Drone Photography Tips for Beginners
December 15, 2022
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Drone Photography Tips for Beginners

We live in a visually stimulating world. Amongst all the visual media, good photographs are and have always been an absolute pleasure to enjoy – be it on Instagram, Pinterest or just locked away in your drive for you to reminisce about a glorious vacation.

Today’s technological advancements have made clicking good photos and videos a breeze, especially with the kind of phone cameras that come equipped with the latest smartphones.

Why not take your media ambitions to the next level and dip your toes in the wonders of drone photography?

Drone Photography: It’s Easier to Go Where Eagles Dare

Previously, getting a bird’s eye view of a landscape or an object involved hiring expensive helicopters or airplanes to get a photograph of something that was out of reach for many. The affordability of drones means that aerial photography is now an option for any enthusiastic photographer looking to add a unique spin on things. Drone photography can also open new avenues for income as there’s a huge demand for aerial photographs from real estate, weddings, and more.


 The Beauty of Drone Photography

Drone photography involves flying your camera high up in the sky to take a snapshot of a striking object or landscape but from a different vantage point. It’s all about capturing different perspectives of things that are not visible from where we stand, and *ahem* elevating our images to a new level. 

Aerial photography is still a new enough field for most pictures to look appealing. However, it isn’t as simple as just flying a drone high up and clicking a picture. In fact, the changing perspective, the atmospheric differences, and having the ability to position your drone and your lens exactly where you want them to be can add a whole bunch of challenges to getting that perfect shot. 

Read on for some of our top tips on how to get started with drone photography:

Drone Photography Tips for Beginners

Most drones come with a straight ‘fly right out of the box feature. This is easy enough – purchase the drone, download the app on your tablet or phone, sync the devices and you’re good to go! Providing you have the appropriate drone pilot licence of course.

Starting off:

Drones can be hazardous if your attention is diverted. So, begin your photographic experiments in a small and safe environment like grassy fields and hilltops at odd times so you avoid crowded areas. Make sure you are well-versed in all the rules and regulations concerning Line of Sight (LOS), Restricted Airspace, Municipal no-fly zones, etc.

Weather Conditions:

Keep an eye out for the weather. Clear sunny days can help you capture incredible sights with superb clarity and contrast between elements and colours. Foggy, misty weather can have its own charm on the camera, but you might need to learn about the various settings your camera has and your drone might have a limit to the kind of weather you can fly in. Getting your lenses fogged up won’t help your pictures either. While some drones are water resistant, flying them in heavy rains, fog, or icing conditions is obviously a no-no and potentially illegal.

Get Used to the Camera:

Most drone cameras have wide-angle lenses, meant to capture a wide frame. If you aren’t used to wide-angle lenses, the perspective can sometimes be misleading in terms of the distance from objects. Get used to this perspective before getting overly creative! Get familiar with the different settings, file types, etc., that you may want to use before you set off on your photography adventure.

Charge those batteries:

This one may be obvious but must be said. Make sure you’ve charged your batteries. Finding amazing sights and then having to emergency land because of a low battery is always a bummer. Never take off with less than a sufficiently charged battery, and be aware that in cold temperatures or hot summer days you will likely have less endurance than advertised in the flight manual.

Add Your Own Perspective:

Look for perspective. The most important quality of a good video or picture is how it is framed. Drones will no doubt show you unimaginable views of a subject or a terrain, but it’s an art to pick what looks best. Train yourself to find interesting patterns and contrasts between elements and you’ll have some stunning photographs.

The more you practice drone photography, the better you’ll get at handling the drone and clicking the best pictures. Use the digital factor to your advantage – click many pictures during the flight time. You can always sift through them to identify the best ones. Try and analyze what makes the ones you’ve chosen better than the rest too.


Master These Shots

It’s good to learn some common aerial photography language so that when you’re working on a photo, or a client is trying to communicate their desires to you, you’ve got an idea what they’re talking about.

Oblique – An image shot at an angle where the camera is facing horizontally, or at anything other than pointing directly at the ground at a 90-degree angle.  Oblique photos are pretty common in real-estate type shots, as the drone will be slightly above the roof-line of the house, and want to capture both the structure and the surrounding property.


Oblique drone photography tip
Nadir vertical drone photography tip

Nadir (Vertical) – An image shot directly pointing at the ground below the center of the camera, at a vertical angle (90-degrees from horizontal).  The opposite of Nadir, or straight up, is Zenith.  Most drone mapping or orthomosaics are made from a series of nadir photos being captured in sequence with automated mapping software.

Long Exposure – Drones can hold a hover position surprisingly well, and one very cool image is when you take a photo with a long exposure while holding a steady position, action in the photo (such as car lights) will start to blur.  Long exposure shots are achieved by either using manual or shutter-priority mode in your camera settings.

If you want to go from ‘good’ to ‘pro’, check out
Coastal Drone’s Aerial Photography & Videography Course to take your skills to the next level.

Long Exposure Drone Photography Tip

Want to learn more?

This content and more is covered extensively in our five-star online drone pilot ground school. We offer both Basic and Advanced online training courses to help you get ready for the Transport Canada online exams at your own pace from the comfort of your home.


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