Once you have chosen an NQE (drone school) and gained your PfCO, doors will open to many and varied commercial opportunities. Further to this, a good understanding of aerial photography will come in handy. Knowing your ‘apertures’ from your ‘aspect ratios’ and your ‘bokeh’ from your ‘burst mode’ will allow you to not only capture stunning landscape images but also teach you clever ways to create spectacular wedding or festival imagery not to mention show you how to use your platform to collect imagery and data for building and construction mapping.
The PfCO course will teach you some fundamentals; You’ll learn the dos and don’ts and become familiar with the legal permissions and limitations of operating a drone commercially. For example, you’ll learn that having the PfCO entitles you to fly in a congested area which is something that you cannot do if you don’t hold this qualification. However, If you are looking for to make yourself stand out from the crowd… you’ll definitely benefit from an aerial photography course.
A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), guided by a hand-held, ground–based controller. These controllers can vary in size and shape. Commonly used controllers come in the form of tablets, smartphones, and gamepads. Radio waves are used by the controller to navigate and send signals to the drone. There are some drone controllers that have modes built into them that allow for the platform to fly completely autonomously, via waypoints which are either pre-programmed or via motion sensors which detect a moving subject and ‘follow’. This clever technology is helping in the evolution of drones. Have a look here. at what Dolce & Gabanna did with drones at one of their most recent catwalk shows!
Here are some tips and tricks:
When planning a commercial drone operation, be it a wedding or some aerial mapping, you will need to take into account the weather forecast. Manage your customers and client’s expectations by gently reminding them of the limitations that are put upon you by the weather. Safety being the key to any drone operation, you will need to work carefully to avoid being caught out. We are big fans of windy.com. Windy is a fantastic site and application that will give you current and forecast weather throughout the world in amazingly clear graphics. Have a look here to see what we mean.
Unless you own a waterproof drone, never fly in the rain… it’s a no-brainer. Not only will it put people at risk if your drone decides it’s had enough of the wet stuff but your warranty is null and void if the drone dies in a shower.
Another useful tip would be to consider where the sun will be in the sky at the time of year that you’re out flying. Why? because your ability to see the drone (known as VLOS Visual line of sight) could be greatly reduced on an autumnal day when the sun is low (and in your eyes). Think about positioning yourself with your back to the sun but NEVER lose sight of your drone. Article 94 of the Air Navigation Order (Rules for all pilots) strictly states that you must be able to see your drone at all times….and no binoculars don’t count!!
You never know when the weather may change mid-shoot or whether the decided zone that you pick to fly in may become a no-fly zone. Be prepared to change your plans and make the most of what you have available to you. This may mean packing spare lenses for different lighting and also having back up locations readily available. This is the best way to not waste your day and still have the best possible outcome from your planned shoot.
Taking photos in a RAW format ensures that all image data is captured and not lost due to being compressed. Because no information is compressed, you’re able to produce higher quality images. If you opted for a JPEG format, your images would be unrecoverable if they are problematic. Whereas shooting RAW allows you to capture all image data and then edit as you wish afterward. In addition, this will allow you to capture greater levels of brightness and higher quality images. This kind of tip isn’t usually on a normal drone school course. Find out more about the benefits of using the RAW format here.
You will find that image composition can either make or break your image outcome. You want to look for balance in an image between negative and positive space and a good quality colour balance. This is achievable with the thirds overlay as it helps to navigate and dictate the arrangement of the visual elements on the image so that you can have the best possible outcome. Furthermore, using the thirds grid overlay allows you to have the perfect sized image and will save you time from having to crop it down to the desired size.
Here at Hummingbird UAV, we have a variety of drone courses available. This includes drone flying courses, aerial photography courses and flight assessment preparation days.
Our aerial photography and videography course will give you tips and tricks that will stay with you throughout your piloting career. You will learn all about your particular drone cameras capabilities. In addition, you will learn to shoot in RAW, about different lighting and making the most of shaded areas, the rule of thirds and much more. Take a look on our website to explore the course outline and syllabus here.
Our aerial photography course is half a day long. It requires 5 participants to take place. We teach the course at Hangar 3 at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, in our state of the art classroom facilities. Our course is just £99 per person.
Our team of experts all have varying qualifications and expertise in a range of different specialist UAV qualifications. Our aerial photography specialist is Nick Sievewright. Nick has over 10 years of experience in the industry and has taught over 500 people. Nick is passionate about photography as he first began it as a hobby. Now Nick has almost 10 years experience being a professional photographer and enjoys sharing his experience in the industry with others. After all, the best teachers are the ones who enjoy the subject as a passion.
If you are interested in any of our drone school courses or wish to learn more about what we can offer you, take a look at what we have to offer here.