The world is shrinking fast. Cheap travel, fast internet and a globalized culture means you can experience the length and breadth of what planet Earth has to offer more easily than ever. That doesn’t mean every place you visit won’t provide a unique experience to you and a camera drone can be the perfect tool to capture what makes a particular destination special in your eyes. Something your audience will appreciate, on social media or at a family gathering. So how can you “elevate” your travel photography with a drone? Here are some basic pointers.
Pick the Right Drone
The worst thing you can do is choose a drone for the job that’s going to get in the way. Drones come in all shapes and sizes. From tiny, foldable machines to massive professional-grade camera systems. If you’re going to have your own dedicated vehicle, you can bring along something fancy that needs its own case. If you’re going to be backpacking and using public transport, you’ll have to rethink that approach.
Use Your Drone as a Travel Buddy
Many modern drones are pretty autonomous. They can do a lot of the photography work without being directly controlled. If you’re travelling alone or want to include your travel companion in your photos, think of these drones as another person who is happy to only take photos of you and never want to actually be in them.
Some drones can respond to hand gestures or voice commands. It’s also common for modern camera drones to have selfie and “follow-me” modes. This means you can put yourself into your travel photos, instead of always being behind the camera.
This also means that you don’t have to stick to photography. Modern camera drones also do a great job at playing camera operator. They have sophisticated video capabilities that let you plan and execute some pretty impressive shots. Depending on the model of course.
Look for that Unique Perspective
A drone provides you with fundamentally different options than a tripod or handheld solution, so why let their limitations limit you? Think about the sorts of unique viewpoints or angels a drone can provide and use it for that instead of a photo you could have taken just as easily with a regular camera setup.
The same applies to video, think about what paths and angles are unique available thanks to your drone. Have you ever seen that monument or famous scene from above or at a certain height? No? It might be time to do something fresh!
A Drone Can Help You Explore
Using a drone for travel photography isn’t just about what you bring back from the trip. It can actually make things better while you are there. You can use a drone to find interesting locations and places you want to visit. Since you can view any photos or videos you take immediately, it can also reveal additional details about the place you’re visiting that aren’t so easily spotted with the naked eye. So, in a sense, you could think of your drone as an extension of your senses as you travel from place to place. Not just as a recording device.
Don’t Overdo It
The flipside of all this advice is of course that you could overdo it and ruin your end product. Not everything has to be filmed by drone. So in addition to asking yourself what unique things your drone can do for you, you should also ask yourself if you really need a drone to accomplish everything. Sometimes even a camera phone could be the better tool for the job.
Know the Local Laws
This is the big one. All over the world governments are grappling with the impact that drones are having on daily life. Which means there are plenty of new laws and regulations to contend with. That means you need to research the place you’re visiting and make sure you know what you are allowed to do with your drone while there. You may have to register your drone with local authorities and in some parts of the world you may even need a licence in addition to a permit. In the USA you definitely need one if your photography is commercial in nature.