Elevate your photography to new heights with a drone

The beauty of a birds-eye view

Story by Jordan Matthis + Photography by Moonlight Productions 

Throughout history the fascination with viewing the world from above has endured, offering a unique and inquisitive perspective of our surroundings. In the past four decades aerial photography has experienced astounding development, tracing back to the earliest survival aerial photograph taken in 1860. This captivating image portrayed Boston, skillfully captured by James Wallace Black as he tethered a camera to a hot air balloon. Fast forward to the present day, where cutting-edge technology has introduced us to the realm of drones capable of reaching altitudes of 400 feet and beyond. 

Boston, 1860

Join us on a step-by-step journey as Ryan Greco, a skilled videographer and photographer from Moonlight Productions, shares valuable insights into entering the dynamic realm of drones, aerial photography and videography.

Drone piloting 101

Ready for a drone adventure? First, figure out why you want one: fun, creativity, business, filming, photography or all of the above. Once you know your goals, do some research to find the perfect drone that fits the bill. Don’t worry, there are many options, but a clear purpose will make choosing a breeze and meet your unique needs. 

Before takeoff, make friends with your drone and study its operation manual. Think of drones as mini aircraft, packed with cool features like accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, barometers and GPS. Depending on your drone model, there may be even more exciting features to discover. Greco’s drone, for example, boasts a handy “return home” function, so if you lose its signal, it’ll fly right back to you. This clever feature has made Greco’s drone resilient and long-lasting.

Ready to reach perfection? Practice, practice, practice. Find open spaces like fields or parking lots to master drone maneuvers and understand its technical side. Dive into the world of photography and videography by mastering your drone’s camera settings. If you know traditional camera settings, you’re off to a flying start. If not, take a step back and learn the basics of ISO, shutter speed, depth of field and aperture. This knowledge will give you ultimate control over your drone, allowing you to capture stunning shots with finesse. 

If you’re thinking of going pro, check out the Federal Aviation Administration website for more on obtaining a drone license. Remember, safety comes first. Greco advises getting licensed and insured to protect yourself and everyone around you, whether you’re on a business mission or having creative fun. Additionally, consider enrolling in a drone license course to enhance and simplify your learning experience. 

Start having fun, and bring your creative vision to life as you soar to new heights, expanding your horizons with drone photography and videography. According to Greco, the ultimate advice for novice fliers is to embrace the fun and take the plunge. Explore different angles, fly over and under objects, switch between slow and fast speeds, and figure out how to fly with the weather. Let your imagination soar, but always prioritize safety by planning your flight maneuvers in advance. 

Aerial photography has soared to incredible heights, thanks to advancing technology that continues to evolve and expand into a multitude of work fields. For Greco, starting out before drones became popular within the community, he never anticipated the remarkable places it would take him. So seize the opportunity and dare to explore new heights with your own drone adventures.

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