Photographers and videographers are always looking for new and creative ways to perfectly capture images. Aerial videography and photography via drones are incredible and every photographer can now enjoy the fun. Following are some tips to help get started with drone photography.
Quadcopters and drones have over the past few years become increasingly popular mainly because they are now more affordable. This provides a level playing field for ambitious videographers and photographers to get angles and quality shots previously unattainable with no helicopter.
The following tips will help you get started with drone photography.
For starters, let’s take a closer look at the drone you’ll be using for your photography or videography. While not advising on purchasing the “baddest” drone available, it’s important to take note of the fact that all drones aren’t equal. There are some drones with cameras available for only £29.24, and others as high as £2192.5.
The cheaper drones might have cameras, but these aren’t the best quality. For instance, a toy drone may allegedly have an HD camera, but the video only comes out with a 640×320 resolution. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend over £2000 to get quality videos and photos from the drone.
Regardless of the drone, you choose to buy, always ensure it has altitude hold, live view camera software, a camera with the capability to shoot “HD resolution” or even higher, and a 3-axis gimbal. The altitude holds allows for the drone to hover around with no user input, making it easier for the users to frame the shoot and at the same time click the shutter.
When To Act
Since you now have the drone, it’s crucial to know when you can go out there and take your shots. Just like ordinary handheld photography, there is no golden hour to take photos. Elegant sunset and sunrise scenes look perfect at the 100-foot altitude. Moreover, shooting on cloudy days vs. sunny days usually offers different rewards and challenges.
On a bright sunny day, you’ll get optimum lighting in your drone’s camera, letting it ‘shine’ as you take the shots. The only challenge is the obstructed viewing of the controller’s in-person view when framing the shot. These drones often use a tablet or mobile phone to offer a clear view of what the drone sees. Essentially, on a sunny day, the tablet is hard to see because of the glare on the device’s screen. Luckily, sunshades can at times help.
On the other hand, shooting on a cloudy day allows for moody videos and images. The only challenge is the noise and high image grain. This could happen because the sensor on the drone’s camera cannot collect sufficient light for the shot.
Whether or not it is a dynamic blue sky with some puffy clouds or a gray sky with a storm approaching, these awesome scenes are without a doubt worth capturing.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t take the drone out if it’s very windy, and even though smaller breezes are okay, you should exercise caution. Lots of wind can shake the drone, making it hard for you to capture steady videos and photos. Beyond your creativity concerns, it’s all about your safety. The wind can make the drone unpredictable and hard to control, which can lead to serious crashes.
Where To Shoot
Where you can shoot largely depends on what you want to capture. Suburbia, lakes, rivers, and mountain scenes can be fascinating options. Always ensure you comply with FAA guidelines for safety and consider the privacy of those around you. For instance, if you’re looking to capture pictures around your neighborhood, you need to consider your neighbor’s safety. Make sure you ask them whether it will be okay to shoot near their home.
Master Camera Controls
Before you go out there and start shooting, ensure you understand the available camera options for the drone. Autel and DJI Robotics offer exclusive camera controls. The 4K recording is a great option to choose, but shooting in 1080p at only 60 FPS can be perfect for a specific scene. For instance, the Autel Starlink app lets you take shots in HDR mode, letting the images pop up with superb color and comprehensive detail.
Monitor The Drone During Flight
Drones are costly pieces of equipment. Therefore, when flying the drone, you’ll want to carefully monitor it and focus on where you want to fly. You can do this by watching the drone or virtually watching the drone on your tablet or smartphone screen. The screen on your controlling device gives you a perfect view of the drone and all-important details. If you’re just getting started, I recommend that you start flying in an open field to reduce the danger of crashing into objects such as trees or houses.
Drone photography: On top of the world. (2016, December 31). BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-38390897
New use for drones: Sports photography. (2012, September 22). CBS News – Breaking news, 24/7 live streaming news & top stories. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-use-for-drones-sports-photography/
Picheta, R. (2020, September 30). Protests, nature and a world in lockdown are captured from above in this year’s drone photo awards. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/drone-photo-awards-winners-scli-intl/index.html