Aerial photography using drones opens up a host of opportunities for business usage, creative expression, and just plain fun.
The growing popularity and affordability of drones and quadcopters have provided a level playing field for aspiring photographers to get shots and angles previously unattainable.
However, before you get started with drone photography, you should be aware of tons of things. This post covers nine mistakes to avoid while using a drone for aerial photography.
1. Not having a flight plan
It is important to have a flight plan beforehand for two reasons: planning your flight allows you to maximize the chances of capturing awesome pictures, reducing the chances of crashing your drone. It also helps you spot any potential hazards such as power lines, buildings, trees, or any other large object.
2. Not shooting in RAW
Not shooting in RAW format is another big mistake in aerial photography. As you may be aware, shooting in JPEG, a compressed format, prevents you from correcting aspects of the image, such as exposure and white balance. No matter the purpose, it is best to shoot in RAW because it avoids lots of constraints to post-process it or print it in a large format.
3. Forget to check the weather forecast
You should always check the weather twice to ensure the skies are in the best possible conditions. Don’t rush out in a hurry with your drone if a storm is about to start, and the sky looks spectacular. Avoid flying your drone if it’s windy, raining, or snowing. Ignoring the weather can result in a drone crash, or even worse, losing it for good!
4. Ignore the local regulations
You should learn as much as possible about your country’s drone regulations before even considering purchasing a drone. Also, because laws change frequently, make sure you are up to date on the current ones. If you ignore the local regulations, the chances are that you’ll get into trouble one day or another.
5. Not shooting in Manual mode (M)
Always shoot in Manual mode (M). There are many situations where the drone camera cannot automatically set the exposure triangle values you need to get a particular photo. Some drones don’t tell you if your image is under or overexposed. Therefore, it is important to correctly choose the shutter speed and the ISO settings according to the light conditions after a few tests.
6. Not calibrating your drone compass
Before flying your drone, calibrate the drone compass if you’re in a new location or if you’ve moved since the last time you flew it. It’s the most effective way to keep your drone from acting strangely. To stay in place, most drones have an internal GPS and compass. Both tools also provide information about the drone’s current location and direction of travel. Verify that the GPS and compass are correctly set so that your drone knows where it is.
7. Forget to bring extra batteries
A battery allows you to fly for up to 30 minutes in most cases. That’s not a lot if you think about it. As a result, you’ll probably need more than one battery for a shoot. Remember to bring extra batteries, especially if you plan to shoot in a remote location without access to electricity. Make sure all of the batteries are fully charged before leaving the house.
8. Fly over crowds or animals
Most drone laws prohibit flying above people. Flying over people should be avoided as a general rule, especially in places you know there will be crowds (for instance, popular monuments or natural highlights such as waterfalls). It’s crucial to respect these people’s privacy and your safety. You will be held liable for any damages caused by your drone if it injures someone. Animals are no exception. They may be disturbed by the drone propellers’ noise.
9. Not carrying a basic drone repair kit
It’s relatively simple to lose control of your drone. The propellers are usually the first parts to be damaged. Always keep a few extra propellers on hand, and while you’re at it, bring some basic drone repair tools. After a minor collision, a basic repair kit can be invaluable. Extra propellers, a couple of small screwdrivers, duct tape, hot glue sticks, and a lighter should all be included in your kit.