If you want to learn how to get started with drone photography then you’re at the right place. Drone photography and videography has made impossible things possible with its abilities to capture the glimpses from above. In this article, we will briefly touch upon drone’s major advantages in various photography niche, how to start them right, and also the effective tips to shoot with the drones. Every concept here is explained in simplified manner so that you can implement the same in the near future. So, let’s get on with the article now.
Why need a drone and what makes it special?
Creative perspectives - You have already seen a picture of a home. But, have you seen them from above? A drone provides a chance to see the various subjects from different perspectives giving a unique feel for you. It makes impossible things possible and also provides a platform to be creative by making you explore new things. You can capture photos from different dimensions, where it was not possible before introducing drones.
The picture was taken from Max Pixel
Real estate photographers would get more beneficial from drone photography as it makes photos look different and create unique feel than traditional real estate photography. More importantly, the surroundings of real estate would be clearly visible when captured from an aerial distance. So, this type of photography can help the home onlookers to exactly know the exterior environment of the real estate. So, as a real estate photographer, never miss your opportunity to explore drone.
When it comes to any type of commercial photography, ensure the photo is effectively edited and each perspective is right. More importantly in real estate, if the sky is cloudy, the environment might not look good. So, you can replace with the beautiful blue sky to make it look better. Also, the color corrections, white-balance, exposure adjustments play an important role for an image to look great. Several photo editing service providers make this kind of corrections and deliver enhanced images to photographers and many other clients.
Better Video Footages - Gimbals in drones makes the videography look thrilling. So, if you have already learned drone photography, it would be helpful in producing exciting videos. For example, if you know drone, you can capture soothing videos of your family travel or of visitors where you make a business out of it. Even in sports events like Football, mountain biking, snowboarding; the drone can take creative videos like never before with different angles and composition.
The drone can replace selfies - You can make use of drone features to capture photos and experience a new way of photography. During family trips or outing with friends, a drone can be helpful to you to capture photos. A drone with wider angled lenses can give better broader scenes which can look better than selfies. So, it is a must to test your experiences with them.
Note: Drones are increasingly becoming popular in various photography fields like weddings, events, real estate, travel, and landscape photography. Hence, if you have not yet started, start learning them right now, and be a tech-savvy photographer.
How to get started with Drones?
People often wonder handling drones can be a complex affair. But, it is not. However, little learning is required in order to get your drone photography started in the right way. So, below mentioned are some important aspects towards drone photography that are explained in simplified ways.
Registration - First of all, you must know the reason why you want to use a drone (Ex, for recreation, commercial use, public safety or any other matters). After knowing what type of drone flier you are, read and understand the drone regulations of your country and also the procedures which you must follow.
In the U.S, the drone which is weighed above 0.55 pounds must be registered and the cost for registration would be $5 and the age of an individual must be at least 13 years old. If not above 13, an authorized adult must register on behalf of the individual. So, each country has a different set of regulations, follow them accordingly, register, and have fun with your drone.
We have mentioned links for a few countries regulation systems for the unmanned aerial vehicle.
Learning to fly - A drone will have a joystick to control it. A joystick contains two controllers; one for directions and other for moving up and down. Initially, start practicing with a toy drone. ‘Harder to control, better you can master with them.’ The main thing about drone is to control and get them at right spots where you intend it to be. So, to accomplish this first, you have to know how to control a drone. Here is the useful demo video by Chadd RainsFPV about ‘learning to fly’ where you can look upon. After practicing with a toy drone, you can get on with a fancy one for your commercial or recreational purposes.
Observe your drone – As said above, initially start flying with a toy or a lesser priced drone. Keep an eye on your drone where it is going. This is just common sense but, it must be remembered although. It can be monitored directly by watching it. But, this works only when it is nearer to you. When you send the drone faraway, you obviously need a smart device attached to the controller for monitoring. Hence, you get to see what exactly the drone is observing. Always keep an eye of it and be concentrated. ‘Good concentration towards screen can get you better views.’ ‘Better handling (controller) skills can make composition better and get you the images as intended.’ So, practice first, then roll on with good fancy drone and make nice revenue of it, if you’re going to be a commercial photographer.
Be cautious about restricted areas – There are certain areas where you’re not allowed to use the drone. So, read the dos and don’ts of your country’s regulations towards areas where unmanned aerial vehicles are not allowed. Be away from getting fined.
B4UFLY is an app which provides details about the restricted areas for drones. There are so several other apps which you can download the most effective one by looking at the reviews. So, please have thorough research about the restricted areas before having a fly.
Tips to shoot with drones
- Always ensure you’re shooting in RAW – Ensure before buying a drone, the RAW feature is available in it. The due reason is RAW format allows you to shoot what exactly you see on the camera. In other terms, it captures each data (Information). So, capturing in RAW set-up enables you to post-process the images effectively.
- Utilize Bracketing – Initially, before buying you need to ensure the drone has an Auto Exposure bracketing (AEB) feature. This allows you to shoot multiple images with different exposures (another term is called High Dynamic Range - HDR). Later, you can combine all the HDR images by using Adobe Photoshop or any other software. Various images are combined by expert photo editors that are shot in different range to make it a single perfectly exposed image, then the final photo retouching is done to make the image more attractive.
- Make use of Filters – During difficult lighting conditions, lens filters play a significant role to control the lights. It favors photographers in different ways. For example, the filter removes unnecessary glares in the images, overpowers the reflections, and also helps to increase the quality of colors. To know more details about different filters, visit Adorama which has been beautifully written by Allen Rokach with Anne Millman.
- Auto Exposure Mode or Manual Mode – Any camera cannot make miracles by exposing everything accurately at the same time. The advantage of Manual mode is that you can set according to you, test them with your customized settings and produce good results. Auto exposure mode works according to the ambient light which is available. For example, light exposure might keep changing when you move the drone to different directions or regions which has varying lightings due to climate conditions, and when you set the camera to Auto exposure mode, it adapts to that light of that region and the settings keep changing accordingly to get good visibility of that particular region’s view. This technique would certainly not be pleasant when you’re capturing a video. It might go good for capturing the photos but certainly not for videos. Therefore, during this situation manual mode can be better to keep your exposure consistent for every view.
- Use Tripod Mode – For making the video feel like a cinematic, set it into tripod mode. This technique is very impactful when you want to capture a glimpse of a real estate, wedding, architecture, or a landscape.
- Always use Lower ISO - Drones have smaller sensors. Hence, do not set your ISO to the higher range which can produce noise while capturing. Try to limit your ISO to 100. Unless you would be shooting at night, there is not in any requirement of increasing the ISO.
- Make use of Rule of Thirds for Composition – As you know, the composition is the most important part of photography. The visual elements in the frame, colors, and the spacing between each element play a significant role in the composition. In drone photography, you don’t get enough time to capture. The present drone capacity limits to fly is around 30 minutes. Hence, it is a must to get the right photo captured at the first approach itself. So, it is good to make use of the rule of thirds for making everything right in one frame.
- Utilize Google Earth and know the best places to capture.
- Look for symmetry and patterns from above. The positive of the drone is that you can explore something which is not seen before.
- When shooting with your drone, you will have various opportunities to play with the lights and shadows. The elements look completely different when you shoot from above. The shadows of buildings, architectures, tree reflections in a river can look blistering. So, seek out for it.
Ultimately, if you accurately follow the procedures to get started with the drone and learn the tips to shoot which are mentioned above, you can lead a successful session in drone photography. Moreover, it is good to post-process the images if you’re a commercial photographer.