The world is beautiful, especially when seen from above. In the past few years, drones have become more popular than ever, with UK flyers using them for all kinds of things like entertainment, exploration, and more commonly, photography.
With photography drones becoming more available with each passing day – some selling for as little as under £40 – there’s never been a better time to get into the action.
Why is drone photography so good?
Whether you’re simply flying for recreation or looking to shoot something more commercial, drone photography can be utilised in so many ways.
As a hobby, flyers have been known to take their drones to all sorts of breathtaking places. From looking inland to taking shots from the crowns of trees or even flying across the Scottish Highlands, there’s really no better way to grab that perfect shot than with a drone.
Another great use of drone photography is commercial. If you’re planning on selling property, drones are fantastic at grabbing everything in one shot. Take advantage of the drone’s angle to photograph your house with its garden. Or if you’re selling land, use its height to grab as much of it as possible in just one picture.
Regardless of your interests, here are some top tips to get into drone photography.
First things first – learn to fly
Assuming you’ve only just picked up your drone, it’s a good idea to give it a test drive before attaching any expensive equipment and sending it off.
Some drones are actually small enough to be flown indoors, where you can practice whenever you’d like, which can be useful for wet and windy days. However, it’s recommended that you practice in a large, open space, away from any obstacles that could damage your drone (or vice versa).
Firstly, learn to hover and land your drone. Once you’ve mastered that, you can begin to play around with movement – backwards and forwards, side to side. Then finally, practice fluid movements like moving in a circle. Remember to keep an eye on your speed, as it’s quite easy to pick up more momentum than intended which may cause damage.
Learning to fly your drone may be tricky, to begin with, but as with everything, practice makes perfect. Keep practising your flying, and once you’ve got the hang of safely moving around in the air, attach your camera and start going for shots!
Pro tip: Many drones have in-built cameras, If this is the case, then make sure that the on-board camera is of a good enough specification for your requirements.
Combine your skills
Learning to fly a drone is one thing – but learning to take photos while you fly is even harder. Don’t be put off by shaky photographs as you begin taking shots. Drone photography is a skill, and as such, it must be practised. Begin by taking shots lower to the ground, where the wind will affect your flying less. Then, when you’re feeling more confident, go higher and keep snapping until you’re satisfied with the quality of the picture. Once you’ve got the hang of it, try to apply the photography skills you’ve learnt to your drone photography, allowing for the perfect photo.
What to look for
With your newfound ability to fly, you can reach all new angles which were once impossible. Maybe try to play with perspective, catching photos that make you look twice. Look for details in the landscape which would otherwise be missed. There’s no limit on what you can achieve with a drone, as it opens a whole new door to photography techniques. As always, try to experiment with what you capture and find what works for you.
The UK has a great split of urban city sprawls to capture from a height and stunning natural locations such as dense forests or valleys. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas, visiting new areas you might have previously avoided. Look for contrasting colours that pop against each other, or gradients that blend perfectly together.
Know the rules
Most importantly, learn the rules regarding drone flying in your area. In the UK, it is illegal to fly without first registering and passing a theory test with the UK Civil Aviation Authority. On top of this, there are certain ‘no-fly zones’ within the UK where it is illegal to fly your drone, such as within 5km of an airport, for safety reasons.
However, once you’ve gotten hold of your flyer ID, most of the UK is still available, offering picturesque locations to get into drone photography.
Whether you plan on practising drone photography as a hobby or for work, it is an exciting and rewarding endeavour. Though it may be challenging at times, learning to take pictures with a drone is well worth it and hugely impressive. As long as you keep practising, it’s something you’re sure to enjoy.