Some of the most exciting developments in photography today are happening via the use of drones. More and more photographers are sending cameras into the sky on the backs of a few plastic propellers – and the results they’re getting are breath-taking.
To a novice, the concept of drone photography can be daunting, as there are factors to consider before making your first flight. To help you get started, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to get flying and snapping as quickly as possible.
1. Check the law
Before you even think about taking off, you must know exactly what your legal rights and requirements are in the country that you’re in.
In the UK, if you’re flying your drone for commercial purposes, you must have a pilot qualification approved by the CAA, and all drone owners must also obey The Drone Code. Be sure to familiarise yourself with where you are and aren’t allowed to fly, and stick to the rules!
2. Pick your camera drone
If you’ve never flown a drone before, this step is likely to take a little longer than the others. If you’re yet to master the art of flying your drone, the likelihood is that you’re going to crash it.
This is why the first thing you should do before mounting a camera to anything is to simply practise flying a drone – ideally a modestly priced model without all the pricey accessories. Until you get to grips with piloting a drone, it’s a good idea to practise with an inexpensive model until you’ve clocked up some airtime.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to pick the drone you’ll be using for your actual photography. The two most popular drone manufacturers are DJI and Parrot. If you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend £3k+ on a camera drone, we recommend the Parrot Bebop 2 for £449.00 – for a professional-grade camera drone, it’s great value.
3. Time for take-off!
Now you’ve got the gear, it’s time for take-off! Before you fly, check the manufacturer handbook of your drone to see if your drone needs calibrating before your flight.
Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to go! Here are our top tips to get started on snapping those photos:
- Check the rules… again. We know you’ve already done this, but it’s worth checking the rules every time you find a new location to fly, to see if the restrictions are different in this area and if you’re definitely allowed to fly there!
- Keep away from people. This tip isn’t to be anti-social – it’s dangerous to fly over crowds and also illegal in many places.
- Fly slowly and smoothly. This will keep your drone in control and it will help your shots too – it’s a no-brainer!
- Plan your flight. By planning your flights in advance, you’ll have an idea of what you want to achieve – hence you’ll be more likely to achieve the results you want.
- Trial and error. Don’t be discouraged if your first batch of flights doesn’t amount to anything noteworthy – drone photography is all about experimenting at first. Just take your time and see what your drone is capable of!