Use Drones to do Stunning Aerial Photography
Vantage point has always been one of the first things photographers think about. From which angle and what perspectives should the shot be taken? Vantage point has gone to a completely different level in past few years as technology has given photographers a gift called Drones. With drones, there are literally no limits in achieving any desired vantage point. It is now left to photographer's imagination as to how best he sees the subject and chooses his vantage point using drones. In this article guest author Ashley Lipman introduces you to the world of Drones, new possibilities and how it can be used to do uniquely effective photography.
Drone technology has reached a place where it’s not only viable, it’s more viable than perhaps it’s ever been. Drones are even being used in various scenarios from capturing wildlife to weddings today. Cost-effectively, you can acquire your own drone and get some stunning shots. Additionally, there are a lot of opportunities to get pictures that you would be unable to capture any other way.
If you’re working on a film, consider costs associated with aerial shots. Before drones, you’d either have to use an actual aircraft, or acquire a crane, to get the footage you need. Either way, the costs involved machinery, operator(s), safety considerations, and substantial planning. And in many cases what you want might just not be feasible.
Meanwhile, with a drone you just buy the drone, charge it, and one guy can make multiple photography runs cost-effectively via remote control, acquiring steady, high-definition footage that is oftentimes even better than older filming methods were capable of providing. That guy could even be you!
You save time, you save money, and you get better footage or even individual stills—but there’s yet a little more to it than simply purchasing a drone—even a fine one like this one.
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More Than Just Nearby Photography
Drones are designed today to have a range of miles. You can actually pilot a drone almost like piloting a simulated vehicle on a video game. There is a little screen which shows exactly the shot you’re getting and is on the controller of higher-end drones. But these drones are going to be north of $1k, and naturally designers want to help users get their money’s worth. Cheaper drones allow you to use your mobile as a screen on which live telecast of what the drone is capturing can be seen. All you have to do is download a specific app which manufacturers recommend.
The costlier ones however have in-built software and sensors which detects objects and overrides the controls of the drone. What this means is if there is a tree to the left of the drone, the drone will not go left even if you direct the drone to go left. While this is an extremely useful feature to avoid crashing your expensive drones, it can be especially annoying if you’re trying to catch a difficult shot which may require a little maneuvering. Imagine having everything line up perfectly, then suddenly jar for the last ten seconds because automatic sensors detected an object within a two or three feet perimeter.
Certainly these safety options can be turned off, but that’s going to make you vulnerable; so if you do turn off these automatic correcting features, you had better be sure that you’re properly prepared to pilot the device. This may require a little practice. Drone piloting isn’t quite as simple as interfacing with a video game and is a skill learnt over a period of time with lots of practice.
A number of factors can impact your control over the drone. Birds can get in the way, so can breezes, and so can weather. All you need is a low-hanging fog and a curious crow to cost you some substantial funding. Even a gust of wind at the wrong time can ruin a shot—though that said, many drones are specifically designed with stabilization controls that overcome the majority of gusts.
What you should do is familiarize yourself with the drone and practice the shots you’re looking for, in terms of video. In terms of stills, your best bet is going to be purchasing a drone carefully, and looking for the options you resonate with.
A drone can get lower and higher than most physical photographers can; and with a greater level of convenience. You can also use a drone internally to get action shots as well as specifically-engineered stills from unique angles as yet not fully trendy — drones are more expensive than traditional cameras, after all.
Generally, when you’re shooting stills on a drone using either interior or exterior subject matter, you want to set up the shot as best you can before the actual shoot. You’ll want backdrops. You’ll want to note the lighting. Lighting is perhaps the most important element of any photographic support. How that lighting interacts with backdrops and the like is likewise important.
At Denny Manufacturing you can find some excellent photo drops and banners to help you perfectly “set the scene”, as the saying goes. Some backdrops are going to be more reflective than others, and will so affect both synthetic and ambient lighting.
One extremely positive aspect of drone photography is the ability to instantly review the pictures you capture on the control mechanism. Since the higher-end drones can hover in place so level they appear to be “hung” in mid-air, you can subtly adjust it until you get exactly the right look.
It’s important to remember that not all drones are created equal. Cheaper may not always be better, and neither will extreme cost. You want to go with utility and options. The more skilled you are at basic photography, the more you’ll be able to use niche features.
Something else to consider is that if you’re using drones for difficult shots, you very well may want to have a backup drone. You’ll certainly want to have backup blades. You will definitely break them. Have at least three sets of backups so that when you’re down to one, you can order two new sets of four; as most drones are of the “quadra-copter” variety.
Another tactic to help you get the most stunning photography will involve piloting smaller drones around obstacle courses using VR glasses to help you get a better sense of how these little devices handle. Once you learn how to navigate a difficult course, you can bring the same skills to pricier drones, resulting in exceptionally engaging footage.
Uniquely Effective Photography
With a drone, you can sit at the base of a mountain and pilot your device to its peak and back, collecting stunning images all the way, and even catching footage which could not be acquired through any other method. Imagine slowly pulling up on an eagle’s nest located in a crevice tucked between craggy peaks in the Rocky Mountain wilderness. Drones make precisely these kinds of pictures possible.
But they only make such photography possible for those who know what they need, and what their goals are pertaining to the drone(s) they purchase. So if you go this route, practice with your drone, and prepare for repair. Over time you’ll likely acquire stunning videos, pictures, and even drone-piloting skill!
Note that all views expressed in this article are of the author
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