Must Know Drone Photography Tips, Tricks, and Laws
Flying drones for photography and capturing footage can be one of the most exhilarating experiences. But if you’re just getting started, it’s best to stay informed about the legalities of using a drone and what to do to take professional-looking shots.
When you first get your drone (also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle, UAV, or quadcopter), you first want to familiarize yourself with it. This will help keep you safe and minimize damage if anything happens. This article has compiled some must know drone photography tips and tricks and laws for better footage.
1) Avoid Obstacles
Obstacles such as trees and buildings can make it difficult to capture a smooth shot while flying your UAVs, so try positioning yourself in an open space where you’ll have ample aerial view. Also, make sure to avoid fields with long grass.
2) Position Your Drone
Depending on the requirement, there are several ways to properly position your drone for a great shot. The best way to begin is by flying your aircraft within its safe operating distance (SOD). This is the measurement when aircraft are allowed inside specified areas, so you should have enough experience with the device before you try to fly above this specific distance.
3) Use A Tripod When Taking Shots
A tripod can be used to capture smooth shots as it helps reduce impacts while taking pictures and lets out minimal vibrations during flight.
4) Fly At The Best Time Of Day
Flying during the best time of day helps in maximizing your shots. The sun’s rays provide great lighting for your drone to fly and capture sharp pics.
5) Minimize Your Power Usage
The same is true when taking pictures with any form of camera. Keep in mind that frequent or extended power drains will significantly shorten the life span of your battery, thus resulting in fewer shooting opportunities.
6) Fly At A Safe Distance
The FAA has said that drones should not be flown over 400 feet from the ground, which is the same for most UAVs. The organization recommends keeping your drone below this altitude during outdoor shots so as to avoid collisions with animals and humans.
7) Avoid Windy Conditions
Windy weather can make it difficult to fly a drone without experiencing wind resistance, thus creating considerable vibration. Hence it’s best to avoid flying during windy conditions. This will also reduce your drone’s range and flight time.
8) Learn The Various Flight Modes
The flight modes on your drone are meant to offer a stable and safe flight experience. When you master the different modes, you can take advantage of those more suitable for the shot you want to capture. Do not forget to consider the environment while choosing a mode, as certain modes are more effective in certain situations. For example, if you’re planning on taking pictures near a waterfall or a sea, it’s better for you to opt for an “Angle” mode as it’ll let out minimal vibrations when in use.
9) Reduce Your Camera Shake
One of the most common causes of blurred photos is due to camera shake. Several factors can lead to camera shake, such as using a camera with a long exposure time and flying at low speeds. Camera shake can be reduced by following three essential steps: setting your shutter speed, image stabilization, and flying speed. For you to fly at the best speed, it is crucial that you lower your takeoff altitude, thus increasing your flight time.
10) Keep Your Eye On The Screen
Most drones come with a Flight Recorder that serves as a playback tool for footage captured during flights. It can also be used to watch the flight path in real time.
11) Use The Right Filters
When capturing shots, a number of accessories are available that are meant to provide useful effects to your footage. These include drones with a slow motion function, which can be used for better viewing and experiencing of your shots, or the ones that come with filters designed for specific flying conditions like wind and rain. You might be interested in learning more about this practice here.
12) Take Advantage Of The Advanced Settings
Some drones feature advanced settings where you can make adjustments or adjustments that allow you to set different angles and speeds. A few of these advanced settings are meant to provide you with a smoother flight, as well as extend your battery life by adjusting the throttle.
13) Read Instructions Carefully
Each drone has specific instructions that should be followed to have a safe and smooth flight. Before each flight, read through the instruction manual so that you know exactly how to operate your aircraft.
14) Fly At The Correct Height
Each country has its own laws, and if you are planning on flying your drone in a country other than your own, it is important that you adhere to their regulations. The FAA recommends flying your UAVs within 400 feet of the ground. In order to avoid issues with airport authorities, ensure that you have registered and acquired a permit to fly. Read more about what you should know here.
15) Don’t Fly Over People
The people are some of the most common dangers you might face while operating your drone. There have been cases where people have been injured by having objects to land on due to the craft they were operating. Because of this, it’s important that you don’t fly your aircraft over people to avoid emergencies.
Flying above 400 feet is not allowed either, as this height has been determined as a distance where you’ll be required to keep your drone away from people and light objects. The FAA has also recommended keeping drones within line of sight at all times so that pilots or users can see their UAVs at all times.
Here are some additional drone safety tips:
– If you crash your drone, wait until the battery dies before trying to fix it. This is for your own safety and for the safety of others who may be flying around you. Electronics can be damaged if they’re not handled properly during flight, so when your battery dies, make sure you bring it home safely before trying to repair or take it out again.
– The FAA recommends not flying a drone within five miles of an airport.
– Flying a drone over populated areas and cities is prohibited unless you are registered with the FAA. It is illegal to fly a drone in America if you are not registered with the FAA (even outside cities or small towns). If you get caught, they may fine or even jail you. You can register your drone on the FAA’s website, but it’s too early to tell what the process will be like.