Aerial photography is difficult but it lets you be creative with your shots and capture images the human eye would otherwise never be able to see. That said there’s a lot to learn when it comes to taking the perfect aerial photo. It’s not as easy as you might think.
Choose the right drone
Photographers are very careful about which camera/lens combo they choose for a given job and that doesn’t change when you’re up in the air. There are a lot of drones to choose between but in order to narrow down which drone is best for you it’s best to be clear about what you are going to be using it for.
For example a drone would be the perfect travel companion for some truly stunning aerial shots on your next trip but you would sacrifice some quality for the convenience.
Find a good location
Location is everything, you need to be in the right place to get the perfect shot. Make sure that you select your location carefully to ensure that you will have breathtaking images.Plan well in advance
Proper planning can prevent a wasted opportunity. There are a number of manufacturers restrictions, air laws and regulations which may prevent you from legally undertaking a drone flight, especially in built up areas.
Choose the right time of day
Photographers know that the time of day can have a huge impact on the quality of an image.
Try to shoot during the Golden Hours which start at the end of the day. This is where the most interesting light and colours will be in abundance which will add more drama and atmosphere to your images.
It makes a huge difference whether you are facing the sun compared to if it is behind you. If you are facing the sun it is good practice to enable HDR mode so that you can preserve the most amount of detail in the image from the highlights and shadows.
Shoot RAW images
Every photographer shoots in RAW. There may be times when JPEG can be used but aerial photography is generally not one of them.
Shooting in RAW captures the full detail of an image without compression. Meaning that you can adjust the exposure and make corrections without degrading the image. Using JPEG is more likely to introduce noise to the image and result in a poor or unusable image.
If you are shooting on a drone it is even more important to shoot in RAW because the cameras are lower resolution than DSLRs, with the former averaging around 12MP resolution and the latter, 40+MP.
So remember to always shoot in RAW and keep that ISO low.
Find the right shutter speed
Shutter speed is the most important element that will transform your photography. If you can master the trinity of shutter speed, ISO and aperture you will be well on your way to getting professional photographs. Shutter speed plays an even bigger role in aerial photography and mastering this trick will drastically improve your images.
A fast shutter speed will work best in most cases for getting the super crisp detailed shots everyone loves when it comes to aerial photography.
However if you want to get creative and artistic you can differentiate yourself by getting a Neutral Density filter and experimenting with slower shutter speeds to achieve blurred images which can work really well with clouds and crowds.
Beware of the weather! This is something we teach every student and we encourage you not to overlook it in your eagerness to get your shot.
Try and shoot in warmer, drier, less windy conditions. There is much less risk of damage to your equipment and you will remain in greater control of your drone throughout the flight.