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To capture that dream shot with your drone, there are numerous of aspects you need to take into consideration. Weather, laws, places to operate from and positioning are all crucial to the quality of your photography. You’ll find that by using some common sense and some tools, finding that perfect spot really isn’t that hard.

Be Familiar With Local Laws

The first thing when it comes to finding a good spot to shoot from is to be familiar with the laws in the area you plan to photograph.

A good general rule to start out with is that drones will be outlawed in air spaces near airports, military bases, and National Parks. Be conscious of any of those around you.

The next big step you should take is to check out the area on the popular app AirMap. AirMap is a free app that every pilot should have, as it details the legality flying in whatever airspace you specify. The FAA airspace maps are even powered by AirMap so you can be assured it is an extremely accurate and reputable source.

Bologna, Italy by Bogdan Dada

Check Weather Conditions

The last thing you want to have ruin your photography is bad weather. Clouds can sometimes make for some incredible drone shots (like this one) but rain, hail, and snow can all be detrimental.

While the drones offered on Lumoid could all take a little water, they aren’t fully waterproof and flying in too heavy of rain could severely damage them. Also, it won’t lead to many clear shots. You should avoid rain and snow whenever possible and hail will definitely damage your drone.

In cold weather, really anything below 40 ° F, you drone’s LiPo batteries will decrease in efficiency, meaning shorter flight times. Keep in mind that at high altitude, the temperature is colder, and condensation can actually freeze on the drones.

Heat can also impact your drone’s performance immensely. The hotter the conditions, the more lift that will need to be generated, causing your motors to work harder and therefore decreasing battery life. The drone may heat up too, so make sure you give it down time to cool off between flights.

The Wind is something you should avoid at all costs. You are at a risk of damaging or losing your drone, and the photography will be much less steady. The drones offered here at Lumoid are all rated for around 25-30 mph so they should be safe in this threshold. However, even a small wind of 5-10 mph will greatly impact your shots, so it’s probably best to just wait for a better day.

Finally, you should avoid fog as well, as the condensation from it can damage your drone just as bad as rain. Also, it would decrease your visibility, and the FAA requires you to fly your drone within your line of sight.

With taking all of that into consideration, check the weather of the area before you fly, paying close attention to temperature, precipitation, and wind levels. A great tool for this that many are now using is UAV Forecast, as it gives you all of the information you need, and a lot more.

Mühlebach VS, Switzerland by Bruno Perrin

Find A Nearby Place to Operate

It’s one thing to find a picturesque shot to shoot, and it’s another to be able to find a safe location where you can stand and operate the drone.

You’ll want to have as much of an open view as you can so you can see your drone during the flight. Remember, the FAA requires you to keep your drone in your line of sight when flying.

A great tool for surveying the nearby land is Google Earth, as you can view from overhead and find a perfect spot for operating your drone from. Good spots include tall hills or cliffs, large fields, or flat beaches.

Movements for a Great Shot

With using all of the advice already given, you should be able to find a great spot to shoot. However, the technical details on how to position your drone are key as well.

Operating your drone makes all the difference in how professional your video will look. Start at a slow steady pace, as it really allows the viewer to take everything in, and it adds a little dramatics to it. Use gradual movements on the control sticks, making sure not to accelerate or decelerate too fast.

Once you have mastered slow and steady, you should try operating with two axes of movement at the same time. An example would be going backward and down at the same time. Even more advanced would be three axes of movement, which would include moving your gimbal at the same time, which gives it even more of a cinematic effect.

In summary, make sure you are familiar with the flying laws in the airspace, check the weather conditions before, find a good place to operate your drone from, and understand how to operate your drone for the best cinematic quality. Being diligent with all of these aspects will increase your chance of getting that next best drone shot.

Feature photo by Emmad Mazhari

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