How to use a drone to make great Aerial photographs

October 24, 2018

As you probably already know, I’m interested in all aspects of photography. One of the areas that are often shunned by a lot of photographers is aerial photography using a drone. Yet this is one of the most exciting developments in photography for several years. They are mostly equipped with high-resolution cameras that allow you to capture unique points of view of common subjects. Here are the explanations of the photographer Andrew Thomas on this subject.


Recently, the cost of these devices has dropped dramatically and if you decide to venture on this route, I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed because contrary to what some say, drones are real tools to produce beautiful photos, exactly as you do with your camera. In this article, I will explain how to integrate them into your workflow and all you need to know about them.

As with most modern technologies, there is a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on the market. Like photographic equipment in general, the amount you are willing to spend will determine the quality of the camera on board and the flight characteristics of the drone itself. There are inexpensive models that will take very basic pictures. You can even add your GoPro to some units that will benefit from the equipment you already own. There is a company that has a range of models and holds a large percentage of the market; it is of course DJI. Their range of Phantom drones is the first choice for aerial photographers, and although they are top-of-the-line models, the Phantom 3 series models are the most popular UAVs in the world.

How to start

One of the main features of drones these days is their ease of use. “Flying out of the box” is a common term you’ll see in their ads, and in fact, it’s also very true. Charge the battery, download the app on your smartphone, launch it, and off you go.

However, it should be mentioned that while they are easy to fly, common sense and care are an important part of flying. It is suggested that you start with some limitations put in place on the application of your smartphone, which allows you to control your drone. It is usually a good idea to limit the maximum height and also how far you can fly the drone.

Always start with an open area, such as a park, and spend time familiarizing yourself with the controls before you even press the shutter button. Always be aware of your location in relation to your surroundings. Since these cameras usually have a wide-angle lens (approximately 20 mm), it is easy to misjudge your positioning when you are near objects such as trees and buildings, especially if you look at the small screen of a smart phone. Also for photography you need to buy the best drone that may be under $300 or $500, this buying guide will help you to select the best drone according to your needs.


Rules and regulations

Most countries have rules to follow, and although they cannot all be mentioned here, they are usually like this:

The drone must always be visible to the user.

  • Maximum height 130 meters.
  • Never fly over groups of people
  • Respect the privacy of others.
  • No flights near airports and other no-fly zones.

We suggest that you check with your local aviation safety authorities for specific details in your area.

A few months ago, I was flying above my local train station, looking for the perfect image at dusk, just as the lights that illuminated the tower each evening on this historic building. Fortunately, for five minutes, I looked down to see two local police come to me. My first reaction in these circumstances is to evaluate their reaction, and if there are any worries, I report my drone immediately.

Unfortunately, drones had negative publicity in the press, certainly not helped by the person who landed on the White House lawn in Washington in 2015. Fortunately, these two policemen were very interested in what I was doing. By showing them exactly what I saw on the screen, and explaining to them the whole procedure and the care I took not to fly directly above people, they left with a very positive attitude.

I think it’s very important to fly with that attitude in mind. And another thing about public places: you will have to be ready to become the center of attention because people will usually be very intrigued by what you do.

It’s also tempting to think that aerial imagery is going to be a great new way to make money from your photography. Again, this is another area where the rules vary from country to country, and you should look at the certification you may need in your area to do paid aerial work. Another tip is before buying the drone camera you need to read buyers guide on some high quality websites like saim deals. Because using these kind of website before buying any tech related product will reduce the chance of loss and this is no risk game.

Amazing technology

Today’s drones have an amazing technology on board that has revolutionized aerial photography:

By connecting your smartphone to your portable remote control, you can see on the screen exactly what the drone is filming. This makes composition adjustments simpler.

The camera controls are extended – automatic or full manual control, RAW capture, even time-lapse

The drone will hover in the same place with incredible stability, almost like an aerial tripod! You can take your hands off the controls and the drone will stay in that position.

Failsafe flight options. With an average flight time of 20 minutes per battery charge, the drone can detect when your battery is low and goes into RTH mode, ensuring the drone comes back to you. If for some reason the Lightbridge connection between the remote control and the machine itself is lost (this may happen when flying behind buildings or trees), once again, the RTH is activated. Another great utility of the RTH function is that when you’ve lost sight of the drone, which is pretty easy to do once it’s away from you, by pressing the RTH button, your flying camera will happily come back to you in an instant.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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