Drone Photography Ideas 2023

Drone Photography Ideas

Drone Photography Ideas

Let me guess…

You love drone photography.

And you’d love to learn how to capture better photos with your

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drone, right? Photos capable of captivating hearts and minds…

You will!

The problem is that drone photography is hard.

Yes, you’ve been seduced by its magic (we’ve all been) and rushed to try it. Capturing the world from above is so exciting.

A completely different point of view… That opens up a new world of possibilities. How do you resist?


So, you give in to its charms…

And suddenly, frustration invades you.

Because taking good aerial photos is truly a challenge.

There is a long way to go from the photo you’ve just taken to the one you’re dreaming of taking one day.

The good news is that you’re here. You’ve started to walk the path of the drone photography ninja. You’re one step closer to mastering its secrets.

And you’ll get there. Trust me.

Read this guide, do your homework, and you’ll start taking better and better photos with your drone (sooner than you think!).

Here, you’ll learn everything you need, from inspiring photos and epic drone locations to the drone you need (and the accessories). But also how to fly your drone, how to actually shoot your photo ideas (including panoramic and HDR images), the mistakes to avoid, all the essential apps for drone photography, a list of drone photographers you should follow, all the boring but essential legal stuff…

Tell me, are you ready for the challenge?

The Earth is art, the photographer is only a witness.

What makes a great drone location? (17 inspiring aerial images)

It all begins with a great drone location. A legendary one, if possible!

You find the right shooting spot, the right framing and composition, and the right shooting date and time for the scene you’ve imagined to happen.

Finally, you go and shoot it! As we PhotoPillers say…

“Imagine. Plan. Shoot!”

So, what makes a great drone location? Just look for the following ingredients:

  1. Boats that look like leaves in a tree…

As with patterns, shapes help you control the visual experience, whether you’re looking for a pleasing or tension-driven image. From the air, you can see incredible shapes pretty much everywhere.

So what is a shape?

A shape is an area with a visually recognizable boundary. And this boundary can be real or not.

Actually, the most important thing is how you combine shapes to create a visual composition and the effect you want to create in the viewer.

You can use shapes in a very effective way to:

  • Connecting or separating different areas
  • Emphasizing the parts you like most
  • Guiding your viewer’s eye
  • Creating a sense of movement and depth
  • Arranging the different parts in a logical way

In addition to this, shapes can be divided into two:

  • Primary: squares, circles, and triangles.
  • Secondary: variations of these primary shapes, such as rectangles, ovals, and hexagons, and complex shapes like crescent moons, spirals, and stars.

These are all geometric

Shapes can be geometric (e.g., circles, triangles, squares), natural (e.g., raindrops, leaves), or abstract (e.g., icons, brand logos).

Different shapes can evoke different psychological associations in the viewer. For example, circles often represent completeness, energy, and power, while triangles can convey stability or conflict.

Finally, shapes often lead the viewer to certain psychological associations at various levels of depth. Circles, for instance, represent completeness, energy, and power. Triangles are two-folded; they can convey stability or conflict.

2. Symmetry captivates the eye…

What is symmetry in photography?

It’s quite simple, actually. If you can cut an image into two halves and both the left and right sides mirror one another, you’ve achieved a symmetrical picture.

As a photographer, I love to capture symmetry. It’s a classic composition tool that can create beautiful and balanced images. But I also like to challenge myself by finding symmetry in unexpected places or by breaking up the symmetry in some way.

For example, I might take a photo of a symmetrical reflection in a lake, but then add a splash of color or a moving object to the foreground. This creates a sense of tension and interest in the image and makes it more unique and personal.

I encourage you to experiment with symmetry in your own photography. Look for new and creative ways to capture it, and don’t be afraid to break the rules!

Don’t get hung up on perfection. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything perfectly symmetrical in the real world.

But as long as both halves look pretty much the same, the magic of the effect is there 🙂 Symmetry is a great example of balance in composition. That’s why it’s used so often.

Symmetry is everywhere if you know where to look. Keep an eye out for symmetrical lines, elements, shapes, or patterns, and of course, don’t forget the mirror effect.

3. Lines


Our eyes naturally follow lines and paths, no matter what kind of photo we’re looking at. And that’s true for any image, regardless of the photography genre you’re practicing.

Including drone photography… so use them!

Use leading lines to guide your viewer’s eye to a specific part of the frame, like a person, an empty space, or a vanishing point in the background.

Now, ask yourself this important question:

Where are your leading lines directing the viewer’s eye?


In drone photography or any other genre for that matter, leading lines are the pillars of storytelling.

Imagine yourself on a journey. You’re walking down a winding road, surrounded by towering trees. The road leads you to a river, which you cross on a wooden bridge. On the other side of the river, you see a path that leads up a hill. You follow the path, and at the top, you find yourself in a meadow with a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains.

Leading lines can take the viewer on a similar journey through your photos. By using leading lines, you can guide the viewer’s eye through the frame and tell a story.

In the example above, the road, river, and path are all leading lines. They lead the viewer from the foreground to the background and from one part of the frame to another. The viewer can almost feel themselves walking down the road, crossing the river, and climbing the hill.

You can use leading lines to tell all sorts of stories with your photos. Try using them to guide the viewer’s eye to the main subject of your photo or to create a sense of movement or depth. The possibilities are endless!

4. Patterns and repetition

Patterns and repetition
Patterns and repetition

You are surrounded by patterns in both natural and artificial forms, which present you with several opportunities to take striking and dramatic pictures.

However, just what is a pattern?

Simply put, patterns are orderly formations of recurring forms, colors, or objects that can be either regular or irregular. This recurrence is what gives a pattern its value.
The angle at which you take your shots is crucial when photographing patterns. Fly your drone as closely as you can in order to catch all the details if you want to capture a tiny pattern.
Large-scale patterns will typically appear in aerial photography. In this situation, it’s better to tilt down your camera and take a bird’s-eye view photo of them.

Several of the most interesting patterns to photograph are made up of forms, lines, or colors that repeat themselves in precisely the same way. You may judge how powerful your picture is by aiming to fill the frame with crisp lines or a consistent geometric structure. This is it.

What makes it so powerful is the uniformity with which the objects are arranged.

However, asymmetrical patterns are also seen. Although it may seem counterintuitive, a well-executed composition can allow you to generate a pattern from a group of items. Actually, even if it’s harder to photograph, you have a lot more artistic license to make something truly remarkable with what you see.

It is a nice compositional concept to use the pattern to fill the entire frame. There are no outside distractions for the spectator to notice, which makes the drama in the shot much stronger.
Additionally, I advise you to experiment and switch up your perspectives to find what works best. If you capture certain forms and lines straight, they may appear fantastic. If you photograph other patterns from a more creative angle, they could appear more appealing.

5. Texture


Look for textures!

One of the issues you encounter when taking any sort of photo, whether it’s with a drone or not, is attempting to capture depth and dimension. After all, you’re photographing 3D subjects in a 2D medium.
To prevent flat-looking drone images, search for ways to bring texture into the shot. The objective is to deceive your viewer’s eye into assuming that it is looking at an item that exists in our ordinary 3-dimensional reality.
Texture occurs in the surface features of your topic.

It might be a wall constructed of brick, a very arid desert, or the top of a northern forest.

Apart from the texture itself, you may mix it with lines, shapes, or patterns, and you’ll have a consistent texture.
Let’s consider lines as an example.

Use a leading line to increase texture. Locating this precise line inside the texture will guide the observer toward your main point. It will also add some extra interest to the image by pushing the viewer to thoroughly inspect each component of the picture.

6. Contrast


One extremely easy and effective technique to accentuate your topic is to establish a high contrast with other components in your frame. A fantastic technique to create a remarkable composition is to employ color contrasts.
Contrast is a synonym for opposition. Find contrasting colors (black and white), forms (round and squared), textures (textured and smooth), size (large and tiny), natural elements (sea and land), light, and shadows.
The alternatives are unlimited.

But here, I’ll concentrate on color contrasts.

According to color theory, a color contrast is built by pairs of opposing

As you can see in the figure below, you may employ primary colors and complementary colors.

color wheel

Colors may be split into two groups:

Warm: yellow, orange, and red.
Cold: green, blue, and purple.


Depending on the colors you pick, your photo will have a distinct vibe. And as I explained with forms, the message you’re sending will alter from one observer to another.
On the one hand, warm hues may convey warmth, connection, and passion. On the other hand, cool may indicate grief, removal, and quiet. But that’s extremely subjective, and it’s always tied to the viewer’s interpretation. You may infer a mood, but you can’t compel the other person to feel it.
In addition to this, you may also modify the intensity of your picture’s mood.


Do you want it to be strong? Use strong, vivid hues. On the contrary, do you want it to be subtle? Use pastel, fading hues.
Finally, color provides drama and complexity, so utilize it judiciously.

Obviously, the idea is to keep the composition basic and not overload it with too many colors. Otherwise, you’ll generate a really messy picture, and your visitor will be puzzled.

7. Abstract


What do you notice in the picture above?
(Answer: the depth in color of an Icelandic glacier.)

One of the most tempting characteristics of drone photography is that you can show people spectacular sights from a unique viewpoint.
In other words, it radically transforms the way the spectator views things.

So attempt to present a glimpse of your surroundings (or an extraordinary area!) that is never seen.

Use shapes, forms, colors, and lines to create compositions that push the brain away from the known world.

The more surreal-seeming colors, textures, and patterns, the odder your photographs will look.

8. Pareidolia


According to Wikipedia, Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon in which the mind reacts to a stimulus, generally an image or a sound, by experiencing a familiar pattern where none exists.
Common instances include pictures of animals, faces, or objects in the clouds, the landscape, the moon, and even on Mars (e.g., Face on Mars).
Imagine. Plan. Shoot!


9. Isolation


Here the objective is fairly clear: to make a picture that is as plain and minimalist as possible.
Less is more!
Push the audience to concentrate on one and only one item. What’s the dominant aspect of your picture? Where should the audience glance?
What are you attempting to convey? What’s the story behind it?
And this final topic is quite fascinating since there is nothing more “itching” than curiosity. So allow everyone who views your photo to come up with their own stories.

10. Shadows


This shot is amazing!
in the tree rows.
It seems logical that, as a photographer, you would be very conscious of natural light.
The core of all photography is light. It affects both what you see and how you see things.
It’s often the light that creates a picture.

But what goes on behind closed doors?

The use of light and dark in your composition will help it work better. To create a truly outstanding picture, I must master light and its absence.

This combination produces a highly contrasted picture. Since you can’t use color to create attention in black-and-white images, this works very well.

Additionally, shadows might serve to highlight a particular area of the composition. Alternatively, you might use shadows as the focal point or your primary topic. Have you ever attempted to concentrate on the shadows in a photograph rather than the subject matter?

Utilize them to cover up aspects of the frame that may be best kept hidden. Play with them the opposite way around to expose textures like dune ripples in the sand or the gentle contours of rolling hills on a tea plantation.
Lastly, consider the length and severity of the shadows. Remember that the shadows get longer and more diluted while the sun is getting closer to the horizon. Conversely, the shadows are thicker and heavier in the middle of the day.

11. Interesting subject

How does a fantastic image come together?
When do you think you’ve got a very good shot?
With your photograph, what narrative are you attempting to convey?
Well, including a strong topic inside your frame is a terrific way to do all of them.
And for a variety of reasons…

  • When you direct the viewer’s attention to a certain area or element and force her to gaze at it for a few minutes, great topics create great tales.
    90% of the work is done if you choose a strong topic! 😛

12. Powerful Sunrise or Sunset

No matter what sort of photograph you’re aiming to shoot, having the best lighting conditions is vital.
Some photographers like the golden hour. That is, the period of time the color of the sky goes from red and orange to yellow, or, as its name implies, golden tones, having a warm color temperature.

Others, like myself, rave about the blue hour because the sky has a deep blue tint with a cold color temperature and rich hues.
In addition to this, everyone likes a nice sunset or sunrise. Don’t you?

Look for a place and a point in time when the sun may contribute to the composition and turn an excellent shot into a memorable one!

13. Moon

The moon’s position fluctuates a lot during the days and months. So arranging the correct shot at the appropriate place takes longer and is considerably tougher.
Remember that there is no need to wait until it’s entirely dark to catch the moon.
First, since you may not be permitted to fly at midnight.
Second, depending on the light conditions and the date, the Moon may rise during the golden hour and provide you with a terrific chance.
Therefore, choose a position and the ideal time when you may introduce the Moon in the frame.
The outcomes are a type of magic.
Interested in the Moon? Read our Moon photography guide, Moon 😉

14. Long exposures

Eric Paré and Kim Henry are recognized for their amazing light painting works. They mainly shoot from the ground, but occasionally they adore playing with their drone 😛
Check this video to see how they made the 1-second test picture above. Their objective is to keep shooting from above, to continually improve.
Long-exposure photography has always been related to a tripod, right?
But currently, owing to a fantastic gimbal stabilization technology that most drones have, you can record stunning long exposures from practically any drone.
Look for a fantastic location and depict the activity occurring in the scenario with a long exposure (1 second or more!).
Obviously, before flying your drone, make sure that it’s not too windy (or no wind at all, if possible). Otherwise, the camera of your drone won’t be stable enough and your images may
What makes a superb drone site (17 inspirational aerial shots) 34 end up blurred.
Look for waves crashing onto the coast, waterfalls, streaming water of a river, and even the moving city lights at night. If you want to take a long exposure at night, see section 11 for legal limitations concerning flying your drone during dark.

15. Panoramas (including 360º)

Find fresh views!
Cityscapes, seascapes, landscapes… Look for areas that offer you a magnificent broad view, get the drone up in the air, and shoot, rotate, and shoot again.
And capture the complete scene with a panoramic shot (or even an aerial 360º panorama).

16. Human element in the frame

By adding humans to your drone images, you accomplish three things.
First, your viewer gets a notion of the scale of the photo dependent on the human element size. After all, we all know more or less how tall and huge a human may be, right?

When you see a human in a desert photo you quickly know the magnitude of everything in the frame. And it’s what gives you the precise sense that you’re seeking. The wow factor.

Second, you provide your audience with something with which to quickly engage or even sympathize.
And it makes the photograph immensely compelling since the viewer may sense she was there, too.

Finally, it adds narrative. The human aspect adds the narrative to a lovely photo.
Your photography is now about emotion. So by manipulating your composition, by properly putting your pieces in the frame you may generate extremely strong photographs.

It’s a major game changer.
Shots that incorporate people make considerably more sense.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against photographs with no people on them at all. To be fully honest with you, as a landscape photographer, I routinely shoot shots like that.

However, I honestly feel that your photograph may be top-notch if you add the human element to your frame.
What makes a superb drone site (17 inspirational aerial shots) 38

17. Dronie (selfie with drone)

Reinvent the selfie!
A drone is a selfie shot by a drone.
In many respects, (video) drones are more an art form than anything else…
It’s simply a form of selfie that mixes a geek gadget and a high-end technique with the perpetual human urge to be noticed.
And here is where your imagination has no boundaries.

Well, now that you’ve got a terrific setting and a stunning composition in mind, you need some action.
Fly your drone and photograph the shot you’ve envisaged and prepared so hard! “Toni, this is a terrific list. But it appears a lot of effort, a lot of research… Show me the What makes a fantastic drone site (17 inspirational aerial photos) 39 shortcut!” One step after the other my dear buddy…

Now that you know what you’re searching for, it’s time to skip directly to the next part.
Let me teach you how to easily discover excellent drone spots. And how to quickly plan your drone photos 🙂

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