How to master drone photography
Drones are now more accessible and convenient to operate than ever. But shooting cinematic drone videography is not as easy as getting your drone camera up in the air. Drones come with some all types of autonomous flight modes that affect your shooting experience.

Drones manufactures incorporate numerous settings that deal with camera operation. Experimenting with different settings is essential before a shooting professional footage. Drone pilots must have confidence in their flying abilities before they can embark on professional drone videography. Don’t rely on cheap or small indoor drones to produce results that you can only get out of GPS stabilized and updated outdoor drone cameras. Also, don’t forget to check your local regulations as these devices are completely banned in some areas and national parks.

With the soaring popularity of video to create marketing content, the demand for drone photography and videography is increasing. Drone videography is completely different from ground photography as it follows its own rules and uses special equipment.

For those of you who have just started to explore the basics of aerial videography, the best thing to learn first is how to pilot your craft effectively. The skill takes considerable amount of practice and countless hours. But once you know how to fly your drone, you can focus on capturing stunning imagery.

Most amateur drone photographers start out with an affordable UAV or a trainer drone before investing in an expensive drone camera that’s built for professional use. Big brands, like 3DR and DJI, allow their customers to groom their flying skills on virtual flight simulators.
Overlooking Los Angeles, CA
Overlooking Los Angeles, CA

Here are 10 different tips to make you a better drone videographer.

Don’t Overlook Photographic Considerations

Flying a drone camera is fun. While it’s ok to go creative with your flying skills, don’t overlook some of the most basic photography principles and the importance of planning. Find promising new areas using Google Earth and choose the best time of the day to shoot under the best light. Creating the highest quality content possible is the difference between professional and amateur photographer. Your clients will be able to tell quality from not regardless of their personal skills.

Pay attention to the wind

According to FAA regulations, it is against the law to fly a camera drone above 400 feet. However, you shouldn’t fly your drone this high, anyway. That’s because the higher you go, stronger winds make your footage shaky. Make sure to fly under appropriate wind conditions and keep the height up to 300 feet.

Study your Shooting Environment

Before filming, map out your location. It is important to know about any buildings, electric wires and other obstacles to save your expensive product from crashing. Your video will be less shaky and you can shoot with confidence. This is especially important when shooting an event like a wedding.
Sunset Drone shot in Los Angeles
Sunset Drone shot in Los Angeles

Capture longer shots

Another tip for spectacular filmmaking is to begin filming a few seconds before and after you capture the shot you desire. Allowing the camera film a little longer, you have the flexibility to make the necessary edits and capture the best parts of your footage.

Adding Parallax Panning

You can add more depth to your aerial scenes by benefitting from extreme parallax effects, typically with structures or trees closer to the drone. This technique serves as a visual aid to the viewer to let him or her see how the surround landscape is for better viewing. This can be especially dramatic when filming crowds of people at festivals and large scale concerts.

Make the Most out of the Magic Hour

All amateur and professional videographers know about the ‘Golden hour’ which signifies the soft yellow tinted light, filling up the sky when the sun begins and ends its journey. However, there’s another crucial part of the day when vivid blue hues are scattered all through the sky. Even when filming industrial or construction sites, you should aways select the best possible time for the subject matter.

This special moment is referred to as the ‘Blue hour’ which occurs after sunset in the evening and before sunrise in the morning. At this time, the sun dips below the horizon, to a certain amount.

Since light is a crucial element that makes or breaks your aerial photos and videos, it is important that you capture your most stunning shots during these hours, both on the ground and in the air.
Dodger Stadium Drone Photo
Dodger Stadium Drone Photo

Combine Various Axis Movements

No aerial footage can stand out if you only move your drone backwards or forward. As a skilled drone pilot and a professional aerial videographer, you need to try out different axis movements to add more depth to your footage.

Fly up and backwards simultaneously or go sideways while flying up. The secret to stunning aerial footage lies in your ability to make the most out of the hi-tech features of the drone camera for more cinematic footage. Circling an object in an orbit also adds a tremendous touch to your videos.

Stay at Low Altitudes

Don’t assume that aerial videography is all about higher altitudes. While a higher altitude gives you an ample shooting space, shooting at low altitudes goes a long way to create a more immersive experience. Not only it allows you to capture all the objects in detail, such an altitude also helps you make easy adjustments when you are about to speed up.

Don’t make Sudden Movements

Unless it’s for safety reasons, never make any sudden adjustments. A few wrong pushes of the remote controller can ruin a good shot or make you overlook the perfect angle. Always tap the record button a few seconds in advance to avoid missing the perfect moment. Smooth and steady video are the way to go when marketing anything.
Drone Portrait Photography
Drone Portrait Photography

Buy Professional Equipment

Your images and videos are only as good as your memory card. Since it takes significant time, energy and effort to get your drone in the air, the last thing you want to experience is bad camera performance because of a mediocre memory card. Since this card is responsible for storing and rendering your images, make sure you choose your memory card wisely.

There are other important things such as keeping your model’s gimbal calibrated correctly to ensure that the camera is stabilized and level.

Final Thoughts

To master drone videography, you need to practice both flying and shooting for producing professional-grade results. Get to know your equipment well before you can shoot like a professional. Always consider if you are going to need insurance for your shoot.

Aerial videography is a revolutionary photography niche that is especially beneficial for adventurous shooters. If you want to make it big in the world of aerial photography and videography, remember to make use of our tips for shooting visually-stunning footage. Always make sure and check your local regulations and permit restrictions before filming.
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