Travel photography involves traveling to places to get the best photos. You can get photos of nature, buildings, monuments, and even people. The best photos call for aerial views and this is where a drone can help you. The drone camera is an innovation that has hugely benefited travel photographers.
If you are thinking of starting with using a drone camera for photography, then this guide will be helpful. We tell you all you need to know about drone cameras and how to use them effectively.
What are drone cameras?
Drone cameras are regular cameras that are installed on a drone. The drone is a device that can fly in the air and be controlled by you from the ground. You can use a drone camera to take photographs from an aerial view. Today’s drone cameras can take high-resolution photos and are particularly valuable for travel photographers.
Choosing a drone camera
It can be difficult choosing a drone camera since there are so many available. The two basic types are drone cameras with an in-built camera and those where you can fit your own camera. In-built drone cameras may be those that can be used only indoors or those capable of outdoor use as well.
To choose a drone camera, you need to keep the following in mind:
- There are different models of drone cameras. The prices also vary. You need to first decide the type of drone. Prices vary depending on its size, range, and battery life.
- Drone cameras have various features that include an in-built ability to avoid obstacles. A handy feature is a follow-me mode, where the drone will track your position.
- You can choose from an entry-level model with fewer features or a mid-range model with a good set of features. If you are a professional travel photographer, you can look for a top-end model. You should know they can be very expensive.
- Decide a budget and then choose the drone as per your budget. Compare different models, and if possible, test them. Then choose the best product.
Flying a drone
Before even thinking of taking photographs, you need to know how to fly a drone. It is not very complicated, even kids can do it. However, you need to be cautious since a mistake may lead to your costly drone being damaged. The drone should be fitted with batteries. You need to know the battery life and should bring down the drone before it runs out of battery power.
Drones come with a controller. Most controllers have a screen where you can see the view from the camera. There are sticks that can be used to move the drone up, bring it down, and move it sideways. You can also increase its speed and make it tilt. When you get the drone, first practice using it on open ground. This would prevent any accidents.
You will get an instruction manual that will tell you how to use the drone camera. It will not take you more than a few sessions to master its use. There can be different modes for your drone, like headless mode (where your location is the reference point) and auto mode. Drones come with GPS, so tracking them is easy. Most drones have a return-to-home switch, which brings back the drone from wherever it is.
Know the laws
You must know that every country and state in the US has regulations that govern the use of drones. This is because drones can be used for surveillance by enemy nations. They can also be used by terrorists. This is why there are laws that regulate where you can fly a drone and where you cannot.
Drones may even be illegal in some places. So, before using a drone camera, do some homework. Study the laws and regulations in the place where you intend to use the drone camera. Ensure you strictly follow the laws to avoid getting into trouble.
Make a checklist
Just like flight pilots have a pre-flight checklist, you can also prepare a checklist before using the drone camera. The checklist can cover the following:
- Whether it is legal to fly the drone in the area you intend to shoot?
- Is the weather good and is wind speed going to affect your drone?
- Are the controls working fine, or are there any problems?
- Are the batteries charged? Do you have spare batteries?
- Would people be present at the place you shoot?
- Are there any obstacles like buildings, trees, etc.?
- Is the motor working fine? Are the propellers looking good?
Once you go through the checklist, you are now ready to fly the drone and start shooting.
Practice makes perfect
Before you start using the drone for travel photos, you need to do some trial runs. Do this at home – both indoors and outdoors. First, learn to use the drone. You must be able to master the controls and know what each switch or lever does. It is important that you master the ability to steer the drone and bring it down avoiding obstacles.
Remember, safety is the top priority. Both the drone and the people around you should be safe when you use it. Practice taking photos. Try out different settings and take photos. Take the drone camera with you on short trips and take photos. Practice will make you perfect.
Learn techniques of drone photography
When you start using drone cameras, you need to know how to take the best photos. You should be aware of the various techniques. Here are some tips that will help you:
- Basic photography rules like the rule of thirds and the golden ratio are applicable even for drone photography.
- Once the drone is in the air, look for symmetry and patterns.
- Keep it simple, don’t complicate things.
- You don’t need to take the drone too high in the air.
- Use natural light to your advantage while taking photos.
- Shoot in RAW mode, so post-processing becomes easy.
- Know the different modes of the drone camera and make the best use of them.
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