Drones offer the opportunity to capture all sorts of landscapes from a unique aerial perspective both for the hobbyist and professional pilot. Here are some tips for starting to take drone landscape pictures or just some ideas on how to improve and develop your aerial landscape photography.
Preparation is Key If you are working with a ground based camera, you have all the time in the world to capture your images. However, a drone’s short battery life means you will have a much higher success rate of pictures you are proud of if you have a plan for what you want to capture. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t make the most of unexpected opportunities of course! Luckily Google makes planning from the comfort of your own home easier than ever – which is great if you can’t visit a location to see it for yourself first. Using terrain view rather than satellite view can give you a clearer picture. Checking the weather forecast is also key to make sure you don’t have a wasted journey.
In landscape photography generally, there has always been much emphasis on the ‘Golden Hour’ – the hour after sunrise or before sunset where the ground is bathed in a gentle golden glow and contrast is greater. This is thought to be the most flattering time for landscape photography and this applies to drones as well as ground based work. As it is likely that you will need a certain amount of time to set up, always remember to factor this in so you have whole Golden Hour to fly in and enjoy rather than being rushed.
You will probably want to capture your images in a series of flights so it is important that you have spare batteries charged and ready to go. If you are going to be flying when it is cold, then it is worth investing in a thermally insulated box and some heat packs to keep them at a working temperature. Hand warmers for you can also be a great investment so you don’t diminish your flying ability with stiff frozen fingers!
Although you have opportunities for correcting horizon lines in post production, it’s always more satisfying when you have it right straight out of camera, so keep an eye for straight horizons when you’re composing. In terms of composition, switching on your camera’s ‘rule of thirds’ grid can help to keep this at the forefront of your mind. Again, cropping can be done later but the resulting loss of resolution can be damaging to your finished image so always shoot the image as close as you can to the finished result that you want.
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