Photography is one of the most popular hobbies on Earth and, with the seemingly endless beauty that our planet has to offer, it should really come as no surprise. Generally speaking, photographers will spend almost (if not all) of their time taking photographs of the things they love at ground level. However, when it comes to larger shots, taking photographs from the ground poses limitations that cannot be overcome unless taken from the air. As such, the emergence of drones have offered many photographers the means of experimenting with aerial shots. So, if you’re an avid photographer and you’re thinking of expanding your portfolio, then here’s a beginner’s guide to drone photography to get you started.
Selecting A Drone
With plenty of drones available online, it can be difficult to know what you actually need so you should consider how well you can fly a drone and find one that matches your skill. For beginners, sturdier and lighter drones are good starting points, as they’re easier to control and more durable. Two of the most common types of drones to choose from are ones that already come with a built-in camera and ones that you can attach a camera to. Drones that have a built-in camera are typically larger and may not offer the same resolution as a top of the line OSMO Action or a GoPro for example, which may compromise on picture quality. Drones that enable you to attach your own action camera to it are generally more popular, since they’re easier to manage and you only really need to know how to actually fly.
Drones offer a plethora of features to offer the best flying experience and picture quality from the air, so be sure to read up on what’s available to select the ideal drone for you. No matter which drone you choose to buy, though, you should always ensure that you read the instruction manual thoroughly, as this will detail all of your chosen drones features and capabilities – including how to use them to perfect your shot. When looking to fly your drone, make sure that you complete a pre-flight checklist to ensure that you’re flying in good weathering conditions and in a safe area that won’t cause injury or damage. In doing so, it’ll also give you the time to check over your drone’s set up and how you choose to take your shot, whether using a mobile phone to remotely take it or a remote control.
Test Drive & Practice
The only way to get better at anything is to practice, and that’s even more so when it comes to flying a drone. Always test drive your drone without any camera equipment attached first so you can get a feel for its weight and flying ability. Consider the kind of shots you will be taking and research some techniques that will help you to improve your angle and exposure. Once you feel you have control over your drone, attach your camera equipment and go take some photographs so you can start practicing your techniques.
Post Process Photos
Whether you’re planning on editing something out of the shot or just touching the colour up, post-production is essential to make the photographs depth truly stand out. The use of programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom is of vast importance to photography enthusiasts, as it provides them with an expansive selection of tools to edit their shots. Although many believe that taking photographs is simply just clicking a button, there’s just as much care needed in taking the perfect photograph as there is in post-production. However, even if you’re already an advanced photo editor, editing aerial shots can pose other challenges from a lighting and angle perspective.
Finally, there’s hundreds of add ons and equipment options available to improve your control or view of the shot you want to take. Whether it’s propellor guards, LED lights or Smartphone holder, there are plenty of ways for you to customise your drone to achieve the best possible photo.