Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled!

December 27

13 min. to read

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Shooting with a drone has never been easier. Unlock a completely new way to see the world.

How would you take pictures of the world’s most attractive places where no man has gone before? How would you photograph an erupting volcano or sand dunes that are particularly beautiful from a bird’s-eye view? You can, of course, take a helicopter flight with the doors off. But it will be expensive. We’ve got a better solution for you.

You can get a drone for less than the cost of a single flight and take as many photos as you want whenever you want. With these tips, you can easily get started with aerial drone photography.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image1Photo by Daniel Kordan, Mongolia

1. Know the rules before you fly your drone

If you’re new to drone photography, it’s important to know where you can and cannot pilot your drone (check out Know Before You Fly). In the United States, you need to register any drone weighing 0.55 to 55 pounds with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It’s best to register your drone before it takes off. It’s rather simple – pay $5 and give your name, physical address, and email to the FAA. We highly recommend not neglecting this critical matter in order to stay within the law and keep on shooting photos.

Additionally, you should keep a safe distance from people, buildings, cars, and other objects to prevent any harm or property damage.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image2Photo by Iurie Belegurschi

2. Pick the best photography drone

There are two common types of drones: those with onboard cameras and those with mounts to attach your own gear. Drones with cameras are heavier and don’t offer very high-quality images. On the other hand, drones with mounts allow you to attach your own camera. In this case, you can use a GoPro or any other gear. It will be easier if you use a camera you’re already familiar with as you’ll only need to learn how to pilot the drone.

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But how well can you fly your drone? If you’re a novice in aerial drone photography, go with a smaller and cheaper drone. This will help you improve your skills and not worry about losing hundreds of dollars if it crashes. Taking great pictures from a drone takes time and countless runs.

Learn your drone’s specifications. For example, some drones can only be piloted indoors. Some drones are packed with lighting for shooting at night. Some can go further distances. Decide what you want to achieve with your drone, compare features, then choose the one that best meets your needs.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image3Photo by Iurie Belegurschi

3. Choose a story for your aerial photoshoot

With a drone, you can turn the world upside down and show it in a new way. But still, you mustn’t forget about the idea your photos convey. Follow basic photography principles like the rule of thirds, leading lines, symmetry, and patterns. It’s also important that your shot has a subject to help focus the photo and provide viewers with a sense of scale. Take the photo with your own perspective and enhance it with post-processing.

4. Edit your aerial drone photos

Use Luminar 3 to make your aerial shots even more creative. Luminar 3 is the best photo editing software for aerial photography, with powerful features and tools. There’s even a custom workspace with all the commonly used filters for aerial photography.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image4Photo by Laurie Rubins

“This filter [Accent AI] automatically analyzes your image and instantly corrects it. Under the hood, more than a dozen controls are in use. This tends to yield naturally beautiful results with one simple slider. The Accent AI Filter can substitute for many traditional controls like shadows, highlights, contrast, tone, saturation, exposure, details, and others.’’ — Photographer and Skylum Affiliate Partner Laurie Rubins.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image5

Photo by Laurie Rubins

The Dehaze filter will make your shots more vibrant, clear, and eye-catching. Other filters such as Accent AI, Polarizing, and Golden Hour are an aerial photographer’s secret weapon for stunning images.

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Alternatively, you can try landscape or travel Looks that minimize complicated post-processing and stylize your photos in one click. The bottom line is that you don’t have to use multiple Photoshop plugins to perfect your aerial snaps. With photo software from Skylum, you can just enjoy the outstanding results.

5. Get familiar with real estate drone photography

Getting the hang of drone real estate photography isn’t rocket science. With flying cameras, photographers can capture gorgeous home exteriors with dramatic landscapes and ocean and mountain scenes.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image6

Whether you’re a real estate agent or you’re trying to sell your own home, it’s vital that you make a big first impression. Aurora HDR is the perfect solution for drone photographers of all levels to turn their real estate photos into listings that sell. Post-processing in Aurora gives you natural results with precise and realistic details. It enhances textures, structures, and the overall look thanks to the HDR Enhance and HDR Smart Structure AI filters. And it fixes perspective distortions with powerful Lens Correction and Transform tools.

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6. Carefully learn the instructions

Knowing what your drone can do is essential. Read the user guide — it contains everything you need to know about your drone. You’ll learn crucial things you might not have even thought of. So dive deep into the instructions and keep on improving your skills.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image8Photo by Iurie Belegurschi

7. Explore your drone’s features

Learning your drone’s features will streamline the shooting process and lead to an efficient aerial photo shoot. The most common features you’ll find are:

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image9

Smartphone feed — This is an especially great tool for beginners, as it lets you see exactly what your drone is capturing in real time, increasing your chance of capturing a stunning shot.

Smart mode — Also known as beginner mode, smart mode will help you make the most out of your aerial shots. For example, smart mode can cope with wind with a stabilization feature so you don’t have to worry that your photos will look like earthquake reportage.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image10

Follow-me — This option is for those who want to be in the shot. Take your phone around, turn on follow-me mode, and your drone will ensure you’re always in the frame.

Geofence option — Set limits on how far and how high your drone can fly by locking it from crossing an invisible border.

Experiment and discover which features will help you to boost your drone’s potential.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image11Photo by Iurie Belegurschi

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8. Tackle this to-do list before you fly

Once you’ve read the instructions, nailed all of your drone’s key features, and read all the rules, you’re almost ready to fly your drone. But before you do, double-check your flight preparations. This preflight to-do list will ensure a smooth flight and the greatest shots:

  • Check the flight zone. You’d better know whether you’re flying over private or public space.
  • Make sure the weather conditions are good. You might need stabilization equipment or some other equipment due to the wind.
  • Make sure that any people in the area don't mind a drone hovering around them.
  • Charge your batteries and take additional ones to ensure the drone can stay in the air as long as you need.
  • Set the resolution, brightness, frame rate, shutter speed, and ISO depending on what you want to achieve in your photo.
  • Make sure the motor rotates freely, mounts are intact, and screws are tight. Everything must work properly.
  • Prepare the remote controller. Whether it’s a smartphone or tablet, it must be ready to go for your flight: charge your device, turn off other apps, and check that it connects with the drone.

Now it's time for most exciting part — piloting your drone.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image12Photo by Daniel Kordan, Mongolia

9. Get natural with drone photography techniques

There’s no point going to a marvelous place and getting your drone in the sky only to have awkwardly framed, blurry photos. It takes time and effort and a lot of testing to become really good at shooting beautiful landscapes from above. Keep these tips in mind:

Don’t forget the basic photography rules. These rules work perfectly in the world of aerial photography as well. So if you’re not familiar with fundamental techniques such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, symmetry, patterns, and the golden ratio, then study up.

Search for symmetry and patterns. While you’re soaring high, keep on the lookout for interesting colors, shapes, and repetition. They form some of the most iconic aerial photos.

Keep it simple. Find the subject for your shot and focus on it. Simple compositions result in amazing aerial shots and let viewers have a sense of the scale.

Hover slowly and stably. Because of how stable some drones are these days, you can still use long exposure times, which can be particularly amazing when capturing swaying trees or the crashing ocean.

Benefit from light. The right light can be a huge advantage for drone photographers — shooting at particular times of day can create long shadows and striking patterns.

Drone photography is challenging, exciting, and captivating. Try it once and you won’t stop. Experiment with different techniques, take great shots, and enjoy life from above.

Become a Guru of Drone Photography – Secrets Unveiled! Image13Photo by Daniel Kordan, Mongolia

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