Every time an aeroplane takes off and when we happen to peek through the window, we are wowed by the views below. Capturing these stunning views in the form of photos and videos is a daunting task. Thanks to the advancement in drone technology, aerial shots have amplified by multifold over the years. A drone is an unmanned, high-flying camera used to capture images from high up above, and flying one is so much fun!

Rakesh Pulapa

We sat down with our resident drone photography expert, Rakesh Pulapa, to learn about what it takes to get the best pictures and how he does what he does the best!

Here are a few tips that will get you started with your drone expedition.

1. How to choose the best drone based on your needs

Photo by Rakesh, Uppada, Andhra Pradesh 

The two major types of drones available in the market are the ones with built-in cameras and the other where you can attach your own. The ones that come with the camera might not have a high resolution, thus compromising on the quality of the photos. The latter is a better option since it is easier to manage, for you already would have had a hang of your camera and only need to learn to fly the drone. If you are a first timer, it is suggested that you go with the lighter and cheaper versions, because how well you fly a drone resonates with the output you receive.

2. Go through the instruction manual

Photo by Rakesh, Vietnam

We completely understand that you would rather be flying your drone than reading its boring manual. To get your chance of taking great photo and video content, it is important to read the instruction manual. Spend time in knowing what you can and cannot do with your drone. Also, how you can fly it increases your chances of nailing your photography.

3. Know your equipment in & out

Photo by Rakesh, Kovvur, Andhra Pradesh

Learning about all the features of your drone will be help you shoot effectively. Rakesh tells us that most of the commonly used drones have similar features. Here are some common features you would want to know.

       a. Smart mode or beginner's mode

Newbies trying their hand at drone photography for the first time can get stable and quality pictures, by switching to this mode.

       b. Applying Geofence

You do not want the drone to go haywire and escape your view, at least for the initial flying sessions. This mode essentially locks your drone and restricts its flying height and range.

       c. Tracking

A drone that comes with a 'follow me’ option ensures that you are always in the frame while taking photographs. This is easier and you are sure to get yourself in the shot each time, just by synchronising the drone with your smartphone's GPS.      

      d. Synchronise your smartphone

This feature allows you to see what you're shooting this increasing your chances of getting the perfect shot, each time.

4. Learn the local flying laws

Photo by Rakesh, Dusshera Celebrations, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh

With the recent misuse of drones, a few state governments have come up with regulations to curb any misdoings. For example, in Andhra Pradesh, for drones weighing less than 2 kilos, one has to register it with the local police station, similar to that of registering a car, before you can take it out for flying. It is important you read up your local federal laws on flying drones and taking the necessary steps. They vary with every country.

5. Be ready with a checklist

Ensure that you have a preflight checklist before you take your drone out for a ride. By doing this, you would not have to fumble last minute to make sure that your drone is safe and you could take good pictures.

Photo by Rakesh, Araku, Andhra Pradesh

Here's what Rakesh has to say when it comes to a checklist:

1. Recce your location

Look up your shoot location on Google Maps before the shoot. Our photographer suggests to switch to satellite mode to get a good view beforehand, as to how your output might look like.

2. Check the weather

Taking a note of the weather helps you to preset certain modes on the drone before the flight.

3. Battery life

Check if you are all charged up for the flight. One trick Rakesh says that he swears by is, to send the drone for far-away shots and bring it closer when the battery reaches 30-40 percent. This minimises accidental crashing and usability due to low battery.

6. Get used to your drone

You would not want to crash and burn your new shiny drone on the first flight itself. Practice makes perfect and it is important that you take it out on multiple flying sessions to get used to it, before the actual shoot. Rakesh tells us that one needs to choose big open arenas for practice and get a hang of all the controls.

7. Drone photography

Rakesh suggests to ensure that you learn to take photographs with a camera first. Transitioning to drone photography becomes easier that way. Basic rules of photography apply here too. Look for symmetry and keep the shots simple.
One can confidently say that aerial photography has created a huge impact in the world of photography and it is here to stay.

Check out Rakesh on Picxy.com to see his fine works!