Aerial & Drone Photography

Have you ever wanted to get aerial view photos of the ocean, city, or any other large area that really need to shot from above? Not everyone has access to a helicopter or other ways of getting up high.

An aerial drone is an easy solution to this. They are affordable and using and maneuvering them is easier than it appears.  A professional aerial photographer will have the equipment necessary to take stunning aerial photographs.

Aerial & Drone Photography Introduction

Here is some basic information to help introduce you to drones and aerial photography.  It’s not as easy to just pick up a camera and start shooting like it is with everything else, so this short overview should help you become familiar with the things to consider.

Features of Aerial Drones

Most drones have features that make them user friendly. They aren’t as intimidating as they may appear. They are almost like driving a remote control car, except you are controlling a flying object rather than one on the ground with wheels.

You have two control sticks that control the direction the drone goes (up, down, left, right, etc.). When you send a drone up, it isn’t going to just fly out of control. In fact, it will simply hover in one spot if you aren’t directing it with the joysticks.

Another good thing about drones is that if the batteries should start to get low while it is high in the sky, they have a feature that will automatically send them back to their starting point. So you don’t have to worry about it crashing into a body of water or busy city street because of dead batteries.

Read the manual, take it for a few test runs, and you will quickly realize they aren’t hard to fly and aren’t intimidating.

Drone Flying Regulations

If you are just flying a drone for recreational purposes, you don’t need a special permit. Just be sure to register your drone with the FAA for a small fee and you’re good to go. There are rules though, and depending on the country you are in, some places may be off limits. There are online apps and maps that will let you know where these places are.

Here are a few of the rules that every drone flyer should follow:

  • Do not fly near other aircraft, flying objects, or airports.
  • Stay below 400 feet.
  • Do not fly over crowds of people, sporting events, or stadiums.
  • Always make sure you can see your drone.
  • Do your research, know the rules and guidelines and which places are strictly off limits and you should be good to go.

Using Aerial Drones for Still Photography

Aerial Drones are most popular for shooting panoramic videos. However, you can get stunning photos from way up high as well.

Drones come in different sizes, brands, models, etc. Whatever you choose will depend on your budget and purpose for using it. They have drones that are capable of taking your DSLR up in the air, however this is a pretty expensive option. You can also purchase drones that support GoPro’s. The most affordable options have built in cameras. Most drones take high quality HD images, so if using for recreational use and just for fun, just get something that will do the trick.

The drone connects to your phone or device so that you can see what it sees as it flies around. This means you don’t have to guess what images you will be capturing. Just navigate the drone to get to the spot to get the best image and you are all set.

While drones do allow you to change ISO and shutter speed settings for better exposure control, it is best to start off in Auto Mode while you become familiar with it. Once you become more comfortable with it, then you can begin to take more control and change the settings yourself. Consider investing in filters. Polarizing filters work especially great for toning down reflections and bright highlights from the sun.

Also, make sure you have more one than one battery on hand. The batteries for drones don’t last near as long as those for cameras. It takes a lot of juice to fly an object in the air and a camera all in one. So have two or three fully charged with you on hand when you go out for flights.

Do your research, be aware of any regulations and rules, read your manual and watch videos about operating the specific drone you are using, and go out and have fun!

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