Utilizing the rule of thirds is an incredibly simple, yet effective way to improve your aerial photography. Of course, rules are made to be broken, but if you’re a beginner looking to enhance your photography skills, the rule of thirds is a great place to start.
So, what exactly is the rule of thirds?
When taking a photograph, you should set your viewfinder/ screen to display a grid. The idea of the rule of thirds is to place the subject of the image either where the lines intersect one another, or on the lines themselves.
Research has shown that our eyes naturally fall on these points of the image. Therefore, if the subject is placed on one of these lines or intersections, the overall image is more satisfying to our eyes.
There are a three ways to change the brightness of a photograph; shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Adjusting your drones ISO should always be your last attempt to make the photograph brighter.
This is because the higher the ISO, the more ‘noise’ you will have in your photograph. That’s why it’s best to try and always have the ISO as close to 100 as possible (or it’s lowest ISO setting).
You will notice that the higher you set the ISO, the grainier the image looks. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about that when you’re editing the photo. That’s why it’s best to set it as low as possible on the camera.
You can also read this full guide on Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO to get a better understanding of each one and how the effect each other.
When I first started using my drone for aerial photography, I wouldn’t even think about checking the weather. It didn’t take long for me to realize the weather conditions have a massive effect on your ability to take a good photograph with a drone.
Firstly, grey, overcast weather doesn’t look all that great in photographs. Sure, you can edit them a little bit and some may look good, but the overall image won’t look as good as a photograph taken on a sunnier day.
Secondly, rain and strong winds are a big no no when it comes to flying a drone. Strong winds will make it hard to control the aircraft, let alone get a nice still image of what you’re trying to shoot. As well as this, rain can be the death of your drone, so it’s best to only fly when it’s dry outside.
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect and that couldn’t be truer than with aerial photography. That’s why it is important to practice whenever you get a chance, even if it means having a 10-minute flying session in your front garden.
Getting used to a drones’ controls can be hard enough, that’s why it’s important to master the basics first, before attempting anything to tricky.
Practice framing objects using the rule of thirds we discussed earlier, getting used to the controls and get to know your aircraft inside and out.
The golden hour is the hour period after sunrise or before sunset. During this time, the sunlight tends to have a read/ orange tint.
This period of time allows you to capture some pretty spectacular photographs and adds more depth to the image. Shooting at golden hour is a pretty handy little trick that can take your aerial photography to next level.
There’s a plethora of different camera drones out there, and finding the right drone for your individual needs can be a bit tricky.
The good news is that there’s a tone of guides, websites and YouTube channels out there dedicated to helping users find the best drone.
One factor that is going to have a massive effect on your drone is your budget. Some of the best camera drones can cost less than $1000, whilst others cost $3,000 and up.
A couple of great examples of high quality, consumer level camera drones are the DJI Mavic Pro and the DJI Phantom 4. Both of these drones cost around the $1000 mark and are fitted with high quality cameras as well as a whole range of intelligent flight modes.