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When Photographers Take Flight: Tips on capturing great drone footage with Chris Schneider

With the popularity of hobby drones on the rise, more and more enthusiasts are experimenting with aerial photography. Places that were once off-limits or extremely hard for photographers to reach are now much easier to access with the aid of drones. So how do you get the best out of your camera drone?

Choose a quality drone with good stabilisation

You might be a great photographer, but that’s of no use if you aren’t a capable pilot. Choosing a quality drone with good stabilising features is really important. Even if you are an experienced drone pilot, to get great images you will want to be able to focus on your subject rather than concentrating on not crashing.


Look for a drone with automatic stabilising software and smooth glide gimbals as standard. There’s nothing worse than watching jerky video feed that looks like it was filmed by a chimpanzee with caffeine withdrawal on a rollercoaster.

Many drones on the market today come with automatic stabilisation technology that allows you to concentrate on the images you are trying to capture whilst your drone hovers in place. A gimbal is a pivoted support that allows your camera to move around. A quality gimbal is vitally important if you plan on taking videos as well as still images.

Yuneec’s Typhoon series of drones also have a range of features such as ‘follow me’, which as the name implies allows you the freedom to move around and perform stunts whilst your drone keeps pace and films as you go. Another great feature is ‘orbit’, which allows you to focus on one spot and move around, capturing different images from all angles.

Research your camera

Whether you get a drone that comes with an inbuilt camera or purchase a separate camera that can be fitted to your drone, you should take care to research the camera and what it can and can’t do. You may be tempted to save money by purchasing a budget drone with a budget camera, but it might cost you more in the long run.

Consider the quality of images you will be able to get out of your camera. Do you just want to take still images or do you need the option of video feed? You should also consider the inbuilt memory storage capacity and whether it can take an additional storage card.

Use automatic settings

Learn what settings your drone and your camera have that may make your life, and your photography, that much easier and better. A drone with an automatic hover or ‘follow me’ setting is one example. Some cameras also come with automatic focus functions that take the guesswork out of getting the perfect shot.

Hexo+ has made your job easier by creating a fully automatic, hands-free camera option that allows you to film from your smartphone. With just a couple of taps on your phone you can now share images straight to your social media.

Snap now, edit later

Don’t worry about getting the perfect shot instantly. Take as many pictures as you can while your drone has battery life and storage capacity. There’ll be time to choose the best images later, and you can then spend time cropping and editing them.

There’s also an endless range of editing software available to help you take a mediocre image and make it spectacular. What you should expect to pay depends on your budget and what you aim to get out of your photography.

Take a photography class

If all else fails, take a photography class. Check out social media or your local classifieds for drone clubs. Talk to other pilots and photographers; many will be happy to share their own experiences.

Don’t forget the new Australian rules apply; guidance here.


Chris Schneider is the Founder of Awesome Drones.

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