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What Is Drone Photography?

What is drone photography featured
It's growing in popularity, but what is drone photography used for? Image credit: Josh Sorenson

What is drone photography? To understand how drone images could help your business, let’s step back to look at the basics of this exciting and fascinating trend.

A drone is an unmanned aircraft operated by remote control by someone on the ground. They can also fly autonomously, to various extents, with a programmed flight pattern and GPS technology.

Drones are becoming ever more popular and are now used by the Army, farmers, photographers, hobbyists and more. More importantly, they’re used by more and more marketers to create incredible video content.

What is Drone Photography?

Drones often have cameras but to take good quality photos or videos you’ll tend to need something a little more high-tech. That’s because, while the technology to fly a drone has been around for awhile, adding a high quality camera to the mix is something fairly new.

Fortunately, technology trickles down over time.

Because of this, professional quality content can now be created using consumer grade tools. While these may lack more advanced features, it is nonetheless possible to create excellent content without breaking the bank.

Popularity of drone photography stats
The drone industry has exploded over the last decade. Image credit: StatCDN

Controlling a Drone

Drones can be flown with a controller or an app. Some are even capable of covering up to four miles in a single flight. The most common drone is a ‘UAV’ or unmanned aerial vehicle. These drones operate a little like a helicopter.

There are also VTOL Drones, which are larger and operate even more like a helicopter, and drones that are more airplane-like with fixed wings. These need a runway to take off and land, and are the type most likely to be used by the military, or some civilian scientists.

Drone Photography

The idea of using drones for photography is being taken more seriously all the time as the technology continues to improve. The latest models can shoot 4K video and 12 megapixel still images.

Until recently drones used a camera not best suited to “real” photography.

They had a wide-angle view and issues with distortion. That seems to be in the past though, as cameras on drones are getting more and more sophisticated and are capable of capturing higher quality images.

There are now drones specifically designed for photography. In recent years, drones with professional optical zoom lenses have also become available.

The first of these had 22mm to 77mm zoom capability and were good for industrial uses. Soon after there came a 30x zoom, giving a way to inspect areas like towers that cannot be reached by normal means.

The newest drones have infrared and low light night vision cameras to increase their capabilities even more.

When are Drones Used for Photography?

For years photography has been defined as capturing images with the use of film at first, and then by electronics.

Drone technology can redefine photography to some extent because it takes the camera out of the hands of the photographer. Like the arrival of the SLR, electronics are still used to capture the image but with drones, you are not limited by how far you can reach.

Drone photography stats
Photography makes up the largest chunk of commercial drone usage. Image credit: 17QQ

Aerial Views

Drones give photography new dimensions when you consider the aerial view they allow.
Essentially an aerial view is a view from above, looking down onto something. Usually we think of photos taken from airplanes, or images produced by a satellite.

Drones do the same thing, but the difference is the mobility you have with a drone.
You can program, or control, the drone to reach places in far greater detail.

Drone Photography for Digital Marketing

Drone photography is increasingly being used by businesses to market their products and services online. This is because drone photography is a cheap and easy way to create professional looking visual content.

For example, if you run a tourism business, drone photography is a cost effective way to create impressive content showing off your offering. Similarly, if you market physical goods, like cars or homes, drone photography is an excellent way to create experiential content.

High quality drone photography can also be achieved on a range of budgets. You can either do this in house, or outsource your drone photography to a professional content agency. Drone can be acquired cheaply, while professionals will charge an hourly rate.

Alternatively, many companies with smaller budgets choose to use stock video for their drone footage, instead of creating this from scratch. This is an excellent way to reap the benefits of drone photography, without incurring the expense.

Video content stats
Consumers love video content, and drone photography is a great way to meet this need. Image credit: Oberlo

What is the Best Drone for Aerial Photography?

There are several kinds of drones on the market, and now there are more aerial photography drones being released.

One of the best is the Halo Pro Bundle. A great feature is the zoom lens, as well as 4K video capability. It features one-touch take-off and landing with a controller shaped like a watch. It has a “follow” module that allows you to track where the drone is.

You may also program this drone to make up to 30 stops on a map, and it will photograph each one. All you have to do is set it up and let it go.

Another welcome feature of this drone is that you can remove the camera to use as a sports camera, such as a body worn camera or mountain biking camera.

Summary: Is Drone Photography Right For You?

When it comes to drone photography ,the final image is everything. These days, drones which can shoot 4K video are surprisingly affordable.

Stability is another key factor. The drone needs to be able to hover above what it is shooting. It doesn’t matter how good your sensor and camera are if there is too much vibration. Stable hovering needs advanced flight control systems, which are the latest technology.

A “gimbal,” which helps keep the camera stable enough for good video quality, is an essential for quality video.

Experts also recommend stretching to the best quality you can afford and buying a drone from a well-known manufacturer.

The ‘you get what you pay for’ rule applies!

There is a reason Nikon and Canon are by far the most popular brands of cameras. They’ve built up a reputation for quality, but they still come at a cost. The same idea holds true in drone photography.

Often, you’re better off outsourcing your drone photography to someone with professional knowledge and expertise than spending more time and money trying to get the same results for yourself.

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