From a bird’s eye view, there are completely new possibilities for photo enthusiasts. Our drone photo workshop gives tips for the perfect picture.
Photos are part of every trip. More or less professional cameras are almost always included and each stage is extensively documented. As a result, the trip will remain in your memory even after many years and you will enjoy reminiscing when looking at the photos. A whole new world is currently opening up: aerial photography for everyone. Fantastic new perspectives, great design options and fresh motifs are easy to shoot with it.
Many different types of copter are available on the German market. We take photos with a Yuneec Typhoon H Plus and the included CGO3 camera. Copters of this type are quite cheap and easy for beginners to master. Their cameras have a high resolution, are adjustable and take good photos. Before you go into the air, you should take out insurance that covers damage in the event of a crash. Basically, there is no flight over crowds or police locations and the distance to airports and ports is at least 1.5 kilometers. All copters must be fireproof labeled with the name and address of the driver and copters weighing more than two kilograms require an ascent permit.
Technically, some parameters can be set on the CGO3 camera just like with cameras from other manufacturers. This includes the exposure time, the ISO sensitivity and the white balance. Basically, you should take photos in RAW format, as the white balance can then also be retrospectively. In addition, the sensor data are not compressed as they are in the JPEG format when they are saved, and subsequent processing is possible without loss. The focal length and aperture are often not adjustable. Tip: It is best to test the camera settings on the ground.
Many photographers have these motifs in mind when they think of drones. Look at a section of terrain from high above and shoot large sections of the image. In order to take overview shots, it is worth placing the drone directly over the photo object and pointing the camera vertically downwards. This results in spectacular complete recordings. This method is particularly suitable for terrain areas with a lot of details. Tip: early in the morning it is usually less hazy.
The right angle
It becomes even more spectacular when the drone is not that high in the air, but close to the photo object and at the right angle. Depending on the size of the photo object, the right perspective must be found. The basic rule here is not too high and not too far away. As a result, the object would appear distorted, appear misshapen and less impressive. A lighthouse, for example, quickly turns into a tiny gnome or the roof of a maverick looks flat. Tip: Great color effects are created especially at sunset.
Drones can easily replace so-called rigshots. In the past, cameras with objects, frames, suction mounts and a lot of time had to be mounted on ATVs in order to achieve breathtaking motion pictures. Today it is much easier with drones. To do this, you need a straight line that is around 200 meters long and a little space to fly. In general, this photo should not be taken in blazing sun, as the camera aperture is often not adjustable and the photos quickly become too bright due to the long exposure time. The drone is positioned in front of the vehicle, also slightly offset, at a height of around one meter. The front and side of the vehicle should be visible. Together with the drone, the vehicle slowly accelerates to around 30 to 40 km / h. With an exposure time of 1/40 to 1/80 seconds, great moving shots are created, like our lead photo on page 94. The following applies: the lower the drone flies, the more exciting the photo. The drone can also fly over tall grass right next to the vehicle. Every viewer wonders how this photo came about. Caution: This motif requires good flying skills. Tip: Radios enable communication between the driver and the copter pilot.
Tips and Tricks
Some screw-on filters are available for the CGO3 camera. This means that long exposure times can also be used in bright light, as the filters, in simple terms, reduce the amount of light. When the photo is taken, it can be edited afterwards. It doesn’t always have to be expensive Photoshop. Adobe Lightroom for Mac and PC transforms pale RAW photos into colorful works of art. Simply increase the clarity a little, increase the contrast moderately and improve the colors. Everything is very simple and with a little caution with great success.
Drone photos are a great addition to the photo opportunities. With a little practice and increasing experience, grandiose photos are created that impress. However, safety must always come first, because photos with risk can also quickly go in the pants.
Text and photos: Martin Zink