There’s a reason why there are almost 900,000 registered drones in the United States. Whether it’s for commercial surveying purposes or just plain fun, thousands of people are discovering the joys of unmanned flying.
One area that’s been completely changed by drone flying is photography. With a drone, photographers can capture high-altitude shots that were previously only reserved for people with helicopter access.
If you’re a photographer interested in drone flying, then you’re probably wondering what drone product is best for shooting pictures. Luckily, you’re in the right place.
In this drone buying guide, we’ll break down all of the things you should look for when searching for a good photography drone. That way you can start taking pictures of your dreams. Let’s get started!
The CMOS Sensor Determines Image Quality
Let’s start with the most important element when it comes to photography: the camera. If you’re going to be taking pictures with a drone, then you want to make sure that your shots come out as high quality. And, when it comes to drone cameras this is determined by the CMOS sensor. The larger your sensor, the better quality photos you can take.
A sensor that’s ⅓ of an inch is roughly the same size as an iPhone. As such, if you want good-quality photos, then avoid ones that are this small. If you want to take pictures that can compete with professional shots, then look for sensors that are one inch in size.
One-inch sensors are quickly becoming the industry standard. However, they aren’t the best in the business. If you want the most powerful sensor possible, then 4/3 inch sensor.
This will produce the clearest possible shots. In addition to your sensor, you should also pay attention to the shutter speed. If you plan on shooting outdoors during bright daylight hours, then we recommend a camera that can shoot at 1/8000 seconds. This will also help improve the quality of your shots.
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Do You Require a 4K Video On Your Drone?
If you’re just using your drone to shoot photos, then you don’t need to worry about 4K video options. However, if you want to shoot videos on your drone, then make sure to pay attention to the video resolution options.
If you plan on putting filters on your videos and uploading them online, then a 1080p resolution will be enough. However, if you want truly professional video shots, then look for a drone that comes with a 4K video.
This will allow you to work at professional industry standards. A good video camera on your drone can open you up to the world of commercial drone flying. Businesses will pay good money for cinematic video shots of their businesses for ads or website content.
However, if you’re flying for commercial purposes, then keep in mind that you do need to get the proper certification. All non-recreational flyers will need to take and pass a Part 107 certification.
Shooting Video? Look For a Mounted Gimbal
While we’re on the subject of video drone shooting, let’s talk about mounted gimbals. If you’re shooting video on a drone without a mounted gimbal, then it will inevitably come out as shaky and unusable.
Despite this fact, many cheap camera drones don’t come with a mounted gimbal. Or, they only feature them as an accessory. As such, make sure to find a product that comes with one if you care about shooting a video that’s steady and unmoving.
Editing Your Photos? Look For RAW/DNG Format Support
If you don’t edit your photos at all, then you can ignore this section. However, if you’re like most photographers, then you probably edit your photos in some way. Whether you’re doing it on your phone, or through professional software like Lightroom or Photoshop, you want to keep your editing options open.
And, the best way to do this is RAW/DNG photographs. This is because RAW/DNG records all the information that it receives from the camera sensors. As such, it opens up your editing options when it comes to post-production.
In addition to this, it makes shooting nighttime ariel shots a lot easier. Because of this, if you’re a fan of night photos, then you should find a drone that comes with RAW/DNG format support.
Stable Hovering Is Vital For Drone Photography
When it comes to drone photography hovering stability is everything. It doesn’t matter how big your camera sensor is if it’s shaking during flight. This will result in blurry photos that distort all the detail in motion lines.
So, how do you find a drone that can maintain hover stability without getting shaky? To do this, the drone needs to have a lot of onboard sensors and an advanced flight control system.
These advanced features can significantly raise the price of the drone. However, it’s worth it to make sure that your photos don’t come out blurry.
Is Flight Time Important When It Comes to Photography Drones?
Many drone shoppers are obsessed with the flight time they can get out of their batteries. After all, more flight time equals more photos, right? While this might be the truth, the reality is that flight time isn’t that important.
The main reason for this is that all drones come with a short flight time. Even some of the best drones in the business can only stay in the air for twenty to thirty minutes. As such, you should break the bank just to squeeze ten more minutes of life out of your drone.
Instead, what you should do is learn how to utilize your flight time so that you get the most out of every session. In addition to this, we recommend purchasing two additional batteries. That way, you can change batteries for multiple shooting sessions.
Look For Intelligence Function That Assists Your Photo Shooting
Intelligence functions can significantly hike up the price of the drone. However, they do come with a lot of benefits that make your life easier and improve the quality of your photos/videos. For example, some drones come with the ability to automatically track their subjects.
This is extremely ideal if you’re doing a photoshoot, or shooting a video that’s establishing a tracking shot on a subject. Autonomous flying likely also means that it has the option to fly home by itself.
This is extremely helpful if you’re flying in unknown territory and you get your drone lost while flying it. Others come with cameras that have x2 optical zoom. This function is important if you want to go from a long shot to a close-up without distorting your subject.
If you plan on shooting subjects that travel at high speeds, then look for a drone that comes with a mechanical shutter. This will also reduce the blur distortion that comes with shooting running targets.
Consider Purchasing a Popular Drone Over a More Obscure One
Sometimes in life, there’s a lot of reasons to take the road less traveled. However, that doesn’t apply to drone shopping for photography. When it comes to shopping for drones there’s a lot of reasons why you should select a product from a well-known brand over an obscure one.
First off, these products are popular for a reason. A lot of users purchase them, typically for their flying and photo shooting abilities. However, generally higher quality products aren’t the only reason why you should go with more popular drones.
The user community is also another big plus. When you start using your drone for photography you’re bound to run into obstacles. Whether it’s a user-based problem, or a technical one, it helps to have a large online community that you can troubleshoot problems with.
And, the more popular the drone the larger the userbase that can help with answers to your specific questions. As such, we recommend that you go with a well-known brand. For example, DJI is a great option for people who want both excellent quality and a large user community to ask advice from.
Enjoy This Drone Buying Guide? Keep Exploring
We hope this drone buying guide for photographers helped you find what to look for in a product. The truth is that there are hundreds of great drone products that can be used for photography.
All you need to do is make sure that it comes with the features that you need. After all, amateur photographers have different shooting needs than professional ones.
However, as long as you follow the advice in this article, then you should be in the clear. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find more topics that you’re sure to love.