You’ve probably discovered how drones are elevating photography. Still, to help you make the most of your aerial shots, here are some drone photography tools and tips.
Beyond professional use, technical advances have made it possible to make aerial photography accessible to a wide audience–seasoned photographer and amateur alike.
Drones offer an infinite number of framing possibilities to immortalize almost any event. Whether for social or professional parties, winter or water sports, outdoor activities, hunting and fishing, and sightseeing–the only limits here are regulations and creativity.
Drone photography is a growing art that requires knowledge of certain basic rules and techniques that will make your aerial shots pop.Register your drone with the FAA--it's $5 for 3 years.Click To Tweet
The key is to master both the techniques of drone piloting and those of aerial photography.
The following tips can help you do just that:
1. Know and Respect Regulations
OK, let’s get this out of the way first. Before launching your drone into the sky, you should know that commercial drone pilots need to register with the FAA. Recreational drones, however, don’t need registration.
Before launching your drone into the sky, you should know that commercial drone pilots need to register with the FAA. Recreational drones, however, don’t need registration–there are still many restrictions of which to be aware.
Do your due diligence before shooting open-air events, as drone local laws vary from state to state.
In any case, your drone must stay below the 400 ft altitude limit.
Here’s the FAA’s list of recreational drone rules.
If you want to operate outside recreational guidelines, say, by having a larger drone or flying higher–consider registering the aircraft with the FAA. It costs $5 USD and lasts 3 years.
Thanks to reader Robert Mitchell, we’ll also point out that commercial drone pilots need to obtain a FAA remote pilot certification in addition to registering their drone, which can be done here.
2. Camera Settings
You have to master basic camera settings. While some drone models allow camera settings to be adjusted remotely, most others don’t have this feature.
In general, be prepared before the drone takes off–most of them only have a half hour battery life to work with. You don’t want to be stuck configuring the camera as those precious few minutes tick by.
3. Weather Conditions
Significantly impacting drone control and shooting, weather can make or break your aerial photos and videos.
You should avoid flying your drone when weather conditions are suboptimal, such as reduced visibility (night, fog,), extreme temperatures, strong winds or heavy rain.
Of course, you could be trying to capture those adverse weather situations. As long as you’re comfortable with the risks–go get those crazy shots!
4. Use the Histogram
Histogram is a useful, and often neglected, tool in some drone models.
Learn how to use histogram, which helps you get perfectly exposed images, especially for landscapes and large spaces.
5. Turn on the AEB Mode
Another practical tool is the Auto Exposure Bracketing. AEB Mode enables you to take multiple successive frames of the same composition.
You can later choose the best from bracketed images or use them to create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) photo that blends all images in one for the best effect.
6. Opt for the RAW Format
The RAW format is preferred by professional photographers. It gives you post-production access to your work. Using post-processing software, you can go back and tweak colors or correct flaws with ease.