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Aerial Photography For Beginners
So you’ve purchased your brand new drone, maybe it’s a Phantom 4, maybe even a Yuneec Typoon H. The good news is that it doesn’t matter what drone you bought, it all starts with the person behind the drone. That said, in the following article we’re going to share some insider tips and tricks, that will help take your aerial photography to new heights.
Tip #1 Walk before you run
The first step to capturing high quality level aerial photography, starts with your ability to pilot the aircraft. Unlike ground photography, aerial photography means that your camera will always be in the air, and always moving. Spend some time in the air and practice different aerial maneuvers. This will aid in developing a steady hand, and ultimately steady professional footage. In addition, often recording test footage and watching it over will help you identify areas that need work. This is the crucial first step before you even consider attempting any serious footage. Practice makes perfect, so keep at it.
Tip #2 Take it slow
I cant stress this enough, especially if your capturing video. Focus on slow, smooth movements. Although in the hobby world, fast, quick, reckless maneuvers are the true show of skill, in the aerial photography world, its all about how slow, smooth, and controlled you can operate the aircraft. Practice specific patterns such as straight lines, orbits (circling an object 360 degreed while keeping the subject in the center), and slow pans (staying in one spot while slowly rotating 360 degrees). These seem simple but there is a big difference between doing something and doing it well. Believe me when I say these are very difficult to do well.
Tip #3 Framing is everything!
Framing is super important in any realm of image capture, but especially in the air. You’re faced with unlimited horizon in every direction, bright sunlight from above, and shadows from nearly every direction. Not to mention the number of subjects in your field of view at one time. Do some research on general photography framing, and when up in the air try to apply this knowledge when taking photos. One of the most important rule is “the rule of thirds” if you’re not familiar with it, make sure you look it up before your next flight.
Tip #4 Understand Exposure
Exposure essentially determines how bright or exposed your image will be. Over expose and you will loose all of your lights, under expose and your shadows are completely black. You need to find a balance. If your flying a DJI drone, it will actually allow you to display a histogram, which will visually outline the highlights and shadows in a given frame, allowing you to adjust exposure accordingly. A quick Google search will give you a basic understanding of exposure, and histograms, as well as how to utilize them.
Tip #5 ND Filters
One thing I can say without a doubt is if you own a drone, you’re going to need a good quality set of ND filters. ND filters are simply small glass filters which will thread on to the lens of your camera. They make full sets for all of DJI’s cameras, and most others as well. These ND filters limit the amount of light coming into the lens, and reduces the amount you have to artificially adjust on your exposure setting to get the correct lighting. This results in a much crisper image that is noticeable more professional.
Hopefully you have enjoyed the above 5 tips! If applied correctly, I can guarantee noticeably more professional footage your first time out. So what are you waiting for, get yourself familiar with everything mentioned above, charge up those batteries and get up in the sky! As always, thank you for reading!