There is no question that photography is one of the most beautiful hobbies on the planet. All the essence of a moment, captured in a single image.
Truth is that the best photos are those that have the power to transport you to a specific place, a precious instant, and trigger all your senses bringing the feeling of being present in that moment.
I may be biased, but some of the most inspiring images I’ve seen are those taken with drones. The reason is very simple: If you think the mountains, beaches, oceans, and forests are beautiful, wait until you see them from above; it is, true magnificence.
If you are a photographer in search of that new twist to your style, or simply want to capture different types of images, I really recommend to start thinking about getting a drone for aerial photography.
Some photographers are a bit concerned about flying drones, fearing to crashes or a hard learning curve to dominate these devices, however, you should know that drones are super easy to fly, and some of these come with great features for photographers that don’t want to be concerned about this.
However, if you think you need to first gain a bit of experience flying quads, you’ll be glad to know that there are some cheap drones to help you master this skill, and some of them come with a camera attached, so you can also practice your photography while flying.
Some of the best tips to do drone photography in the right way
If you’ve decided to pull the trigger and start doing aerial photography using drones (very affordable and easy to do), here are some tips for you to get those amazing shots you see online.
Tip #1 – Avoid propellers and shadows
One of the most basic things people ignore about photos taken using drones, is the propellers. These are essential for the drone operation, but if these appear on your photo, the shot may not be the best one, so check before taking the picture that none of the propellers appear as part of the image.
Now, say you avoid the propellers, but you’re not done yet. These propellers can cast an undesirable shadow on your photo subject and ruin the whole thing, so be sure you don’t get these in your images.
Tip #2 – Consider the battery life
Most beginner flyers don’t know that drones have a very limited battery life. We are talking about 5 to 10 minutes of operation in most drones, and probably 20 to 30 minutes of flight time in some of the most advanced devices.
This wouldn’t be an issue if batteries could be recharged in 5 to 10 minutes as well, but in most cases, the charging time range goes from 45 to 120 minutes, and this is true for both cheap and expensive devices.
This is why extra batteries are super important. In the case of the cheap drones these are very affordable as well, but more advanced devices use battery packs that doesn’t come cheap. You should be fine with three of them.
Tip #3 – Invest in a gimbal
A gimbal is an extra piece of equipment that is used to carry the camera while the drone is in operation. The gimbal goes attached to the drone, and it helps to control the camera movement to take more precise shots.
When getting a gimbal make sure to get the one compatible with your drone, since not all fit all models.
Some drones may not be designed to carry a gimbal, since these increase the drone weight and operation will not be optimal. If you’re starting with drones, this may not be required, but for professional photography, a gimbal is a must.
Tip #4 – Don’t fly near objects nor break the rules
In order to do aerial photography with a drone (and capture a great shot) it is best to not fly nearby trees, power lines or buildings, since this may not only ruin your shot, but also can put your drone and others at risk.
If you live in the US, it would be best to follow the FAA guidelines to fly safely. Find about your country regulations and follow those as well.
Tip #5 – Use an FPV Kit
Just like with any camera, your image will be better if you look at what you’re about to capture in your shot. In order to do this, some drones are compatible with your smartphone and send a live image right to it.
However, the best way to do this and make sure you’re taking the best picture, is by using an FPV kit, which essentially is a pair of goggles that will live stream the image right to your eyes. This will hugely improve your sight of the image and its quality will be greatly increased.
Tip #6 – Keep an eye on the weather report
Since this fantastic image will be captured from the air, you need to take additional safety precautions to ensure that you, the drone, and everything around it will be OK.
Most drones can deal with a bit of wind, but may not be safe take this to the extreme. Luckily, there is a very useful free resource that can be used to know if it is a good time to fly or not based on your location.
UAV forecast is a website that provides some very useful information about the weather (and more) conditions, which can help you decide if flying your drone is a good idea or not. Check it out and use it for the good.
Tip #7 – Look for the landing gear
Just as the propellers can either appear or cast a shadow on your image, the landing gear can do the same. The landing gear is essential for the takeoff and landing of the drone, but can mess a bit with your images.
The way to solve this is by making use of the FPV kit and a gimbal, so you can make sure that nothing but the desired subjects appear on your image.
However, there are some times when the landing gear seems to be very large and can’t be removed from your photos. This is when you have to consider getting a new landing gear that fits your drone model but does not interfere with your images.
Most advanced drones come with a landing gear that is already designed to not appear in your photos, but if you happen to have this issue with the quadcopter, it’s good to know there are alternatives to avoid this.
Tip #8 – Take great photos with drones
When you do normal photography, typically your subject is a person or an object that you want it to be highlighted. For this, the trick is to make a bit blurry the background and put all the resolution on this subject.
With drones however, the formula works kind of reverse, since drones can do aerial photography, it is best to take pictures of large images where all the focus goes precisely to the background.
Some of the best photos you’ll take with your drones will be those that give a wide view of all the landscape.
Practice doing this and you’ll see a great difference in your aerial photography.
Tip #9 – Look for great shapes from the air
Now that you know how to take great pictures with your drone. It is a good idea to start looking for some uniform and not so uniform shapes with a very unique perspective from the air.
For instance, some structures have a beautiful symmetry when seen from the air, that is not even expected when seen from the ground.
Nature as well offers patterns that may or may not be symmetric, but are definitely worth of seeing from the sky.
Tip #10 – Take different angles of your image
Another key advantage you have with drones is the camera mobility. Which allows you to take different angles of a single image.
Sometimes just a small twist on the image angle makes all the difference in the photo. However, in order for you to do this right, it is necessary to have the right gear, which makes me go back to both the gimbal and FPV kit.
Bonus Tip – Night photography!
Lighting is very important in photography, and that is also the case for aerial photography as well. While you may think that night photography is hard to do with drones, you’ll be surprised to know that there are many lighting accessories available, to help you take great images at night.
If night vision camera kits is what you are looking for, these can also be found with some very cool features, including UHD, for less than $100 dollars.
What to do next?
Hopefully you found great tips to either improve or get you started with drone photography. These are just a handful of things to consider, but as you progress, more and more things will be added to your checklist.
Also, drop us a line here with your thoughts about this post and let us know how this works for you.
Last but not least, push the social buttons on this page to share this information with others and let them know about this list of tips to take photos with drones.
Till the next time.
About the author
Jose Lozano is the owner, reviewer, and chief editor at https://www.rchobbiesonair.com. He enjoys learning and sharing insight about RC gadgets to help others make informed decision when buying Drones, RC Helicopters and RC Airplanes.