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MORE TOP TIPS for awesome drone photography

We continue our tips from a seasoned photographer on how to elevate your drone imagery.

 

To make great images (and videos) takes hard work and lots of practice ... and the right knowledge.

Gain in-depth knowledge and skills to improve your imagery by registering for our GDS Drone Photography workshop.

#6  BRACKETING IS KING

Ever wondered how the pro's get that amazing shot with just the right exposure?

Sure, a lot has to do with having an eye for photography ... but the importance of understanding exposure and bracketing cannot be underestimated!

 

Bracketing is the process of under- and over-exposing your camera's 'recommended' exposure to ensure that you capture shadows, midtones and highlights in all their glory. Sometimes the most emotive image is one that has a little mystery - often created by intentional under-exposure of certain elements within the composition.

The image above shows how important bracketing is - if you've ever tried taking images in the snow (or sand or bright direct sunlight) you'll understand.  Because of extra reflected light, your camera's exposure meter can be tricked into thinking it is much brghter than it really is, and will compensate with a shorter exposure - which will can result in dull and contrastless scenes.  Bracketing allows you to choose the most approriate exposure for your desired end results.

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#7 Shoot Manual

Whilst camera metering has come a LONG way over the years, and their accuracy across various scenes and situations has meant that your average photographer can capture a decent image ... who wants to be average?

Understanding how a camera meter indicates exposure is vital to understandong how environmental infuences, lighting sources and directions, and altitude will affect this exposure.  

A camera meter 'averages' the exposure across a sceen to make as much of it acceptable as possible.  And while newer meters can weight-average or spot-meter for more accurate results, the word 'average' is still the key here.

So maintaining full control over how you shoot is vital.  Shooting manual means you retain that control and can create the imagery you desire instead of allowing the camera to average it all out for you.  If you want moody, are chasing colour vibrance, or simply matter-of-fact results, this can all be achieved by remaining in control of the exposure.

#8 ISO + ND

 

ISO rating is a representation of the sensitivty to light.  Originally denoting a film's "speed", ISO applies equally to digital sensors - albeit digital sensors are able to achieve ISO ratings far in excess of what film could ever have dreamt.

All of this indicates the relative sensitivity to light - especially important for low light conditions - in order to capture an acceptable image.  

Conversely, if it is very bright, even using the slowest possible ISO rating may still result in overexposure - hence the use of neutral density (or ND) filters.

ND filters reduce the amount of light transmitted evenly across the camera, allowing for exposures to be lengthened enough to allow for the appropriate exposure to be utilised.

During day ight hours and in bright light environments, ND filters can allow for slower exposures to enhance shadow detail, create motion effects or even just prevent washing out of highlights.

ND filters are a usefool tool, but like any other - should be used only when really needed.

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#9 POST PROCESSING

 

Once the images/videos are captured, there is a vast range of opportunities in post-processing to create the desired end result.

PP can allow you to create slow-motion effects on segments of your footage, transition between scenes, increase or decrease exposure to compensate for problems or to create particular effects ... the possibilities are endless.

With the vast array of post-production video and still image software available - both free and purchased - you can easliy output your movies to a variety of channels.  Some even automate the YouTube/Vimeo/Instagram/Facebook/Twitter formats for you to quickly and easliy share.

Just remember - downsampling (reducing output quality or size) is fine for making your files smaller, but upsampling (increasing the output quality or size) can be fraught with quality issues.  So, take heed of Tip #3 

#10 EXPERIMENT

The only way to fully understand all fo the concepts mentioned here and in part 1 is to EXPERIMENT.

Try out different camera settings, exposure modes, lighting conditions.

After all, practice makes perfect.

Look out for more instalments of TOP TIPS for Awesome Drone Photography.

REGISTER for a workshop to take your drone imagery to the next level.

Check out GDS' Drone Photography Workshops.