Drone photography can be a lot of fun, but can also be very frustrating if you don’t know how to get the right shot. There’s a lot more to it than just getting it up in the air and pressing the shutter button. Here is a list of things to keep in mind for when you take your drone on your next shoot.
1. Know Your Drone
There are hundreds of different drones out there. All with different video, photo and flight capabilities. Know your budget, what you need the drone for and then look into what drone best suit you. Make sure to keep in mind the flight time with each battery, the video specs or photo specs, all depending on what you are looking for. Photographers may want to make sure the drone has RAW shooting capabilities, while videographers will want to consider the drones gimbal system as well as the video quality and fps options it comes with.
Once purchased, practice setting up your drone quickly and learn its altitude and distance capabilities without losing connection. The last thing you want is to miss a shot because you are still learning how to set up your drone or losing that pricey investment because you flew too close to the sun.
2. Know Your Location
Location is one of the most important things to be aware of before you take out your drone. Different countries, states, and even cities have different rules and regulations. You want to make sure you know what they are in order to avoid getting a hefty fine, or worse — some police have gone to the extent of training eagles to attack flying drones in unpermitted areas. Certain countries prohibit the entry of drones and will make you pay a fee to keep it in the airport. Make sure you check where you will be shooting and that you have all the proper permits and permissions to do so.
Apart from knowing rules and regulations it is a good idea to know what is around the area you will be shooting. This way you can plan ahead of time how you want to frame your shot or subject. Remember that drones have limited flying time and planning out your shoot can make all the difference.
3. Bring Spare Batteries
As mentioned, drones have limited flying time, usually around twenty to thirty minutes a battery. This can greatly limit your shoot if you have not pre planned what shots you intend to take. Even with planning, thirty minutes tend to fly by and if you have more than one location in mind then you will most surely need extra batteries.
4. Keep it Updated
Drones are constantly being updated via their corresponding apps by their respective companies. These updates can sometimes take up a lot of time and in turn consume a lot of battery. Make sure that the night before, or the morning of a shoot you turn on your drone and make sure all the software is up to date. There’s nothing worse than going to your shoot, setting everything up and having to way thirty minutes to finally get your drone in the air and then find out you only have ten minutes of battery life left.
5. Practice Flying
Flying a drone properly and safely will require some practice. DON’T buy a drone and take it on a shoot the next day if you have never flown one before. The controls tend to be very sensitive and it can be very easy to fly your drone into power lines, a wall, or worse into your subject. Take your drone out in your spare time and practice flying it, get used to the sensitivity of the controls. After you start to get the hang of it, practice flying and moving the camera around simultaneously. Know how to access and change the camera settings quickly and smoothly so that when you are out getting your shots you can use each minute of your flight time efficiently.
6. Get Creative
Once you know your done and how to use it, it’s time to get creative. The possibilities are endless. You can get unique horizon shots or top down shots that you never thought you’d be able to shoot without being on a helicopter. Drone photography is all about perspective and finding the right lines and subjects to make your shot. Try finding contrasting colors, leading lines, lonely streets or abandoned houses. Make your subject reach for the drone and capture an image other photographers only dream of. The sky is the limit!
Do you have a drone? Would you recommend it to fellow photographers and videographers from the Hub? Let us know in the comments below!