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Guest Post: Drone Photography Tutorial - How to Take Killer Photos

Joshua Nadel
21st November 2018

No matter how good you think you are, purchasing a drone to take pictures with unlocks a new world. There are so many creative ways you can use your drone, and even a master of photography will be challenged. Here are a few steps to get you on your way to creating some of the most killer photos imaginable.

Purchasing Your Drone

Drones are not a luxury item anymore. You can find a drone for a fair price. Heck, some drones go for under £100 these days. The kind of drone you’ll want to purchase can depend on what you want. Are you a newbie who wants something affordable? Though my endless search, I found the Best drone for the money and  you’ll be impressed when you see whats its capable of. but be prepared to invest at least £500.

Flying the Drone

You cannot take good pictures until you learn how to fly your drone well enough. Some drones are easier to fly than others, but for the most part, drones do have easy modes, VR tutorials, and other beginner features to get you started.

And, of course, always make sure it’s registered and you follow the rules. Okay? Here we go with our tips.

Check the Weather

It’s hard to get good pictures when the sun is always shining in front of your lens, or if the wind won’t stop making your drone wobble. Check the weather regularly when you’re about to fly. There are websites you can go to that will give you an overview concerning the flying conditions and whether or not today is a good day to fly or not.

Stitch Together Some Photos

If you want to take a picture of a wide landscape, you may want to consider smaller photos rather than one giant picture. Drone cameras tend to lack the high megapixels of other cameras. You can attach a DSLR to a drone, but if you’re unable to do so, take some smaller pictures that are high resolution, and then piece them together. Think of your vision as a puzzle, and you need to be the one who collects the pieces.

Look for Something That Sticks Out and Emphasize It

Landscape photography is beautiful. However, it’s just a series of trees and other landmarks that get dull after a while. You need to find something that stick out. Sometimes, it can be a landmark, and other times it can be a uniquely colored car, a bird, or something else.

One you find that subject, why not emphasize it? Put it in the rule of thirds as you would with any photo. Once you do that, try editing it to stick out more.

Look at Something Through All Angles

Something that doesn’t look interesting on the ground may end up looking eye-catching whenever you look at it at a higher level. Fly your drone even if you feel like there isn’t anything interesting. You may be able to find a sight that looks good. Chances are, you can be able to take a dull object and give it new life. This can even include yourself. Everyone looks different from a unique angle.

Use Manual Mode if You Can

Manual mode is important for any pro photographer, but when it comes to drone photography, you especially need to take control of the camera. When your ISO is too high, it can create noise. This applies to ground level as well, but drone cameras especially suffer. What you want to do is try shooting at a high shutter speed and try to keep the ISO at 100. This allows you to get the best photo as possible. Experiment with different settings to see which photo ends up the best.

Try ATTI Mode

This mode is what happens when the drone doesn’t have a GPS signal. If you’re flying your drone normally, this can be a bit shocking, as you don’t want to lose your drone. Make sure you’re aware of this when you fly.

With that said, the good thing about ATTI, or altitude, mode is that it will stabilize the drone and remain on the same altitude. This can help you take some better pictures. Just make sure your drone isn’t in any danger as you’re flying it.

Avoid Cropping

When you shoot using a regular DSLR, you don’t have to worry too much about cropping. When you crop, you’ll still have a great photo. However, things can be different when you’re shooting with a drone photo. Cropping can break down the photo and make it lose pixels. Some apps can show you the thirds grid, helping you get the shot right the first time.

As you probably know, the thirds grid can help you maintain the rule of thirds, allowing you to take the most eye catching photos. Use it to your advantage and you can create some beautiful photos.

Give Google Maps a Try

Ah, Google Maps. We use it to help find our way to our destination, and some drone flyers use it as a valuable source of inspiration. It shows you an aerial view of the map, and this can give you some good ideas for shooting. You can look for odd locations, weird places near you, and various other ways to get the best shot. Other apps that show everything from an aerial view are also good for inspiration.

Ask Permission to Shoot on Private Land

You find a cool location that may look amazing from above. However, it’s privately owned. Be it a business, a farm, or a house, you don’t want to fly it around without someone’s consent. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from asking and seeing if the owner wants some pics.

There are many people who would love for you to take some photos of their business or house using a drone. In fact, some people may pay you for doing so. With that said, make sure the consent is shared, and fly legally. Don’t fly the drone into some place you can’t. While most people know what is public and what is private, sometimes you need to double check and ask permission if you’re able to.

Try Using a DSLR if You Can

Some people just aren’t satisfied with their drone camera, and for a good reason. Often, it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Instead, it takes photos that look good, but don’t have that killer look to them. What is a photographer to do?

One thing they can do is attach a DSLR to their drone. In order to do so, you need to have a gimbal. Gimbals usually carry the camera the drone already has, but you’ll need another in order for your drone to carry it. This can also weigh your drone down, which could affect the battery life. Be mindful of your battery if you’re shooting with DSLR.

You’ll also need a device that can help you see the feed from your DSLR if you want to take photos without being blind. Not to mention, you’ll have to set the focal length before you fly, as you probably can’t change it.

This is recommended for advanced drone flyers. If your drone camera isn’t working well, and you don’t want to upgrade, get yourself the ability to carry other cameras with you. You will be glad that you did, and you can carry the camera sky-high.

Travel!

Honestly, the best way you can take drone photos is to get out of your box. Taking photos at your local area is great and all, but to be able to take the best photos that you can, you need to get out there and travel. Don’t be afraid to get your boots a little dirty. Explore the woods, and make sure your drone isn’t caught up in the trees. Travel to a city and take some photos there, provided you stay within in the guidelines.

Life is too short not to travel, especially if you have a drone.

The Best Experience is Self-Learned

Honestly, one of the best tips we can give you is to get out there and take some photos yourself. Every drone and camera is different, and every photographer has their own style. There are guidelines and tips you can follow, sure, but more often than not, you’re the one who has complete control of your vision. Take some photos, get some feedback, and master your craft. Learn how to take some great drone photos and then upgrade your drone down the road. Whether you take pics for fun or want to make a career out of this, you can be able to make it work. And these are some of the best drone tips for taking killer photos. Of course, everyone has their own tips. What are yours? Are there any we missed? Tell us in the comments below. We want to hear what you have to say about this issue.