Aerial photography offers spectacular views of the world from astonishing perspectives. Until recently, only professional photographers with the means to get airborne could master the technique. Drone photography uses high-flying unmanned cameras to capture topography, cityscapes and fragile landscapes from angles that are otherwise inaccessible.
Now affordable, easy-to-handle drones enable even casual shutterbugs to soar to new heights without racking up frequent-flyer miles. With these tips, get ready to discover hidden scenic wonders and elevate your photography skills to the next level.
Choose Your Drone
You’ll find many drones to choose from, but the model you’ll want to buy should be specifically designed for photographic use. Many photography drones are beginner-friendly, with built-in cameras comparable to DSLR cameras in features and price. If you’re new to piloting small aircraft devices, try a camera drone equipped with pilot-assist functions, stabilizers and simple controls. Some models offer downloadable apps to control the drone and access its photos directly from your smartphone. Lightweight, foldable drones are ideal for experienced travel photographers.
Prepare for Take-off
Before sending your drone into the wild blue yonder, a little preparation will prevent legal and technical challenges during once-in-a-lifetime photo shoots.
Know your local drone laws
Although it looks like a toy, many countries have regulations for small aircraft, and you may need to register your drone with the proper agencies. Also, check your destination for any no-fly zones and protection areas.
Make sure the batteries in your drone and smartphone are fully charged before heading out on a photo shoot. Spare batteries and portable power banks will save the day if you’re traveling in a remote location.
Check the satellite map view
Reviewing your destination in satellite mode can give you a sense of topography and reveal any potential hazards.
Mind the weather
Stay updated on the forecast for conditions that might keep you grounded. Don’t let high winds or humidity impact your drone’s performance and photo quality.
Aerial photography offers endless possibilities for creative compositions on the fly. Take artistic overhead selfies, catch the sunset over suburban rooftops or get a bird’s eye view of your new home for unique housewarming invites. Let your imagination and drone wander.
Aim for fresh angles
Incorporate the horizon for a dynamic landscape by tilting your drone camera 30º or 60º. Shoot in Panoramic mode to capture more of sweeping vistas, towering skyscrapers and winding rivers.
If the novelty of vertical aerial photography hasn’t worn off, play around with patterns and framing for creative compositions of city streets or farmland.
Provide a sense of scale
Include objects like familiar landmarks, animals or people for context and dimension.
Mark the spot
Using a GPS-enabled drone, you’ll be able to return to the same spot to capture the changing landscape over any time span.
Share Your Images
Once you’ve mastered your new technique, impress your loved ones with custom gifts. Print aerial shots of special locations on Canvas or turn seasonal time-lapses into a 12-month Calendar. The sky’s the limit!
What are your drone photography tips? Share with us below in the comments!