The past few years have witnessed an exponential growth in the popularity of drones, particularly camera drones. Thanks to technological advancements, manufacturers have been able to produce affordable quads on a large scale, opening the window for drone enthusiasts around the globe to own a unit.
One of the most common applications of drones today is aerial photography. These exciting devices allow you to capture practically anything from the air, but no field of photography sits better with an aerial view than landscape photography.
The following is an introduction to landscape photography with a drone.
Landscape Drone Photography
The first thing you’ll need for landscape drone photography is obviously a drone! But with so many types and brands of quads in the market, picking the right product for this can be a little bit confusing.
For a beginner, something worth noting is that some drones don’t come ready to fly straight out-of-the-box. As such, you want to focus on acquiring an RTF (Ready-to-Fly) drone for a more seamless process.
Generally, you don’t necessarily need a high-end drone for landscape photography. Just like in traditional photography, many amateur snappers tend to believe that investing in an expensive quad is the key to mastering the art of drone photography. But this is not the case!
While using a DJI Inspire 2 would be amazing for landscape photography, you have to consider that not everyone has the financial muscle to afford this top-of-the-line drone model. That is why something like the DJI Mavic Zoom would make a wonderful alternative.
Not only does it have all the highlights of a great photography drone- a high-quality sensor, manual camera controls, capable lens, stabilization feature-but it is also available at a much more reasonable price.
So, instead of blowing your budget on a premium quadcopter brand like the DJI Inspire, you can settle for a budget-friendly yet practical enough option like the hubsan zino drone.
Choosing a Drone Camera
When it comes to drone photography, the first thing to consider in a quad is always the camera. Although the majority of drones on the market today have a built-in camera, most of these cameras don’t come with a sensor as large as APS-C or the Full-frame on DSLRs.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that they won’t get the job done!
Alternatively, you can opt for a quad without a built-in camera but one that offers a built-in camera-ready mount. This allows you to select the best camera to pair with the drone, as long as it’s compatible with the mount.
Once you get to the professional level of landscape drone photography, the DJI Inspire 2 is a great example of a drone that comes with a camera-ready mount you can choose. You have a powerful set of camera options to use alongside the DJI Inspire, including the X5S, X7, and X4S.
Just like in other kinds of photography, the RAW rule still applies to landscape photography with a drone. JPG files might take up less space on a memory card, but you also need to note that JPGs are compressed, meaning you lose some of the data captured by the camera’s sensor.
Furthermore, when it comes to processing the drone footage, you want as much data as possible for your work to be easier. This is only possible when you’re shooting RAW.
Another thing to keep in mind is that drone cameras typically have a lower-resolution, so you need to retain as much detail as possible.
For the best results when shooting landscape images with a drone, you want to prepare your shooting parameters well in advance. Drones, after all, have limited time in the air; so, you want to make the most of the time available.
If you are using manual settings, remember to set the appropriate shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and F stop. Those who have a background in photography will understand what this means. If not, you must get familiar with each one of them.
Use the HDR Feature
Taking landscape shots from your drone can be a little challenging for the camera considering that there is so much to be captured in one composition, sometimes including the sun. Any camera will struggle to capture so much dynamic range.
In case you notice that your images have overblown highlights or too dark shadows, you might want to take advantage of your quad’s bracketing feature. What this does is command the camera to capture multiple shots at a very fast rate and different exposures.
You can then merge the subsequent images into a single position with HDR (High Dynamic Range) software like Lightroom or Photoshop during post-processing.
There is great potential for using drones in landscape photography. This can only get better with time as more tailored drones continue to be produced by manufacturers. So, if you’re thinking of being a landscape drone photographer, this post gives you crucial pointers on how to get started!