Above and Beyond. Useful tips to improve your drone photography
A drone is one the finest pieces of technology currently available to the masses.
These flying cameras have attracted a huge amount of people in the past few years and drone photography is revolutionising the way photographers document the world. They offer a flexibility unmatched by a tripod and with devices becoming increasingly affordable, photographers are turning to drones as a mean to diversify their practices and express themselves in new creative ways.
The first time I flew my Mavic Pro I was totally blown away by how easy it is to put this little (but very powerful) “toy” in the air and start taking photos. Probably also a bit frightened. Have you ever tried to fly a drone?
If you’ve been following my Instagram account you’ve noticed that I include drone shots in my routine and since people have been messaging me asking how to take better drone pictures here’s some tips:
Be creative. Seek out symmetry, patterns and lines
Drones offer unique angles, they open creative possibilities that we could have only imagined before. You must experiment and be ready to improvise, to take advantage of every situations. Gloomy skies for example, can be an opportunity to add something interesting to the mood of an image. Long shadows are also something you could play with to add interesting details to your composition.
Use low ISO
As every landscape photographer would recommend, keep your ISO at the lowest possible value. On the Mavic and probably on all of the other DJI drones the minimum ISO value is 100. A low ISO will guarantee you a very sharp image.
Obviously if you shoot in low light condition you’ll need to increment the ISO to avoid shaky/blurry images. Be sensitive with ISO! A higher than needed value and you’ll end up with an image full of noise. Find a good balance.
Lens filters are fundamental when working with difficult light conditions. They will help you achieve much better results for your photos. You can use ND (Neutral Density) filters in very bright conditions to cut the quantity of light that enter your lens or CP (Circular Polariser) filters, which will help reducing distracting reflections or glare and enhance the blues if shooting the water and the sky.
If you are serious about drone photography go to the camera settings and choose RAW. Shooting in RAW will allow you to have a greater amount of information in your files. That means you will be able to correct flaws in color and exposure with great detail. This is something all the professional photographers do and it’s really important for drones too. Especially with drones like the Mavic that have a camera resolution of just 12MP. If I’d use the *.jpg format, the image file would be so compressed I wouldn’t be able to color correct as much as I do with the full detailed RAW file.
So use RAW and color correct your images properly, you’ll see a huge increase in quality!
Last but not least, post processing is a fundamental step you need to take if you want to step up your photography game. Lightroom and Photoshop are two very important tools in my workflow.
Without going to much into technical details, what your eyes can see in nature, a camera will simply never be able to replicate in an image. Post processing is the way to bring back those missing colors, lights, shadows in your photo and give your final image that personal touch and look and feel that will take your work to the next level!
This is by no means an exhaustive guide to aerial photography, so feel free to share your tips and let me know in the comments below what are your thoughts on drone photography. I can’t wait to see what you think!
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