Want to kill it at drone photography? These are Mike’s TOP tips for taking the best photos with your drone.
Taking photos with your drone can be a fun and cost effective way to capture stunning aerial drone photos. Whether you are taking photos for marketing purposes, photos for real estate, capturing an event or any other reason. Here are some of my best tips and tricks for photography with drones.
1. Learn To Fly Your drone.
Before you even think about taking photos, learn to fly your drone so you’re a legit drone pilot. A DJI Mavic Pro 3 will be different to a DJI Mini 4 and then a DJI Inspire 3 will behave even more different, so take time to practice basic manoeuvres and limitations with your drone. Learn how to control altitude, speed, how input on each stick will affect other axes of movement and become familiar with the multiple flight modes. I have crashed enough drones in my time, so you can learn from my mistakes and not make the same one! Eventually flying will become fluid and almost second nature, then you can do your thing and start focusing on photography.
2. Check You Are OK To Fly.
Don’t be a peanut! Check the OK 2 Fly website to make you’re good to fly at your flight location prior putting it in the air so you won't have any nasty surprises. This website will show you any restricted and danger zones, airport locations, obstacles and hazards and no fly zones.
3. Check The Weather.
Check the weather before flying, mate!!! This is vital. Don’t fly in strong wind, heavy rain or extreme weather conditions. UAV Forecast, Windy.com and Willy Weather are a few of the amazing tools I use. Check the wind speed, rain, cloud cover and number of satellites you can expect to lock on to. If it's too windy, you compromise your shots with increased chance of camera shake and movement.
4. Try Different Angles and Composition.
Try different angles and heights. Top down shots, side angle shots and low-angle shots add some depth to your portfolio. I find the lower shots look the best, just out of arms height is where the sweet spot is. Experiment, play around and try something that feels unusual. Angle the camera up so it’s pointing above the horizon at your subject. Don’t just do the same stuff as everyone else. It’s boring! Follow composition principles like the rule of thirds, framing and leading lines to create good looking, balanced photos. Experiment with different kinds of shots. For example, an out of focus object in the foreground can really add that extra something to your image. Get a little lower, a little closer. Be safe of course but sometimes you gotta risk it to get the biscuit.
5. Shoot At Golden Hour.
Golden hour, the sweet spot just before sunset and just after sunrise will give your shots soft warm lighting that can enhance your drone photos. Especially shadows look super impressive from the air, when they stretch out across the land. Shadows can add drama to your shots or they can tell a story of your subject or objects movement. Look for different textures in the landscape.
6. Shoot In RAW.
If your drones camera supports it, shoot in RAW. Assuming you’re flying a DJI drone, the image format will be DNG. DNG files retain more data and provide flexibility in post so you can adjust colours, lighting and details. Use an editing program (more below on editing) to grade your shots and change the feel - try out a black and white filter or turn a daylight shot into dusk.
7. Edit Your Photos:
Post Production is how you’ll edit and enhance your drone photos and make them your own. Add your own creative flair to your shots. Play around with filters. Use editing software to adjust colour, contrast, sharpness, and correct any imperfections. We use a combo of Adobe Lightroom Classic and Adobe Photoshop for photo editing here at Creative Kicks
By following these tips and tricks, you can elevate your drone photography and capture shots that are out of the ordinary and set you apart from the rest.