Drone portraits - an emerging genre in photography
Basic Photography
August 29, 2018

You must have seen the shots of the earth’s surface, from high above. Some unique patterns, some sharp group portraits, unbelievable landscapes, unseen viewpoints, what so ever be it; they look more than just stunning. Drones are mini aircraft capable of shooting photographs with the cameras that have been attached to them. Drones are controlled remotely using the controller. The amazing perspectives that the drones offer are the primary reason of their existence and not only existence now; they are breaking into the photography market quite remarkably. Drones have emerged like a ground breaking truth and are changing the world of photography rapidly.

Let us look at a set of tips on shooting drone portraits and how to fly into this emerging genre of photography.


1)   Shooting in RAW mode:

Drone cameras have the option to shoot in raw. Once you have this option, you must never look beyond. The cameras are not actually as powerful as your dlsr cameras. To make them light weighted, the sensors are smaller. Smaller sensors don’t do well in low lighting conditions. To stand up to such challenges, shooting in raw is the only option. Raw files allow you to do a lot of manipulations without any hassles. A compressed jpg file on the other side will not be able to provide such a luxury. Shoot all the drone portraits in the raw mode. You can do retouching and post processing later to enhance the subject’s face.

2)   Use the bracketing option:

Judging the exposure by looking at the LCD is never the best option. It is always advised to get multiple exposures of the same composition. You can later choose the exposure that looks the best to you. This option is called image bracketing. This lets you take 3 to 5 images of the proper exposure and a stop or two on either side of the proper exposure setting.

3)   Operate in manual:

Drone cameras are quite efficient these days. However they are still not close to the dslr cameras. Manual operation should be on your mind all the time. By operating in manual, you can always have the ISO kept at minimum unless required. One way to shoot portraits with the correct exposure is to switch to the programmed mode and find the settings the camera is offering you. Switch back to the manual mode and you already know what you need to do. Remember the ISO handling capacity of a camera depends on the size of the sensor. Smaller sensors fail to handle high ISO values. Drone cameras need to be small and light weighted. Hence the camera sensors are much smaller. You need to be skeptical about using high ISO values while operating on drone cameras.

4)   The perspective:

Drone portraits are different from normal portraits. Just think of why you are shooting a portrait with a drone in the first place. This is because these cameras offer entirely different perspectives from the normal ones. Location scouting is crucial. Look out for a location which has a lot of patterns and leading lines. Such patterns will look even more attractive when shot from high above. The advantage of these cameras is that the drone itself can do the location scouting for you and you don’t need to move an inch. These cameras have wide angle lenses. This means that the perspectives on offer will be wide ones. The aperture may not be completely wide open and the depth of field is going to be quite deep. There is nothing to be disappointed about. Why will you require shallow depth of fields and blurry backgrounds when you are shooting from above? Shooting with drones will offer you the unique wide angle perspectives from high above that cannot be seen normally. If you are blurring that out entirely, how different will that be from a normal portrait except for the fact that it has been shot from above?

5)   Shooting and posing your models:

When you are shooting from high above, think of the things you want to include in your frame. Since this is a type of a wide angle portrait, your composition becomes extremely crucial. Once you have decided the background, make sure it doesn’t have any distractions to take the attention away from the main subject. The posing of the model will depend on what you want to shoot. It is better to shoot candid by asking your model to not engage with the camera above. If posing is your requirement, follow the tips of normal portrait poses and you will be good to go.


The emergence of drone portraits:

Drone photography has changed the way the world looked at photography. Spectacular locations, shot from above fascinate us all. The quest for the perfect aerial shot still remains. Photographers are trying their best to get that into their portfolios. Drone portraits have really changed the following genres of photography:

1)   Wedding photography:

Weddings have changed. The number of luxurious weddings have increased significantly. Couples are really interested to shoot their special day from above. Drone portraits have become quite popular now. The beauty and grandeur of the location can be enhanced by drone photography.

2)   Fashion portraits:

Panning aerial fashion portraits offer quite a dreamy sense of feeling. These portraits too, are slowly increasing every day.


People have been mesmerized by flying objects for centuries now. The ability of such objects to see the land from such a different vision enthralls us all. People look down from the planes to wonder about the plains below. Photography is no exception. People were looking to take aerial shots for quite a while. The solution was found when the first drone camera was invented. Since then, drones have been used in several genres of photography starting from nature and landscapes to weddings, portraits and even fashion. We have drone cameras on sports fields these days. The way drone portraits have stormed into the world of photography is quite admirable and there is certainly a bright future ahead.

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