Have you seen pictures taken by drones? They’re amazing! Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), they can give your photography some new angles and perspectives that you’ve never thought of before. Whether you’re into nature photography, architectural photography, real estate photography, or just getting started with taking your own aerial shots, this article will teach you how to get started with drone photography for beginners.
What Do I Need?
Before you go out and buy that drone, take a second to consider what you’re hoping to achieve with your shots. The type of shot, where you’ll be flying, and how close you can get are all factors in deciding what kind of gear you need—and whether or not a drone is even practical for your situation. For example, indoor shots can be taken with smaller drones (like quadcopters) and outdoor shots benefit from larger drones like hexacopters.
Also note that FAA rules state that if you want to fly your drone outside, it must be registered online at faa.gov. This registration costs $5 and will allow you to fly up to 400 feet high as long as you’re always within line-of-sight range of your aircraft. Registration takes about 3 weeks after purchasing a new UAV, so keep that in mind when planning any big projects! For UK flyers you will need to follow the Civil Aviation Authority drone laws.
Where Do I Fly?
If you’re going to be taking photos or videos, don’t fly your drone in a heavily populated area. You want your pictures to look spectacular, not like a crowded tourist destination. You can go as high as 400 feet before you need to get permission from air traffic control, but it really depends on how busy your local airport is. Before flying, check for any nearby airports that could cause problems. The best thing to do is ask around at hobby shops and flight schools. There are also apps available that will let you know if there are any no-fly zones near where you plan to take off. Keep an eye out for large buildings and bridges, too—they may have their own no-fly restrictions.
For beginners, I recommend looking for open fields or empty parking lots when trying to capture amazing aerial shots. These places give you plenty of room to practice flying and offer some interesting subjects for photography. Avoid highly trafficked areas like beaches or parks unless you’re willing to risk crashing into people (and other things). Once you’ve gotten comfortable with your new drone, though, feel free to experiment by finding new places that work well with its capabilities.
Other Ideas on Keeping the Inspiration Going
If you’re excited about drone photography, don’t stop at drone photography 101—you can build on your new skills by practicing every time you go out. Treat yourself like a professional athlete and find a way to keep track of your progress. It’s also worth joining the thousands of drone photographers in online communities that share photos, tips, and tricks. These social media groups are especially helpful for novice pilots who want feedback on their work or advice from more experienced flyers. One way to stay inspired is to subscribe to photo feeds, so you get regular shots of stunning places around the world.
Another option is following companies that specialize in aerial footage, such as National Geographic (NatGeo) or DJI, which have been leaders in drone innovation over recent years. Finally, if there’s one place you should visit before getting started with drone photography, it’s our Drone Training Shop, which offers an excellent overview of how drones work and how they differ from standard cameras.
Getting Good Shots (Best Tips)
These tips can help drone pilots get great shots. They include flying a drone in appropriate places and practicing good camera composition. These are important elements for photographers of all skill levels, whether you’re flying a drone or shooting with traditional equipment. Picking out your location is essential if you want to avoid noisy urban areas, large groups of people, or dangerous settings.
- Fly Your Drone Even When You Don’t Think There’s Any Point. Sometimes the best images will be in unexpected places.
- Become a Better Pilot in different Modes/Speeds. Become a master of your drone, the more you fly the better you’ll become.
- Using the Drone for Panning to Create High-Res Images. Create panoramic images and edit them together automatically (DJI drones) or use software such as Lightroom.
- Plan Ahead, and Decide How You’ll Process the Scene Later. When taking shots always have a vision in your mind on how you will edit and process the image in post production.
Do you have any of your own tips you would like to share with us? Leave a comment below!