Drone photography is a growing niche in landscape photography. And when you look at the pictures, it’s easy to understand why. It has opened a world of new opportunities. Now, you can find new perspectives and create compositions that were impossible in the past. We want even more people to experience the feeling of getting a shot they dreamed of, so we decided to share with you a few tips for excellent drone landscape photography.
When you discover these new perspectives we’re talking about, you can create never-before-seen pictures of both known and unknown places. That’s something both photographers and photography fans love to see. And if you learn how to safely operate a drone in urban areas, you’ll be able to take pictures of your town and present it in a whole new way.
However, mastering this type of photography takes time. Drones are getting more intelligent and more user-friendly. But that doesn’t mean that the only two things you need to know are how to take off and photograph. You’ll have to practice quite a bit before you can capture stunning high-quality images.
On the other hand, our tips will make everything easier. So, here’s what you need to know.
1. Keep Your Drone Close to the Ground
It’s not uncommon for people to think that they’ll get a picture like no one before if they fly their drone as high as it will go. However, just because you can reach the sky, it doesn’t mean that you should. Some of the best drone landscape pictures are taken low to the ground.
This allows your camera to see the contours of the terrain, and that’s important. Your picture will have a lot more depth and shape if you stay low. Even if you’re shooting straight down, this can be beneficial. Try it and see for yourself.
You don’t have to take your drone to the skies to get a beautiful photo.
2. Learn How to Exposure Bracket
It’s a well-known fact that small sensors in drones don’t have an impressive dynamic range. So, to capture amazing landscape photos, you have to bracket a lot more. This means that you need to take multiple pictures under different exposures. Some of them should be overexposed and some underexposed. Later, you can blend them into one image in post-production.
Some drones have an HDR function. This does the whole process we’ve explained automatically. However, we suggest you do it on your own, as it will give you more control over the final look of the picture.
3. Invest Into Spare Batteries
If you ask a professional drone operator when was the last time they used only one battery for a session, you might be surprised with an answer. This usually happens only if they’re grounded by wind, rain, or low light.
Think about how much flight time a single battery gives you. You want to always have enough batteries on you for an hour of flying. Luckily, these aren’t too heavy. And if you know how to handle your drone equipment and pack gear in a quick and safe way, you can carry as many of them as you want.
There’s nothing worse than having to go home because your battery is dead when you want to continue shooting. Take it from us and don’t make this mistake. Buy a couple of extra batteries.
No matter how big or small your drone is, always have a spare battery on you.
4. The Best Time for Drone Photography
If you want to get the best light, aim to shoot around the golden hour. This will give you about an hour to do your thing, whether you’re doing a session in the morning or at the end of the day. The light in these parts of the day is generally softer and warmer. This will accompany your landscape with a beautiful glow.
If you want to follow our tips for excellent drone landscape photography, you should aim for the time when the sun is low in the sky. However, it still should be high enough to illuminate the landscape you want to shoot.
Make sure not to wait for the sun to go all the way down on the horizon. In this scenario, you’ll get only the edges of the picture properly illuminated. And that’s not something you want.
5. Look for Symmetry
Drone photography opened a whole new world of ideas and possibilities when it comes to taking photos. And some of the best photos out there are shot looking straight down. This enables them to capture the symmetry well.
This may sound a little bit scary if you’re only getting your first drone, but you don’t have to worry. All kinds of man-made structures will provide you with plenty of opportunities for such images. It’s worth mentioning that natural landscapes also boast symmetry. However, you’ll need a bit of practice before you can see it.
6. Sidelight Always Looks Amazing
Don’t be afraid to use the principles of portrait lighting in landscape photography. Sidelight reveals shape and depth. And during the golden hour we talked about, the illumination is a lot like a softbox. So even you don’t have control over it, you can still use it to your advantage.
The idea here is simple. You only need to ensure that the light is coming off from one side of the camera. So, don’t position your drone in a way that the sun is in front or at the back of it. Keep it right or left instead.
Using sidelight is one of our tips for excellent drone landscape photography because it always looks incredible.
7. Use a Tablet
Using your phone as a controller or a monitor while taking drone photos can quickly become frustrating. No matter how big it is, it’s still a phone. And in a perfect world, you want to have a bigger screen to see what your drone sees.
Connecting a tablet to your drone will enable you to see far more. We’ll go as far as stating that it is one of the 10 must-have tools for drone pilots. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it just for fun or commercially.
Also, you will be able to use your phone for other tasks that may be as important. That’s why investing in a tablet is one of our tips for excellent drone landscape photography.