Are you a photographer who loves traveling? Well, adventure photography is your niche. The mix of people and stunning landscapes is the perfect combination to create some incredible photos. However, it can be hard at the beginning. These are the 30 best adventure photography tips to get you on track to creating stunning travel photos.
The people, exotic locations, and thrilling activities are just a few of the reasons to start capturing these crazy moments. Every travel destination has a unique charm. Adventure photography takes more gear, time, and precision than other types to master. So, if you are ready to up your photography game, you must take some time to prepare. Adventure photography takes time to learn.
A camera is only as good as the photographer behind the lens. Once you know the basics of your camera, it is time to dive deeper into creating stunning travel photos. Use these adventure photography tips to improve your travel pictures on your next trip!
What is Adventure Photography?
Adventure photography focuses on capturing extreme activities in exotic locations. Dramatic landscapes, aerial views, and extreme sports are all part of adventure photography. Extreme activities range from skydiving to backcountry skiing.
Adventure photography requires a much different skill set than other areas. First, the photographer has to enjoy being outdoors, usually participates in the activity, and can handle risk for getting the right shot.
Many difficulties are present in this field of photography. Harsh weather, early mornings, and lugging camera gear up mountains can be quite a challenge. However, these are all worth it for the incredible views and photos!
30 Adventure Photography Tips
The following tips are perfect to start your journey to becoming an adventure travel photographer. The tips are broken into five categories to help you stay organized. Everything from your before you leave, to after you get back. First, let’s start with some tips to help your planning part of adventure.
Adventure Photography Tips: Pre-Trip Checklist
1. Adventure Travel Photography Requires Research of Your Destination Prior to Arrival
Capturing the right picture requires knowing your destination. When at home, you should begin to create a list of possible locations to shoot. These destinations include the top spots for sunrise or sunset, vantage points, and the local landmarks.
Browse the internet before leaving for your adventure. The use of blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, and travel guides. All of these sources can provide the top areas. Use as many as you can to get a complete picture of the location. If possible, you should try to talk to someone who has been there before. Also, you can reach out to other photographers through social media for suggestions.
Read as much as you can. Always be thinking about photography opportunities. The best list is one mixed of famous locations and hidden gems.
On your list of locations include directions, best time of day for lighting, what time an attraction opens, or how much time it will take to reach a specific vantage point. The creation of a plan is usually helpful when traveling. Best transportation there and how long will it take? Does your location require specific gear to get to? Do you have to get physical? Best time to shoot at that location?
2. Find Unique Shooting Locations
Famous locations are great to have, but start searching for more unique spots. Do not only head after the same picture you have seen a thousand times! It is okay to grab a few but never only seek the shooting locations everyone else does.
The worst part of shooting travel photography is arriving at a stunning location to photograph an epic sunrise with twenty other photographers. Sometimes all it takes is an extra 10-minute walk down the path to capture a shot completely unique.
And if unavoidable, just shooting the subject from a slightly different angle. Your shooting angle and foreground are crucial to capturing the right image. It can make all the difference. Remember, get creative and think outside of the box. Do what you have never seen before.
3. Dedicate Time to Adventure Travel Photography
The right image usually does not just come by chance. You have to be willing to work for it. Laziness will lead you to the same pictures as every other travel photographer. The last thing you want is to have the same boring photo as everyone else.
You must set aside time for your travel photography. It takes a solid commitment to creating amazing photos. Your trip will be filled with early mornings, long days, and grueling treks.
Travel photography is not easy. Keep this in mind when planning trips with others. Many will not understand the amount of time you must dedicate to capture incredible photos. Never let this take away from your mission!
4. Always Buy Camera Insurance For Adventure Photography
Here is a huge adventure photography tip: get insurance. Gear is expensive. Anything can happen out in the wild. Cameras get dropped, stolen, and soaked in moisture with the elements.
Whether you are traveling by air, sea, or land, unfortunately gear gets stolen while traveling. Always pay attention to your gear. Expensive gear should never leave your side. Discrete bags and hiding your camera in dangerous locations is a must.
However, gear does still break and get stolen. Register your products and keep receipts organized to speed up any insurance claims. For tracking stolen gear, use the serial numbers with this system to track down your stolen camera.
5. Back Up Your Travel Photos in Multiple Places
Pictures need to be organized and in multiple areas for safe keeping. Technology is not always reliable. Especially when you account for the extreme weather you will experience as an adventure photographer. You never want to lose all of your photos because you only had them saved in one spot.
If you do not want to lose all of your footage you must backup your photos as you go on your trip. There are several different options: online cloud storage, external hard drive, or dual memory cards. The key is for organization.
In fact, you should be able to easily locate all of your photos. Otherwise, you could spend countless hours searching for a particular image, or worse never finding it again. Organization will help you backup your photos like a pro.
Adventure Photography Tips: Camera Gear
6. Get A Travel Bag That Can Fit All of Your Gear
Elements can create a huge challenge with camera gear. Adventure photography requires a compact, durable, and waterproof backpack. A bag that keeps everything securely packed away and dry.
The worst is to lug around several bags. You need one bag that fits all your essentials. This is one of the best purchases you will make for adventure photography. The 35 – 42L McKinnon Camera Bag is perfect for every adventure.
7. A Light and Compact Tripod
A travel tripod is the perfect addition to your gear to avoid blurry shots. It is a requirement to get the most out of your camera. Tripods can be a life saver for low light, long exposure shots, better photos of yourself, and night photography.
If you want to capture better travel photos, then a lightweight and durable tripod is a must.
8. You need ND filters
A neutral density (ND) filter is placed over the lens to reduce the amount of light entering the camera. ND filters work as sunglasses for your lens. Thus, you can shoot at slower shutter speeds, in brighter conditions, without overexposing your photos. However, just make sure to have a tripod if slowing down too much to avoid blurry photos.
ND filters are a crucial piece of camera gear that should be in every travel photographer’s bag. An absolute must if you are planning to take any pictures during the brightest hours of the day.
ND filters can create incredible effects to your images at any time during the day. These are a must for creating unique travel photos. A 10-stop ND filter will work great as a travel photographer.
Investing in a solid set of neutral density filters is one of the best ways to upgrade your adventure photography instantly.
9. Get a DRONE!
Aerial views are awesome. Drones allow for some impressive shots, otherwise impossible to obtain. The unique angles can completely change the aesthetics of your photo.
Different compositions are able to tell a creative story. Remember, photography is all about telling your own story. A drone is a great way to capture a location in a new manner.
You can easily learn to fly a drone. So, do not let that stop you from adding this piece of equipment to your list of gear. Also, make sure to get your FAA Part 107 license for commercial use.
Adventure Photography Tips: Camera Settings
10. Shoot in RAW
If you plan to edit your images, you must shoot in RAW. A RAW image is minimally processed and uncompressed. RAW images keep all the necessary data for maximizing your post-processing edits on your computer.
Otherwise, you are able to shoot in JPEG if you do not plan to edit. A JPEG is a compressed file, much smaller, that is easy to take from in camera without the editing process. However, you compromise on quality when shooting JPEG over RAW. But if you do not plan to edit than JPEG is the way to go.
It is okay to start shooting in JPEG. As you become more comfortable in your photography, you can always switch over to shooting in RAW.
11. Always Shoot in Manual Mode
You can shoot in AUTO or MANUAL mode. Auto mode is great for beginners. The camera will be in control of the settings. However, it will significantly limit your ability to create a spectacular image.
If you want to take your adventure photography up a level than you must shoot on manual mode. With this mode you are able to control a variety of settings on your camera. You should be proficient with ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. If you want to take the best images, you must understand the relationship between the three.
ISO is the artificial light added into an image. ISO must be kept as low as possible to reduce the amount of noise in the photo. Noise causes graininess in the image. The normal range of ISO is 100 to 3200. As you continue to climb upward, the image becomes too noisy.
Next, aperture is the amount of light entering the camera. Low apertures allow the most light into the image. Additionally, the lower apertures cause blurring of the background to create a depth of field, or bokeh.
The last major control is the shutter speed. The shutter speed is in control of adding light to the image, as well as creating a dramatic effect to motion. Fast shutter speeds are required for capturing quick movement. On the other hand, slow shutter speeds are used to create motion blur, like when shooting waterfalls.
12. Shoot with Your Edit Style in Mind
Always take your pictures with your edit style in mind. The best way to produce the image you want is to do as much as you can within your camera.
As you get more into adventure photography, you will begin to acquire your own style. For example, you could enjoy a light and airy look, or more of a dark and moody vibe.
The difference between styles will require you to change the way you shoot your subject from the beginning. If you like a dark and moody look, you will have to underexpose all your photos while taking them.
Keep your end goal in mind. This will require a different group of settings to get the aesthetics of the image you are wanting to create. The creation of the image you have in mind is best done in camera at the time of shooting. There is only so much that can be done on Lightroom, or any other editing software.
13. Choose Your Foreground, Subject, and Background Carefully
The subject, background, and foreground need to be properly placed into your photo. In terms of landscapes, make sure to take the picture at the right angle and distance to avoid cutting off certain portions of the subject. The worst part of a photo is to miss a portion of your subject, or background by accident.
Additionally, you can add a little foreground into your image. A small amount of leaves, or a little bit of rocks, directly in front of you can add depth to your image. Always be thinking about changing the combination of the three to create a unique perspective to your photography.
Another key point is to think about the purpose of the photo. Always try to leave some buffer room if you are planning to share your photos on social media. Different social medias have their own ideal dimensions. Additionally, if you are editing your photo and you realize the mountain is not straight, than this could cut off a portion when trying to fix it.
14. Strategies to Create Beautiful Composition
Always shoot from different angles to get the right image. Several composition ideas to put in your photos include leading lines, rule of thirds, and the right foreground into your photography. However, these are just suggestions. The best part of adventure photography is that it is an art. So, always be open to finding your inner creativity.
Use what is in your environment: roads, bridges, rivers, and trails are perfect for leading lines. Leading lines help to direct your viewer’s attention to the subject of the photo, whether it is a mountain or your travel partner.
Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds help for you to create balance in your photo. First, break down your picture into thirds, horizontally and vertically. The breakdown helps to place your subject.
Adding grid lines and a center point to your camera screen are other adventure photography tips to upgrade your composition. These boxes will help with placing your subject, and keeping the picture straight.
Foreground can add depth of field, color, and contrast to your image. A powerful foreground has the ability to add a creative touch to your background. It is not always about just the background. For example, if shooting a mountain range, try to add a colorful flower to the mix. The use of different foregrounds can create an incredible amount of contrast and 3-dimensional feel.
You do not always need to just take a picture straight on. Try getting low, or climbing up a nearby structure to shoot towards the subject in a different way. Drones are also a great addition for creative aerial shots.
15. Take a Mix of Far, Mid, and Close-up Shots
When taking travel photos, make sure to include a variety of shots. Never settle for your first idea. In fact, you could decide a different type of shot fits the image so much better than you initially thought.
The best way to tell the story of the trip is to capture everything from a close-up of your friend’s face to the wide shots of an entire mountain range. All of the different shots help to tell your story.
A variety of distances can completely change your photography. Often, small details are missed when traveling. Thinking about a range of shots could spark a new creative twist to your travel photography. Capturing the beauty of a location involves a mixture of close, mid, and wide shots.
Adventure Photography Tips: While on Your Trip
16. Always Bring Your Camera
Prepare for the unexpected. You never know what opportunity will arise. Even when you think you will not use it, it is still better to have it on you. Being ready for anything will pay off.
Always be ready to capture a special moment. You may stumble across an incredible travel photo opportunity when you least expect it. The best way to create stunning photos is to always be ready for them.
Additionally, keep your camera accessible. If it is hard to take your camera out of your bag, than you are less likely to go through the effort. This can be very common when out hiking, or doing anything active. Make it as easy as possible.
17. Fill Your Memory Card
Do not worry about filling up your memory cards. Your goal should be to take as many photos as you can. After all, it is very easy to delete bad photos. However, you cannot go back to take more photos. Although it may be annoying to have more photos to go through, not taking enough can lead to missing the perfect shot.
18. Always Tell a Story With Adventure Photography
Telling a captivating story is one of the best adventure photography tips to create stunning photos. A great photo can share the emotions of an experience.
Storytelling grabs the attention of the viewer. Unlike just a simple image, a story inspires people and makes them feel emotion. While it can be a challenge to create these moments, it can have a powerful impact. As a result, you begin to connect on a deeper level with your audience.
With this in mind, leave some room in your photos for the viewer to ask questions to themselves. For example, lead your audience into wanting to know more about your photo. This will lead to more interest in your photography and is a great way to set yourself apart as a travel photographer.
19. Get Lost Off the Beaten Path
The best part of adventure photography is to capture your own version of a destination. Yes, some photos at the popular spots are acceptable. However, the real magic happens when you search for the undiscovered locations.
Make sure to explore. Is that not why you love to adventure anyways?
Getting lost off the beaten path on purpose is something everyone should be doing. Just pick a direction and start. If you really want to discover the true culture of a foreign place than you need to observe the locals. The locals will show you the hidden gems of any location, where few tourists often visit.
Skip the crowds and discover what lies underneath the hype. You will be thankful you took the time to discover something new.
20. Capture All Parts of Your Journey
Adventure photography tips include capturing images from your entire journey. You should never forget about the small moments. Often, you are so excited to reach your destination that you forget about the story leading up to it.
Your audience loves to see the “behind the scenes” action that lead to reaching an incredible landscape. Make sure to photograph all parts. The mix of the small moments, emotion, and difficulty all are just as important as a beautiful as a beautiful landscape.
What may seem uneventful can add a ton to your overall story. When you look back, you will be very happy you paid attention to documenting everything.
21. Timing is Essential to Specific Shots
Sunrise and sunset are great lighting opportunities for adventure travel photographers. However, other times throughout the day provide opportunity to create an incredible photo. It all depends on your subject.
For example, the mid-morning brighter sun is great for popping the blue in Caribbean waters, or reducing the dark shadows from an aerial shot of a tropical rain forest. Always be thinking about your subject and what lighting situation would be ideal.
Timing is essential for creating the most stunning travel photos.
22. Make Sure to Wake Up Early and Stay Out Late
Sunrise and sunset are typically the best times of the day for adventure photography. The mood, location, and weather will determine which is best for you.
The time before sunrise and after sunset is called the blue hour. The colors are cool, usually a mix of blue and purple. And the time after sunrise and before sunset is the golden hour. At this time the colors are warm and the shadows are filled with soft light. Once you start shooting during these times you will find it hard to take photos at any other time of the day.
Which do you prefer? Light is everything for great photography.
Either way, the real tip for adventure photography is to wake up early and stay out late. These ideal shooting times will make for some long days. However, you will definitely not regret this time spent to improve your adventure travel photos.
23. Get Ready the Night Before for Sunrise Shoots
Timing is everything. You need to make a plan. Sunrise shoots will lead to some of the best pictures on your trip. However, if you are not ready and plan accordingly, it is easy to miss out.
Sunrise photography, especially when in a remote location, will take some time to reach the perfect spot. Everything from directions to packing your bag should be done the night before.
When waking up, you will be ready to walk right out the door. You will never miss a sunrise shoot again. Instead of being rushed, you will have all your gear neatly packed, directions ready, and extra time for an occasional wrong turn. Another adventure photography tip is to always check your batteries.
24. Get to Popular Attractions Right at Opening
Popular attractions will be busy. If you want a great photo you must plan to arrive prior to the other tourists. Surprisingly, many people avoid waking up early. You miss the chance to have all the popular locations to yourself.
A little extra effort can make all the difference with your travel photography. Do what others do not want to do. You will be rewarded for your efforts. Arriving at popular locations at the time of opening can drastically cut down on the crowds.
25. Take Pictures of the Locals While Traveling
Photographing locals is often missed by adventure travel photographers. It can be intimidating to ask while on your trip. However, you should start doing this whenever you are in a foreign country.
Just break the ice to ease your way into photographing the locals. The best way is to start with a hello and strike up a conversation. Try asking them questions about the local area. Or check out some of their art work and hand-made goods. There are so many opportunities to make a friend. Many locals love to get to know tourists.
Prior to your trip, you can research the local language. Locals appreciate the effort. Either way, many locals are very welcoming to photographers. In addition, you can always tip them for their involvement, or find some way to help them out as a thank you.
The worst scenario is that they say no. Then, just thank them for their time and move on. Rejection is not too bad. It becomes much easier the more you ask.
26. Respect Other Photographers
Many photographers take their work super serious. As you should too! However, you must be friendly and respect the work of other photographers in your environment.
Do not be the adventure photographer that no one else wants to work with. Adventure photography is a great community to be a part of. Make sure to do your part to make it an enjoyable place.
Treat other photographers the way you would like to be treated. It is very simple. Share popular destinations, practice patience, and be aware of everyone’s shot around you.
Adventure Photography Tips: Invest in Your Skills
27. You Must Be Patient to Master Adventure Photography
Get used to being patient now. Adventure photography is all about timing and being in the right place. Weather, difficult locations, and distance can all make capturing the perfect shot time consuming.
Slow down and become aware of your surroundings. It is about looking around to find the right spot to shoot your subject when out on an adventure.
Small details can completely change your picture. Lighting, subjects, and the landscape can change quickly, so you must always be ready to get that 5-star photo. Patience is the king to creating stunning photos!
28. Expertise is More Important Than Camera Gear
Master your skills first. It does not matter how fancy your camera is if you do not know the fundamentals. In fact, you can have the best gear on the planet but that will not make your photography any better.
Expertise, skills, creativity, and dedication far outweigh the type of camera. If you really want to improve your photos, then make an investment in your photography skills. It will help more than the type of gear you have.
There is a time and place for expensive camera gear. Once you have the experience and knowledge, you can slowly start to upgrade your gear. This is because you reach a plateau. Only once you reach this time should you consider spending more money on your camera equipment. Otherwise, it will make no difference. Expensive cameras are great when trying to push the boundaries of photography. However, you must be patient, dedicated, and work hard to reach that level.
29. Re-Invest in Your Photography Skills
Consider taking an online photography course. You can never learn too much. So, investing in a course, or constantly seeking to learn new skills is a necessity for creating stunning travel images.
Always seek out to challenge yourself. There are so many different photography niches and a ton of information to learn. You can always use tips from another travel photographer. The more niches of photography you challenge yourself to learn, the more resourceful you become as an adventure photographer.
Additionally, go out and practice on a regular basis. It is hard to expect to create perfect images if you only use your camera when you travel.
30. Improve Your Editing Skills
Now you have learned how to take amazing adventure photos. You already use an editing software, like Lightroom, to edit all your travel pictures. The best way to keep improving your photos is to invest in your editing skills.
There are several ways to improve. You could start by watching some videos on Youtube to learn about more tools and advanced edit techniques. However, it can become overwhelming as there are so many skills to learn.
A higher level course could be the perfect answer to take your editing skills to the next level. However, do your research and find a course that suits your needs.
Post-processing is a crucial part to your photography. In fact, having great editing skills is more important than the camera gear you use. It can boost your photos from decent to exceptional with the right skills.
Time to Use These 30 Adventure Photography Tips For Your Next Adventure
These adventure photography tips are geared towards helping you improve your travel photos on your next trip. When traveling, documenting your trip should be a priority. You must practice and take a lot of photos to get the perfect shot. After all, taking stunning travel photos does take time and discipline.
Remember to tell a unique and captivating story that leaves your audience wanting more. Head off the normal path and go beyond what others have done before. Additionally, always be open to trying something new. The art of creating stunning travel photos requires you to be different.
Adventure photography is incredible. In fact, you are creating lasting memories for the rest of your life and telling a personal story of your journey. All these adventure photography tips will help you create stunning photos for you to share with everyone around you! After all, if you are ready to put in the work than you will succeed.
Are you looking to take your videos to the next level? The answer is to add some killer drone shots into the mix. The art to master just a few different drone shots can leave you with the ability to create high quality videos.
Your instinct as a new drone pilot is to just pop the drone up and spin in circles. A 360-degree view is awesome but not a great option to add to your videos. The hard part is figuring out what kind of shots will actually look good.
Learning to fly your drone takes time and practice. However, once you have the basics down, check out these strategies to create the best aerial footage. A combination of manual and preset shots can leave you with a blueprint for success. This article can be applied to any drone; however, the automatic preset shots are specific to the DJI Mavic Air 2.
How to Create Killer Drone Shots?
First off, when you pop your drone up in the sky always do a 360-degree view to know where all your stationary hazards are in your location. You want to make sure you thoroughly know your surroundings before you get carried away with getting the perfect shot.
Additionally, check the altitude of all other objects in the area. When you fly at a certain level, you should know everything in the area that could become a problem.
However, keep in mind there are many hazards changing throughout your entire flight. For example, weather or birds can become a problem quickly. So, always pay attention and have a visual observer. It can save you a drone, broken properly, or worse, injuring another person.
Movement of Your Drone
Here are the basics to know before you even pop the drone up in the air.
Fly Through Your Shot
Ideally, you will want to make sure to start and end your flight well outside of your intended clip. Do not cut your footage too early or start late. You always can trim your videos when you are editing. But you cannot add more footage.
This practice is referred to as flying through your shot. With more available clip, you will have room to make better adjustments during your edit. Additionally, when manually flying the drone, this allows for you to get a smoother flow with steady movement during your intended clip.
Consistent and Steady Movement
The key is to keep the gimbal movement consistent. Any jerk will provide less than ideal footage. A small movement while flying will turn out to be a problem when viewing on your screen. It takes time to develop the muscle memory for slow and constant speed while flying. Therefore, practice is important.
Additionally, be careful with speed. Some shots work well with flying quickly, while others require a much slower approach. Cinematic drone shots of landscapes require slow and consistent movement. It can be a challenge. However, you are able to adjust the speed of your camera movement and can shoot in tripod mode to stay slow and steady. In your settings, you can adjust the speed of your gimbal movement. Slowing down the movement, along with practice, will help you create flawless cinematic drone shots.
Use these techniques to create better videos:
Avoid jerky movement
Fly close to natural objects
Add speed to your video clips
Do not overuse drone videos
Start With These 4 Movements
At the beginning it is important to learn the movements of a drone. Once you get the drone in the air, practice moving in all different directions. It is important to be able to smoothly fly forward, backwards, up, down, and a combination of those while moving the pitch of the camera.
The key to changing any type of direction is to do it slowly. Slow and consistent movement prevent any skipping within your drone videos.
For the Mavic Air 2, there are several different modes for camera controls. You have the option to create a custom mode. Either way, become very familiar with all movements. For example, some locations you will not have room for even a small error.
The Basics for Better Drone Videos
Prior to take-off, perform your preflight checklist.
Practice taking off out of your hand. This will be helpful down the road when you are in more difficult take-off locations.
Get used to the drone movements. Remember, all controls are opposite when flying towards you. Yes, it may seem straight forward. However, it takes practice to get used to this change of controls.
There are two joysticks. These control your movement: forward, backwards, left, right, up, and down. Depending on your mode these will all be different. However, familiarize yourself, so you can quickly move the drone in the right direction when needed.
The back left button controls the gimbal pitch.Get comfortable with controlling all three together to take some killer drone shots. Practice flying forward away from you. At the same time slowly change the pitch of the camera. The key is to practice moving both joysticks at the same time with slow and consistent movement.
Now, switch it up and fly the drone towards you. All controls work the opposite as before. It takes some practice to get used to the change of controls.
Now change the altitude. The drone will fly differently when heading higher into the sky. Keep in mind wind can drastically change from the ground to 400 feet in the sky. Play around with your drone to get used to the different movement.
Once you become comfortable with the movement of the drone in a straight line, now it is time to add some changes in direction. Start flying forward and gradually move the drone to the left. The key is to change the direction slowly to prevent any skipping in your video.
Direction changing is important when following trails, roads, or rivers. You just want a slight change in direction so that your footage gradually changes direction. Quick movements will not look good when editing your footage.
At first, avoid waiting for the battery to get extremely low. This can create more pressure to land very quickly, which at the beginning can lead to mistakes.
Another key point, practice landing your drone in your hand. Landing on the ground can kick up moisture and dirt into your drone. The best practice to landing your drone is to backup towards you.This way all of your controls are the same as the movement on your remote. Otherwise, your controls will be opposite. Typically, this method is super helpful when on a moving boat or around water trying to land the drone.
Manual Drone Shots For Stunning Videos
Once you feel comfortable with the basics, it is time to add some more advanced drone shots.
Fly Straight or Backwards
This is a simple shot where you just point the camera straight out into the distance. All you must do is fly the drone. These shots can work great when compressing a long flight into a short period of time.
The Forward Reveal
Start with your camera pitch pointed at the ground. Slowly start flying forward while lifting the pitch. This drone shot is perfect for revealing dramatic landscapes.
The Backwards Reveal
Again, another option similar to the forward reveal. Start flying backwards with the pitch of the camera facing the ground. Slowly raise the pitch to showcase the landscape as you continue to fly backwards.
Start with the camera looking straight up at the sky. As you move forward, slowly bring the pitch of the camera down towards the ground.
The Upward Movement
Start with a forward reveal. As your drone approaches a subject in the distance, such as a group of trees or a building, slowly release the pitch. Gradually, fly the drone upward over the object to reveal the landscape in the distance. Continue to fly your drone showcasing the landscape past the object you flew over. Additionally, flying tight between objects, like trees, can look great as you begin to bring the drone upward.
Bird’s Eye View
The awesome part of having a drone is to get high in the sky and shot straight downward. It is a unique perspective. First, you are going to pick an altitude up to 400 feet. Then, you are going to fly left, right, forward, or backwards across your landscape.
Start with the drone right in front and facing your subject. Slowly begin to fly the drone upward and backwards. As you get going, slowly add a slight upward motion to your gimbal pitch.
The Fly Down
Start high up in the sky and slowly bring the drone to the ground. If you have a subject in the shot, make sure to plan where they will end up in the frame as you fly closer to them.
Quick Fly Across
Start with the drone facing the direction you want to fly. Slowly and consistently accelerate just above the ground. Move quickly to obtain a blurring effect.
Automatic Settings to Create Killer Drone Shots
The circle moves in a 360-degree view around the subject. You are able to set the distance from the subject to get close-up or distant shots. This shot works well with actually viewing what your subject is doing.
The helix starts close to your subject and gradually moves farther in a circular and upward motion. The shot works well to show the subject up close before revealing the entire landscape.
These shots start just above your subject. The dronie slowly pans up and outward. This is a great shot when you want to show yourself and your entire background.
The rocket starts just above you and flies straight upward. This is a great shot to show the landscape surrounding you, such as you being on a secluded beach from a bird’s eye view.
The boomerang gives a 360-degree view with an accelerated curve. The drone starts and ends close to you resembling the movement of a boomerang. The drone flies out away from you in a circular motion. Once at the farthest position the drone returns back to you.
The asteroid starts off the same way as the rocket. It shoots straight up and away from you as the subject. Except, when at the farthest away it shows your surroundings and the earth together in a 3D-globe.
Start with the drone the exact distance and location you want away from yourself. Put the drone into one of the follow modes: follow mode or active track. These shots can be from behind or parallel to your subject.
Hyperlapses are used to speed up time. You are able to create a time-lapse video. These are perfect for condensing a long flight into a short clip.
You have control over the altitude and pitch of the camera.
Select a series of points that the drone moves between.
Circles around the selected object.
Select an object and direction.
Head Out and Start Taking Killer Drone Shots!
The creation of killer drone shots will take time to master. The more you head out and practice, the better. You will be surprised with how quickly you can improve your drone videography skills. After all, practice is the key to success with drones.
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.
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.
So, you decided to get away last minute for the weekend? You are super excited for your trip. However, the last challenge you want to face is packing all of your belongings. The best way to prepare for a last minute trip is to have your packing list all ready! Try out this packing list designed specifically for travel photographers.
Last minute packing does not have to be a complicated task. When you have your packing list designed for any trip you take, just check off the items and head out. It is as simple as that for any trip. Of course, taking the time beforehand, saves you a ton of agony on all of your adventures. So, why would you not?
The hard part is to narrow down your packing list to the essentials. However, you will be so happy when you have all the right items and none of the excess weighing you down. Too much and you will quickly regret your strategy. Remember, you need much less than you think you do.
The key is to pack the right amount. You do not want to forget an important piece of gear, but you definitely should not pack your entire bedroom. Check out this packing list to make getting ready for a last-minute trip easy. Throw everything into your backpack and get ready for an adventure.
Basic Weekend Adventure Getaway Packing List for Travel Photographers
Following is a basic outline of the items you need for a typical getaway. Of course, if you plan to do any specific outdoor activity, then plan to adjust the gear list. Thus, customize your specific packing list to fit your exact needs.
A backpack or duffel bag
Water bottle and filtration system
Phone with charger
Laptop with charger, external hard drives
Headlamp with spare batteries
Remember, a headlamp is essential as you will be venturing out in the dark. The best shooting times will require you to start before the sunrise and end after the sunset. Do not get stuck out there in the dark.
If you are a travel photographer, you will walk quite a bit. A comfortable pair of shoes is crucial. The rest of your clothing will be highly dependent on your traveling style and your planned itinerary. Here are the basics to get started with on any trip:
Underwear (2 pairs)
Socks (2 pairs)
Dressier Shirt (1)
Shorts (1-2, depending on season)
Base Layers (top and bottoms)
Jacket (light and compact)
2 pairs of footwear
Accessories: hat, belt, sunglasses, scarf
Make sure to only bring the essential toiletries. It is easy to grab everything from your bathroom closet. However, most likely you will be by some type of store if you really need an item you leave behind. Only bring what you normally use everyday and cannot go without.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Hair gel or spray
Make-up and accessories
Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
Camera Gear Packing List
The easiest way to travel with camera gear is with a backpack. The ability to carry all your gear together is incredibly efficient and easy. Lugging around multiple camera bags is no fun. Honestly, you will probably end up leaving some behind as it gets difficult. One bag allows you all the flexibility to capture all your shots no matter where you are.
Another key point when thinking about camera gear is weather. Water can create a huge challenge. Expensive camera gear must be protected when traveling to all of the different landscapes. In fact, when selecting a camera bag always make sure it is water resistant. Additionally, the use of dry bags can add extra protection and peace of mind.
Following is a basic list of all your camera gear essentials to shoot stunning travel photos and videos.
Camera with Charger
16 mm: great for wide landscape shots
35 mm: perfect for portrait shots
70 – 200 mm: a great zoom lens for various adventure photography
Lens Cleaning Kit
Extra Memory Card
Depending on your camera, some having a timer mode built right in so this would not be needed.
Having your camera on your backpack is a must. Accessibility will encourage you to take more photos. The more you take the better your chance to capturing that perfect shot. Not to mention, the worst is having to take off your pack the entire day to grab a shot. Also, who knows what amazing sight you may miss because you were too slow.
How to Pack Everything?
Camera gear can be hard to pack and become heavy. However, if you are a photographer, you know that you are willing to leave behind clothes before leaving behind part of your camera gear.
Therefore, it is so important to have one single camera bag for all your gear. Otherwise, it becomes a nightmare unpacking each time to get the perfect shot. In addition, multiple camera bags often get neglected and could easily get stolen.
Organization is huge when it comes to fitting all your gear in one bag. Packing cubes are great for organization. With a variety of sizes, all your clothing and random gear can be packed neatly.
Always have insurance on your camera gear. Travel photography will put you in the elements and in some rough situations. The peace of mind of having your gear protected is important.
A broken camera is a bummer. However, a broken camera with no insurance will leave you with a hefty bill to replace.
You will definitely not regret having insurance. An accidental drop is likely to happen over time. Just plan ahead and get yourself covered prior to leaving for your first adventure.
What to Leave Off Your Packing List for Travel Photographers?
Avoid the mistake of packing everything! While it can be tempting, limit yourself to the essentials. A heavy pack while traveling is the worst. Ultimately, the least amount of gear you can get away with is best while traveling.
However, you will want to make sure you have all the right gear to create incredible landscapes and portraits while on your trip. Pack only the items you use daily while shooting at home. You will be happy you left those extra pounds at home.
Additionally, always be familiar with all your equipment. Whether new, or just not comfortable yet, fumbling around to get equipment working in a new environment is a pain. Typically, you will get frustrated and not even use the gear anyways. So, just leave it at home.
The best advice is to only bring gear you thoroughly know how to operate. So, avoid that last minute gimbal purchase or drone accessory. A trip is not the place to learn a new piece of equipment.
Phone Apps to Help While With Travel Photography
Maps.me is a great addition to google maps for reaching destinations when offline or without service.
AllTrails is an app designed to track your location and progress while hiking.
Weather app to check for sunrise/sunset times and best shooting windows for weather.
Lightroom Mobile, or any other editing software.
Your Bags Are Packed and You Are Ready to Go!
The life of a travel photographer involves a lot of packing and unpacking. The best way to avoid stress is to master the art of packing. Being able to quickly pack all your gear will lead you to heading out on more adventures. Make the process effortless!
Now, you already have a starting point. This packing list specifically designed for travel photographers is a great head start for creating your own customized list. So, the only task left to do is finalize your list and plan your next travel adventure!