Drone Photography Beginners Guide: 5 Tips to Get You Started (VIDEO)

OK, you just acquired your first drone so you can start capturing images with a spectacular aerial perspective, but you’re not sure where to start. This tutorial from the UK-based Yorkshire Photo Walks channel explains all the basics that are important to understand, and you’re unlikely to find them all in an instruction manual.

Instructor Tom Marsh covers everything from rules and regulations, rookie mistakes to avoid,  and essential camera settings. He also discusses key compositional concerns when shooting from above, how to make sure your drone returns in one piece, and a few other tips that will guarantee impressive images on your maiden voyage.

One mistake made by first-time drone users, according to Marsh, is storing batteries in a charging case or in the drone Itself. As he bluntly says, “just don’t do it.” That’s because this practice “wastes precious battery juice” for reasons he explains. In other words, store batteries separately if you want to save energy and extend flying time.

Marsh mentions a couple more common mistakes made by beginning drone pilots, one of which is “trying to run before you can walk.” He admits doing that himself and says, “the flashbacks still haunt me today.” So make sure you’ve mastered basic maneuvers before pretending to be a Top Gun fighter pilot.

Step #2 requires an understanding of what Marsh calls “the drone code.” This involves legal considerations that vary from one locality to another, in other words, where you’re allow to fly. He also explains how keep your drone safe so it’s not shot out of the sky by authorities or “an angry farmer.” And you’ll learn about a helpful app that provides an overview of no-fly zones, security risks, and other essential information.

Once you know where it’s safe to fly, Marsh recommends one further step before launching your drone. This is doing a bit of reconnaissance to pick out a location that looks great from the air—much in the same way that experienced landbound landscape photographers scout a destination before deciding where to shoot.

As you can expect, capturing aerial views requires a unique approach to camera settings, composition, and other key imaging variables, and Marsh discusses a number of key considerations for doing things right and increasing your odds of success. By following his advice you’ll be cleared for takeoff today.

There’s much more to learn on Marsh’s instructional YouTube channel as you evolve your drone photography skills.

And don’t miss the earlier tutorial we posted in which another accomplished outdoor shooter demonstrates how to use your camera’s Shutter Priority exposure mode to capture sharp photographs without camera and subject movement.