While I’ve written a number of drone articles on flying and photography, I feel like this one will help tie many of those together. Taking photographs with your drone involves a lot of different skills. So here are some things for you to explore that I hope will help you on that journey. Most of these examples use DJI products, but the basic techniques can be applied to any brand of drone. I also think you’ll find it much easier to explore many the basics on the ground rather than try to figure them out while you’re flying (except for the ones that involve flying :_).

First things first

The first thing you will want to do is to register your drone. It’s a requirement now whether you are a hobbyist or commercial drone pilot. You will also need to display your registration number on the outside of your drone.

  • Hobbyist registration here.
  • Part 107 Registration here.
  • Display your registration number on the outside of your drone. See my article here.

Next, learn the basics of your drone and how to fly it

Make sure you know how your remote controller works. What do the switches do? What button lets you take a photograph or shoot video? How do you turn the remote off and off? What do the left and right stick do? How do you power down the drone? These are just some of the questions you’ll want to know the answers to before you take off.

Learn how the smartphone or smart tablet application that controls your drone works and how to set it up and change things. In the case of the DJI drones that is either the Go or Go 4 app, depending on the drone.

Know how to take care of and charge your batteries.

Create a preflight checklist for what to check before you go flying. Here’s an example.

Next, learn the basics of how to fly your drone

The four articles below will get you started.

Now learn the basics of the camera and how to set it up

First thing is to decide if you are going to take photographs in manual mode, aperture priority mode or fully automatic mode. If you aren’t sure then check out the articles below for each one. In these articles, I also give you some basics on aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance.

  • Aperture priority here.
  • Fully Automatic mode here.
  • Manual mode here.

Now get out and fly, take photographs, edit them, learn from them and go do again!

The only way you will get better is to get out and try it. Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and you’ll get better and better at it.

Fly safe and have fun!