If you are into aerial drone photography, here are five things you need to remember.
The first time I flew my DJI Phantom 2 Vision, I was blown away by the ability to see, compose and take the shot from a bird’s eye view. I've got a creative tool to make truly mind-blowing photos, and never looked back since then.
If you are into aerial drone photography, or are just thinking about getting your first "flying machine", here are some things you definitely want to keep in mind.
STAY CALM AND FLY SAFE
What’s the first thing you want to do when you open that box with your new drone, all nice, bright and shiny? Fly it of course… as far and as high as you can. But wait! Let’s back up a moment. One of the most important things you can do is to read the manual, watch training videos and if you have someone that has a drone already, have them teach you the basics.
There are currently height and location restrictions, but we are not going to get into that here. (Depending on where you live, you should find out what is legal when it comes to putting your flying camera in the air.) And practice, practice, practice in wide open, non-populated areas. You should get so good at controlling your drone that it becomes second nature to you so that you are focusing on the image or video you want to take and not be fearful of losing control or not knowing what direction your camera is pointing.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Jim Richardson said: “If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of better stuff”. Drones put us in front of and above interesting places and things, but it still takes a good eye and some post-processing to get the look and feel of what we saw. Getting up early for a sunrise or getting out later in the day for the sunset, seeking interesting locations where you can capture unique textures, lines and shadows, can get you that hero shot. Feeling the need to shoot from high above? Try a bit lower. One of the unique advantages is that we can fly lower than a plane but higher than the rooftop.
COMPOSE AND DON'T COMPROMISE
Think of your flying camera as you do your land camera. Many of the same rules and technical issues apply. Correct exposure so that you don’t have blown highlights or lost details in the shadows, practice good composition so that the main subject isn’t necessarily in the center of the image to add a bit of tension, ensure interesting leading lines that pull your viewer into the image and keep them there, seek out complementary or contrasting colors to add excitement and mood to the scene, look for textures and shapes that enhance dimension… the list goes on!
PUT ON THE FINISHING TOUCHES
After you’ve downloaded your images, you’re not done yet! Use a tool like Snapselect, our newest program that helps you organize your photos into similar and duplicate groups and easily select the best images. Once you’ve got the set of photos you want to take further, you might need to make further adjustments, corrections or enhancements to them. Lens profile correction might be needed to straighten the horizon lines, or noise reduction (look for “speckles” at 100% or more zoom to discover if you have a noise problem).
If there are cars or tiny people that you find distracting in your image, or perhaps a few dust spots, Snapheal can remove those in a snap! And, to make your images “pop” a lot more instead of looking a bit flat, try Intensify — it’s the perfect program for bringing out detail and colors!
GIVE MORE, GET MORE IN RETURN
Images shouldn’t just sit on a memory card or on your computer or hard drive. Share your images! People really enjoy seeing aerial images. Share them through Social Media and follow other aerial photographers for inspiration. Share your love and knowledge of flying with others through social media groups and communities like SkyPixel, and join a local flying club. Print and hang your photos on your walls so that you are surrounded with the beauty of the world around us. There is a wonderful view from above. Now get out there, have fun and fly your camera!