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.
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.
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.
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.
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