January 08, 2020

4 Comments

Unless otherwise stated, all words and photos are credited to Simon Markhof. 

 

As a photographer, you always try to get unique photos, unseen perspectives and new compositions to add to your portfolio. The times to capture a unique shot have become harder and harder with more and more people getting into photography. But as the market for camera gear grows, technology evolves and you can use this technology to your advantage. 

With drones, one of the great inventions in the camera gear segment of the last decade has hit the consumer market. They offer plenty of opportunities to step up your photography game. Here are some reasons, why you should consider adding a drone to your photography gear.

1. Size and portability

With the MAVIC PRO DJI built the first drone to be considered revolutionary. It was released in 2016 and was the first drones, that really crashed the consumer market, for more than one reason. 

Being the first drone to be considered portable the MAVIC PRO was a huge success. Compared to the PHANTOM SERIES it was tiny and came along with almost the same specs. It enables photographers to finally take drones along while travelling and at the same time eliminating the need for an extra suitcase for your UAV.

With the continuous enhancement of the MAVIC series DJI soon released better and lighter drones. With the MAVIC MINI in late 2019, they released a drone that only weighs 250g and could go literally anywhere with you. 

Drone operator wearing Vallerret Photography GlovesPhoto by Thomas Gallopin

2. Price 

As always in the tech market things get cheaper when more people buy them. While the first MAVIC PRO was at a retail price of around 1500€ you can now get it (used) for around 500€. That is a good price for being able to get to see the world from a whole new viewpoint.

The MAVIC MINI comes even cheaper at a retail price of around 400€ brand new. 

Unless you want the high-end specs, you can get drones pretty cheap these days, and still, not everybody has one

Drone image of a winding road

3. Image quality

Another thing you should consider is that drones offer great image quality. While the PHANTOM 4 and the MAVIC PRO had the same camera. The MAVIC 2 PRO offers way better image quality. The drone market is pretty similar to the smartphone market where image quality gets better and better while the size of the gadget stays the same or even shrinks down. 

So as a photographer you are not only enabled to see the world from a new perspective but also take shots with awesome quality.

A drone photo shot from above

 

4. New perspectives

The best part about owning a drone is definitely the change of perspective. While classic cameras are limited to the height of the operator for drones sky is literally the limit. The opportunities you have will boost your creativity and you will be able to convert ordinary locations to awesome photography opportunities.

Here are a few examples of how drones can give you the possibilities of capturing new perspectives:

  • Bird's eye view

The birds-eye view is the classic drone shot. It has become more and more popular over the last years but still ist something you do not see all the time. Flying your drone high and pointing the camera straight down enables you to see the world from a whole new perspective. You can photograph structures of nature, trees, roads and rivers and make an otherwise boring location look really awesome.

Drone Birds Eye view of water and a dock

  • The helicopter view

But the bird's eye view is not the only new way to shoot things. Compositions that could only be achieved while shooting out of a helicopter can now be done with drones. You can simply elevate your camera and shoot more than you can see from the bottom. This offers a new way to see things and opens up a lot of new compositions.

Elevated view of landscape from a drone

  • Self-portraits

Another interesting way to use your drone is taking self-portraits from above. For example, you can place yourself into the frame of your landscape shot and use your silhouette for scale. Of course, you can also take a classic self-portrait with the possibility to change the angle of your photo very easily. 

  • Panoramas

Drones usually don’t have ultra-wide lenses. But if you take a few shots all lined up and stitch them together you will end up with an ultra-wide shot from above. This is made easy because you can control the angle of your photo while the drone stays in the same place. You can shift your angle from left to right and tilt the gimbal up and down. Take as many shots as you like and stitch them together for a perfect panorama. 

  • Use drones as an element in the photo

Drones can not only be used to take photos. If you want to get creative there are heaps of opportunities. For example, you can mount a flashlight to your drone and fly it up in the air. Take a photo with your normal camera while you are moving the drone and you will get a cool light painting shot. Or point the light source down on your subject to use it as a source of light. The more creative you get, the more unique your photo will be. Try to experiment. With your drone, you have the perfect tool at your fingertips.

Drone Image of a winding road

 

The limitations

But as always - with great power comes great responsibility. As more people are flying drones, more restrictions are put in place. Many countries have strong regulations on drone flying and you should definitely play by the rules. 

Also, try to respect nature and other people. If you see a NO DRONE ZONE sign, don’t fly. Just because you can does not mean you should. There are signs for a reason - may it be to preserve nature or not to ruin other peoples photos.

With responsible use, you will have no problems, a lot of fun and you will definitely get some awesome shots you have not seen before - no matter if you are a landscape or a wedding photographer.

Drone image of water and land from above 

Simon Markhof 


4 Responses

Erica
Erica

February 04, 2020

Thanks for sharing that perspective, Andy. They can truly open up the world for some photographers. Glad to hear the Markhofs are helping you! :)

Erica
Erica

February 04, 2020

Great insight, thanks for sharing that Tamara!

Andy Dubreuil
Andy Dubreuil

February 04, 2020

As a professional photographer and being wheelchair bound, my landscape work is from the roadside or accessible path. 2 years ago I invested in the DJI Mavic Pro 2 and gives me that access that I’ve been limited to for so long. Line for all drone photography, it gives you new angles to your image, that can only be gained from the sky in a birds eye view.
Having the Markhof Pro 2.0 Photography Gloves gives comfort, warmth and access not just to a camera but yokes to control your drone.
AndyD

Tamara Stubbs
Tamara Stubbs

February 04, 2020

Most countries have restrictions regarding commercial work with a drone, and it would be worth adding into this article. The permissions are time consuming and expensive to do, and without them you can only take personal images, not great if you are a Wedding photographer as aforementioned. The costs in the UK are upward of £1000 to gain CAA permissions, the FAA has a similar system of exams though you don’t need to write a flight operations manual. In France you have to be ‘resident’ and do a 5 day course with exams, and I believe it costs around £12,000 to get commercial permissions in Norway. So every country different and most are requiring commercial fliers to do exams. Plus many countries have registration schemes now, so it’s not as easy as packing a small drone and taking it for a spin at a nice location. If only it was simple, hopefully it will become more so.

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