6 Essential Drone Tips For Beginners

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I have owned a drone for the better part of 2 years, and I find it has the amazing ability to open your eyes to new perspectives. It has changed the way I look at the world and how I will look at travel forever. At first, I bought the DJI Mavic Pro and recently have updated to the Mavic 2 Pro. This has been a massive jump in image quality and for anyone serious about drone photography, this is the one to get. 

Starting with a drone can be daunting and overwhelming, the first flight has you shaking with nerves of excitement. So, for those looking to get into the world of flying drones, I thought I’d throw out a few tips for those just about to start their drone career to help out.

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1. Knowing where you can fly?

Make sure you check if you are allowed to fly first and foremost.

Drones may come off as toys but can-do serious damage in the air if flown in the wrong locations. Make sure you have read up on the CASA rules for drone flying in Australia or the local regulator where you live.

The next step is to check the specific location you have is ok to fly. I use OpenSky app available on both apple and android. These are great to quickly check in new locations to make sure the airspace is safe to fly; this could also save you a nasty fine

You can also use apps like Altitude Angel and AirMap. Apps like the PolarPro app help determine when is best to fly.

2. Watch out for birds and trees

I’m sure many other drone owners have had their run-ins with some curious and protective birds or some branches from trees that “came out of know where” but don’t get too wrapped up in the video/photo you are working on it could end in disaster.

The key is to always know your surroundings, check the flight path for stray branches and obstructions.

Have a spotter, if you want to focus on the shot get a friend to watch and guide you through, will save a trip to the repair centre. Birds can also become very protective in the springtime after having their babies, take a little more care when flying through trees as they can be very aggressive sometimes.  

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3. Take Your Time

This is something I have learnt the hard way.

As mentioned in step 2, without taking your time you end up crashing or running into something. This also extends into how to get the best video or photo, think about the image you are taking, what you want to capture and the main focus points.

If you are taking a photo, stop, let the drone hover and get stable then take the photo. This will save you getting the rolling motion when you put the photo up on the big screen. Most DJI drones will give you at least 20min battery life (When going pretty hard) which is more than enough to capture some incredible images.

4. Sharpness

Right out the box, the DJI drones are set up well, for most beginners the automatic settings will work perfectly for you. As your skills grow there will be many little tweaks that you make to suit your style of video or photography.

For me, I have only adjusted one thing in the settings.

In the profile settings of the DJI app, under custom, adjust the sharpness to be +1 (this isn’t labelled but is the triangle symbol), might not sound like much but will make a huge difference when it comes to the results.

Go try it out for yourself and see the improvements. 

5. Shoot raw

DJI cameras while good, still have a long way to come. If you can shoot the photo in raw this will give you the best results.

Raw allows the image to capture a lot more light so that if it is overexposed or underexposed you can save the image in post-editing later. You will need a decent program to help your photos pop. 

6. Editing photos

Straight out the camera, the drone shots can be a little lacklustre.

They will need a little bit of work, learning how to edit photos is a must for anyone who is seriously getting into photography. Thankfully this overwhelming task is made a lot easier through YouTube and the kind people of the world who have tutorial videos.

I edit with Adobe Lightroom CC, simple, easy, cheap and offers a way to back up your images in the cloud so you can access them on any device. Which for the modern photographer on the go you can easily post them to social channels or edit on the go. 

I know these tips are very basic, but I hope they help, sometimes the smallest tips can save you money and time. Drones have opened up a whole new way of looking at the world and it can be so incredible to even see your local surroundings from the sky. Super stoked for anyone who is about to fly a drone for the first time.

About the author – Brandan Trudinger

Drone Photography Bible would like to thank Brandan Trudinger for submitting this guest article. He is an incredibly talented photographer based in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Australia. His favourite areas to shoot include food, portrait, drone/aerial and landscapes.

You can find some of his work included in this article but his full gallery can be found on his Instagram account as well as on his website. Please visit his page, view his work and follow him.

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