) is a set of workflows and tools that allow an individual to optimally get their work done.

Workflows can be how you import and handle your photos from your camera, how you write and create blog posts, how you deploy compiled code to a server, etc.

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Tools are the things like planners, todo managers, calendars, development environments, applications, etc.

When automation is bad

You may be thinking that the more that we automate our systems, the more we will get done. This is mostly the case, but there is one very big “gotcha” when it comes to automation of anything.

Automation is a bad thing for your personal productivity system when you don’t inherently understand the process of something.

Let’s take paying your bills for example. This may seem very obvious, but if you can’t stick to a monthly budget and have trouble finding the money to make payments on time, then automating your bill payment every month is completely useless and can be dangerous for your personal finances.

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Another example is using a productivity tool to “tell you” what tasks are important and what to do next. If you haven’t taken a step back and figured out just how your productivity systems should work together, this type of automation will likely keep you from getting things done.

You can only automate something in your personal productivity system that have managed for a while. If you try to automate things that aren’t managed well already, you will probably feel a bit out of control and have a greater sense of overwhelm.

Another thing to remember is that some things should always be done by yourself, like responding to important emails and communicating with others. Automating these things can show your coworkers and colleagues that you don’t care enough to communicate yourself.

When automation is good

On the other hand, automation is a great thing for your personal productivity system when you understand the process of something and can then automatically get the steps done. When you know how to manage something effectively and understand the step-by-step process of a portion of your system, it’s probably a great time to automate it.

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I have several workflows that I have introduced in the last year that takes some of the “mindless” work from me so I can be more creative and not have to worry about the details of something.

On my Mac I use a combination of Automator workflows, TextExpander snippets, and now Keyboard Maestro shortcuts to do things like automatically touch-up photos imported from my iPhone 4S or open all the apps and websites needed for a weekly meeting to the forefront of my desktop by typing a few keys. Once you open yourself up to automating a few of your processes, you start to see other pieces of your system that can benefit from automation.

Once again; none of this works unless you understand your processes and know what tools you can use to get them done automatically.

The three steps to determine if something is “ripe” for automation

If your workflow passes these three steps, then automate away, baby:

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  1. You can do this process in your sleep and it doesn’t require your full, if any form of attention. It can (and has been) managed in some form prior to automating it.
  2. The process is time consuming.
  3. The process doesn’t require “human finesse” (ie. communicating and responding to something personally)

Automating your personal productivity systems can be a great for you in the long run if you are careful and mindful of what you are doing. You first need to understand the processes that you are trying to automate before automating them though. Don’t get stuck in thinking that anything and everything should be automated in your life, because it probably shouldn’t.

Pick and choose these processes wisely and you’ll find the ones that take up most of your time to be the best ones to automate. What have you automated in your personal productivity system?

Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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