This is pretty simple but you don’t want to get home to find out you skipped one of these rules of thumb and now your stuff is all pretty much ruined.
As important as it is to get great shots, a lot of that actually comes just from completely avoiding all the easy ways you can goof it up.
Here’s my really simple DON’Ts for staying inside the bumper lanes and getting usable shots.
1. Shoot AWAY from the Sun.
Please. If you are anywhere withing 45 degrees of it, you wind up risking weird lens anomalies.
Watch out for shooting in harsh super bright sunny days as well. Clear sunny days look nice to you but your camera has a hard time with all those shadows.
Furthermore – if you turn directly around, you’ll see that the sun isn’t in your face and immediately have 10x better conditions.
2. Even lighting is great.
If you’re shooting something that’s completely in the shade, like inside of a stadium, it will look well lit. If you’re shooting on a cloudy day it will also look very nice and even. Both of these are because the light has already had tons of places to bounce off of first and spread out. Even if you’re facing away from the sun, it can create harsh shadows, especially in dark areas like trees. It’s like standing and facing the drapes on a sunny day and taking a selfie vs. standing in the center of a parking lot.
The clouds act like that giant see-through drape. The light is spread softly first before reaching you, instead of taking directly sunlight which is like using a flashlight to light yourself on camera.
3. The closer you can get and the closer to the ground, the better it will look ironically.
If you fly up 400 feet and try to look at something, it doesn’t mean it will have a giant wow effect, it will just be hard to see. Having a drone really just removes the limitations of the ground but it doesn’t mean you have to fly FAST AND HIGH you can do a slightly above ground shot if it makes sense.
4. We do NOT need to see any human err. You can’t have this in your reel at all.
BUT, if you do see symmetry DON’T try to adjust the drone to quickly line up the shot. You have to either follow through with it and hope it isn’t so bad in the end or try to delicately adjust the drone. VERY lightly touch the controllers to slightly adjust and hope it isn’t too obvious.
But there are MUCH more simple ways of dealing with this than the jerky, amateur default settings you are given by DJI. The downloadable PDF I gave out for Cinematic Flight adjustments was made exactly for this.
ABSOLUTE CRUCIAL Flight Settings for DJI Drones
to get the CINEMATIC IMAGE AND FLUID FLIGHT
(Optimal Settings to Maximize the Drones ‘Hidden’ Potential)
5. DON’T go for the save and obvious shot of looking directly at the thing. A unique perspective is shooting straight down or flying right down the middle of something like a jetty or pier.
A road, A runway, the center of a resort. Anything that is even on both sides or has a giant line down it. So easy to do its silly. This is also addressed in the post about 5 Cinematic Shots to Up your game TODAY
Drone shots aren’t completely unique and unheard of anymore, but still not a lot of people will have photos of their estate/casino/farm, whatever from a birds-eye view. Usually the lighting is easier this way anyway. So as usual, just aim for symmetry. Most drones have a grid you can place over the shot to line things up, but I suggest you develop an eye for it on your own.