Aerial Photography ➳ BETTER Shots In 3 Steps
Do you also get goosebumps when you see some really nice drone footage?! I am totally in love with the birds-eye perspective of the world. But you can really distinguish the pros from the amateurs. With these three tips your aerial photography will be like that of a pro!
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1. Flying by objects
Let’s practice flying! If you fly your drone high up into an open field, you will not see clearly on the footage that you are indeed flying. But there is an easy trick to show aerial movement by flying by, through, over and under objects. You will feel like an actual bird while watching those aerial photography and videography examples!
It might take some practice and time, but start easy and take it step by step. For instance, start with zigzagging through the trees, or fly in-between houses (Make sure to do it in a safe way!). As you practice, you will get more comfortable and smoother with manning the drone.
P.S. I use the DJI Mavic Air and I love how much it can do and how small it is?. Which drone do you use?
2. Filters For Better Aerial Photography Footage
I’ve been playing with drones for a while now and one of the best discoveries to step up your drone footage is… *drumroll*… filters! And I do not mean the filters you add while editing. I am talking about filters in front of the lens of the camera on your drone. There are two kinds of filters: ND filters and PL filters.
Often the scenery is too bright and the settings in the drone adapt to those bright situations by increasing the shutter speed and decreasing the ISO. If you are into more cinematic footage, the rule of thumb that states is that “The shutter speed should be double the frame rate”. So, if you film with a frame rate of 50 fps, the shutter speed should be at least 100 according to the rule of thumb.
A ND filter acts as a pair of sunglasses for your drone camera. It decreases the brightness, making it possible to film in the most cinematic settings. When you look up ND filters you will see a number to describe them. That number means how many times the light is stopped before it reaches the lens. For example, a 4ND means the filter stops the light 4 times. The higher the number, the more often the light is stopped and the stronger the “sunglasses”.
The Polarized (PL) filters are used to increase the contrast and to take away the reflections in the scenery. You will for example be able to see right through the beautiful blue water and see the coral reefs. Or you can see through windows. Another really cool thing about the PL filters is that they make the colours more vivid.
Tip ➳ Check out my minimalistic travel photography gear
Which filter should you pick?
So, the ND filters make the scenery darker and the PL filters increase the contrast and colours. For almost each type of drone you can buy a filter sets with ND, PL or filters that have both ND and PL in them. The type of filter you need to use at a certain moment always depends on how bright it is outside. In order to help you select the filter for that flight there is a very useful and free app from PolarPro available for your phone.
I would recommend buying a set with 3 filters with 4, 8 and 16 stops (ND or ND+PL filters). These filters will cover the most common situations. I personally love filters with both ND and PL filters because they combine both features. But it all depends on what places you would like to film and the style you want to portae.
Of one thing I am sure, the filters will blow you mind!
Tip ➳ Fly your drone over Padar Island in the Komodo National Park at sunrise
3. Slow Movements
Fly like a bird…. Na na na naaaahaa. Well, birds fly smoothly. No shaky or shock movements please, the birds might get air sickness. Your drone footage will look more professional if the movements are very smooth. One thing to get smooth footage is the make slow, and I mean very slow turns and adjustments to the angles of the drone and camera. This can be easily achieved with gentle movements of the joysticks. Also, something to make it easier there is a feature on most drones nowadays called “cinematic”. This feature makes sure every movement you make with the joystick is smoothened out. PERFECT!
Which tip did you find the most useful? Let me know in the comments?
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