Drone aerial photography is not as easy as it sounds. Here are the things you need to know to make the best of your drone aerial photos.
Many drone users start with bird’s-eye view photographs from high up in the sky. These dramatic aerial shots are not only breathtaking but offer a completely different perspective on a certain area.
Drone cameras are great, but there is admittedly a lot that can be improved on. After all, remote control photography certainly has a lot of weak points, many of which cannot be fully controlled, thanks to force majeure coming into play.
Here are some principles to live by when it comes to drone photography:
Shoot in RAW format. This allows photographers to correct flaws and colors, thanks to the format giving them the ability to use the full gamut of of post-processing options.
Figure your photo size. Most drones give the option of getting a 16:9 or 4:3 photo size. Although they are technically the same dimensions, many find working with a 16:9 format better to work with. In case of doubt, shooting in both formats would allow for more flexible options post-production.
Make use of the bracketing feature. This feature is particularly common in Phantom drones and serves a couple of purposes, like correcting exposure and creating the HDR copies. Bracketed shots allow the photographer to bring shadows back or improve highlights for better photos.
Shoot in Manual mode. This allows the photographer to choose a range of settings, including low and high ISO, as well as better control of the shutter speed, giving you a better control of how your photographs will turn out.
Find the perfect ISO setting. Most people prefer shooting in the lowest possible ISO setting, as it minimizes photo noise. However, at night, it is not recommended that you go over 3-second exposures, so it is better to increase the ISO to stay in the 3-second range, rather than use longer shutter speeds.
Learn to deal with the environment. Strong winds can be problematic to drones, and even the best ones tend to get shaky up in the air. However, some drones have shutter speeds as long as 8 seconds for better photo capture. As previously mentioned, though, night shots should not exceed 3-second exposures for better results.
Use filters to your advantage. Neutral filters give a more cinematic effect for videos, but on a normal day, neutral density filters are helpful in reducing light that comes in the lens. Polarizing filters, on the other hand, take a lot of adjustments to achieve the right effects but are pretty great once you’ve done so.
Don’t be lazy with post-processing. Sharing unprocessed shots straight out of the camera is lazy. There is always room for improvement for photos, and there are ways to transform them into something even better with the help of the right post-processing software.
Be daring with your angles, panoramas, and exposures. Drones are unique in themselves, as you can literally take photos on the next level. While there are a lot of rules of photography that you can follow, drones give you more room for creativity, which you should take to your advantage.
Know your drone’s technicalities. Make sure you know how to operate your drone, and that its flights are safe and productive. Because of the tendency of drone flyaways due to weather conditions, it may also help if you know how to locate it. This is why many drone owners install GPS tracking devices on their drones to keep them secure despite strong winds and rain.
Many people make the mistake of failing to calibrate drones properly, leading to abnormal reads. Take time to get your drone used to the environment by making it hover for a few minutes before you start taking photos. This way, you get more grasp of your drone and the environment around it. Once it is up in the air, though, mind the wildlife—not only do they need protection, some of them also tend to attack drones to protect their territory.
Bonus tip: Always download your data. Download everything from your memory card right after the flight and back them up if necessary to avoid losing precious footage and material in case of drone emergencies or technical errors.