Are you looking to capture unique aerial photos that leave your audience is awe? Just popping your drone up will not be enough. The ability to create incredible drone photos is a craft. If you want to capture the best, implementing these 10 tips will help you on your journey.
However, it takes more than just knowing these strategies. You will not get the results you are hoping for without the most important step. Practice, practice, and practice some more. The only way you will begin to create incredible drone photos is to practice. Although, if you put the work in you will be shooting like a pro in no time.
How to Produce Stunning Drone Photography
The bet drone photos do not occur by chance. If you want to start taking your drone photography to the next level, than you need to take some time to develop a strategy to improve. These 9 tips are designed to take you from novice to pro.
However, you must dedicate the time to actually make this transformation. Put in the time and you will start taking impressive drone photos.
1. The Best Drone Settings to Create Incredible Photos
There are a few drone settings you are going to want to look at.These drone settings are for the popular DJI drones. Each drone will be slightly different. However, for all drones you are going to want to shoot in manual, know the difference between JPEG and RAW, decide on the color grading, look at your style, and set your white balance.
First, always shoot in manual mode. The control over the image will provide your best strategy for improving your photos.
RAW vs. JPEG
The next setting to look at is your image type. If you plan to post-process your images make sure to shoot in RAW. Otherwise, leave your images in JPEG. There is also an option to shoot in both. However, this will fill your memory card much quicker.
Another key point to consider is color. For example, the Mavic Air 2 has normal or D-Cinelike. Normal is intended for anyone who does not want to edit. While D-Cinelike shoots more flat. The footage will have a larger dynamic range and is set perfect for post-edit. After all you will have more flexibility to choose your desired exposure, color, and contrast.
The sharpness, saturation, and contrast can be changed on the Mavic Pro. The Mavic Air does not allow this option.
Next, choose the style of your shot. If you plan to post-edit:
Sharpness +1 | Contrast -3 | Saturation -2
If you want the image straight from the camera:
Sharpness +1 | Contrast -1 | Saturation 0
Last, you have the white balance. The white balance is highly dependent on the lighting conditions. There are two options: auto and manual. Manual allows for you to adjust on the Kelvin Scale depending on conditions. The white balance adjusts the color temperature of your photo. The goal is to create neutral color whites, rather than appearing blue or orange.
2. Composition Generates Impressive Drone Photos
Symmetry is always pleasing to the eye. A drone allows for you to get up into the sky and view the landscape in a completely different manner.
Leading or Dividing Lines
These lines are great for drawing your viewer’s attention. With a road, frame your shot to use the lines. These lines could go in any angle. Play around and see what creates the best image.
Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds involves shooting your subject in either the left or right third. The remaining two thirds of the image is left more open.
Photography guidelines assist to improve your photos. However, always challenge these rules. These are just a starting point for ideas when planning your shots. Quite often, straying from these will create a totally unique shot.
Be brave with capturing your drone shots. In fact, the ones who take the most risks will create the most incredible drone shots.
3. Use Exposure to Create the Perfect Drone Shot
Lighting is everything with your photos. The time of day matters. In fact, the blue and golden hours are the best parts of the day to shoot. This is just before and after sunrise and sunset.
Another tip is to adjust the direction or camera angle to allow the best amount of light into your shoot.
Use ND filters during the brightest hours of the day. ND filters are small lens that act as sunglasses for your camera. ND filters allow for much better shots when shooting in bright conditions. Play around with different ND filters. The brightest part of the day with require the highest filter.
4. Use Contrast to Your Advantage
Contrast in your photos will help your subject pop from the background. One way to create contrast is through color. This can be done by shooting bright and dark objects together, or by using complementary colors.
Complementary colors that are directly opposite of one another on the color wheel. These colors create high contrast, which are quite pleasing to the eye. For example, blue and orange are high contrast. Yellow and green are low contrast.
5. Capture the Most Unique Aspect of Each Location
After popping your drone into the sky, take some time to search for patterns and strong shapes. These will set your image apart. Although, another option is to do your homework prior to heading to your location on Google Earth. A small amount of time searching a location ahead of time can go a long way.
A drone lets you appreciate the uniqueness of a place. Whether it be patterns, angles, or lighting. A drone allows for you to get a completely different perspective when compared to your handheld camera. After all, take advantage of your drone by creating a one of a kind photo.
6. Angling Your Drone Produces Stunning Photos
Be open to the changing your perspective. Play around with the camera angle when you pop it up into the sky. The angle of your camera can have a huge impact on the quality of your photos.
One special shot is the bird’s eye point of view. Since drones are able to fly directly above your subject, use it to your advantage. A bird’s eye view is a photo otherwise unachievable. This type of image is created when you shoot directly down on your subject. A straight down perspective will give a completely different look to every photo.
However, keep in mind to try out a bunch of different angles. Sometimes, a slightly different camera angle is all it takes to turn a decent photo into an incredible one.
7. Using Different Settings to Create Vivid Drone Photos
The Mavic Air 2 has many different photo settings built into the drone. As a matter of fact, you can use all of the following features like smartphoto, the 48 MP shot, and panoramas.
With this in mind, let us start with the smartphoto. The smartphoto combines two features: HDR and hyperlight. The HDR feature works with shooting at several different exposures to keep more detail when shooting in strong light. Thus, significantly improving the dynamic range of the image. Now, the hyperlight feature works great with weak lighting conditions. The hyperlight feature optimizes the photo by reducing noise and enhancing the clarity in dark areas.
Additionally, there is a 48MP photo choice. The greater megapixels are great for capturing more detail from the sky. However, this option can introduce more noise into your picture. So, always take a combination of normal photos with all your 48MP photos.
The last option is to create panoramas. A panorama is a great way to capture a wide landscape on a drone. The panoramas have the HDR feature to keep a higher dynamic range and colors that are vivid.
8. Always Bring Spare Batteries
Extra batteries are a requirement. You are going to need a few to get that perfect shot. For example, the Mavic Air 2 battery last up to 34 minutes. However, keep in mind this is in ideal conditions. The addition of wind, low temperature, and if the battery did not just come off the charger can impact this time significantly. Thus, make sure to have a few in your bag to get your ideal photo.
In fact, when at a new location it will take additional battery life just to get the right composition. A little searching can drain your battery before you know it. The key decision to pack multiple batteries can prevent the disappointment from missing your shot.
Check out The Ultimate Packing List for Travel Photographers for more packing suggestions.
9. Arrive Early to Create Incredible Drone Photos
New locations require extra time. The search for the right place for take-off, to the perfect composition, cuts in to your timeline. The worst case scenario is to miss an amazing sunset shot by minutes. A few extra minutes can make all the difference with setting up your perfect shot.
The key takeaway is unexpected events occur. The simple scramble in the dark to find the right trail can set you back enough to miss the ideal lighting conditions. Planning for the unexpected can go a long way with never missing the chance to create an incredible drone photo. A little prep can make a tremendous difference.
10. Practice and Knowledge Leads to Creating Incredible Drone Photos!
Knowledge is power. The same applies when trying to create incredible drone photos. In fact, learning your drone inside and out should be your first task. Do not overlook learning about your drone. When you are too eager just to get out and fly, you miss the opportunity to capture the full potential of your drone. These drones have so many different features that are so easy to miss.
The ability to maximize all of the different aspects of your drone will help your create better photos. This happens by taking the time to become familiar. You will be thankful you took the time to understand everything on your drone. Especially, when you are out on an adventure and only have a split second to get that perfect shot. The ability to think quick because you know your equipment can go a long way.
With this in mind, knowledge is useless without practice. Occasionally, leave some time to take your drone out to fly while in a safe environment. A large open field is perfect. Practice creating different shots here. This way you become more comfortable with flying, while hazards are not present.
A lot of factors have the potential to create problems. Weather, tight spaces, difficult take-offs, and creating unique photos will all require you to be on your game. As a drone pilot, you must be ready to adapt your flying to the space around you. The value of practice while in your backyard can lead to safe and successful flying.
With some initial upfront work, you will create incredible drone photos on a regular basis. It will become easy for you. Practice flying, master your composition, and fix your drone settings to start captivating landscapes like the pros.