How Drones Can Help You Make Better Videos

How Drones Can Help You Make Better Videos

How Drones Can Help You Make Better Videos

Time to propel your marketing by harnessing the untapped power of drones. Business videos can now be made even more compelling and engaging when the videos are filmed using drones, and allow you to connect with your intended audience on a deeper level in a world where people consume content in various formats at an incredibly fast pace. Whether it is a group shot of a memorable corporate party that you want to take or a footage of your office surroundings (and practically anything in between), drones are indeed revolutionizing the types of videos and shots smaller video teams can produce, with impressive features like the handheld stabilizer that help make drone footage look silky smooth even if your hands are shaky!

If your focus is on using drones to create videos as part of your marketing strategy, but are not yet 100% convinced that dabbing in drone video can deliver the positive results you anticipate from incorporating advanced video-making techniques to your business-promoting efforts, the following points will probably let you heave a sign of relief!

  1. You Become a Game Changer

Virtual reality is expected to go mainstream in the next few years. There are also viewpoints of key-people in the tech space that place the VR revolution much sooner than expected, especially after Apple’s recent acquisitions (Apple bought 3 large VR companies) and Facebook’s $2b purchase of Oculus 3 years ago. Therefore, those interested in mastering the newest trends, drone footage included, will most likely be ahead of their competition, considering the fact that they will have access to connections and resources that might be required if they are planning to bring virtual reality into their marketing in the future.

  1. Keep Visitors More Engaged

Incorporating drone footage on your website is a captivating way to keep visitors more time on your pages. If video marketing is a powerful marketing strategy for promoting your business and turning your audience’s attention on what you have to say – video marketers are evidenced to get almost 70% more qualified leads annually and achieve about 55% increase in brand awareness – you can only imagine what the new era of aerial photography and film making can do for your business!

With more breath-taking aerial drone video footage enhancing any video production, drones are a great tool to provide a more memorable web experience to your customers. If you capitalize on this opportunity and manage to catch the eye of prospects at a crucial moment, chances are you will also increase the time they spend on your website, which will consequently heighten the possibility of a sale (and, of course, give your ROI and revenue a good boost).

For examples, check out the homepage of Smith Mountain Homes, a Virginia-based company focused on building the best lakefront realty site in the US. It looks amazing (to the point you don’t want to exit the site) and has allowed the company to make more sales (both properties and services provided by the brand).

  1. To Breathe New Life to a Video

Using drones is a great way to tell stories, which can be particularly appealing to specific industries. For example, construction projects are given an upbeat touch and story telling becomes even more impactful since you can capture shots that would be impossible with any other means available.

Depending on which industry you are in, drone video can help tell the complete story. For instance:

  • If you are a clothing retailer, you could set your drone up during your annual sale and capture crowds of people coming in and out of your store.
  • Or you could show your products in action (i.e. you are an outdoor gear or sports retailer and shoot drone footage of people skiing down a mountain or fishing in a lake while wearing your gear/outfits).
  • A personal trainer can create interesting footage of outdoor workouts, which can be further enhanced if the video is shot in an idyllic location or, say, moments before the sun rises.
  • The same applies to the world of extreme sports, where you can easily give a more holistic view of an extreme athlete doing his or her thing from above. This is the type of drone footage Redbull has been using for quite some time now.
  • As a real estate agent, getting aerial videos of regions where you sell properties with the help of drones can give those interested in purchasing a home from you a detailed overview of the area around the property.

 

Drone Shots Ideas for Your Next Video

  1. The Fly-By – It is a technique where you fly your drone past a foreground object. It works like a charm if you have a magical background too.
  2. The Follow – There are some drone models that come equipped with a follow feature which allows you to set yourself as a target and let the drone follow you as you drive your car or jog!
  3. The Gentle Rise – The specific camera movement is superb for establishing shots. You place the camera of the drone facing downward and position the drone on the ground. Then, you start to fly it slowly in an upward fashion. As the drone gets higher, it will capture wonderful aerial views.
  4. The Lateral Shot – With this shot, you will be able to produce amazing scenes. All you need to do is keep the drone high in the air or low to the ground and capture footage that looks like a non-stop slider!

Another excellent drone footage idea is to place the drone on the ground with its camera looking towards the landscape. Push the start button and let it fly upwards to get panoramic views of the area. Just how high you will take it depends on what you have envisioned and, of course, the local regulations. For example, in the UK, you need to have permission from the UK Civil Aviation Authority not only in regards how high your drone can fly but also whether you can use it for commercial work.  In the US, be mindful of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations so you know everything checks out before you start flying your drone and capture footage!

Avoiding Blurry Photos

Avoiding Blurry Photos

Avoiding Blurry Photos

Have you ever taken a picture that turned out blurry?

Don’t worry, all of us have.

Sometimes blur can be used as an effect in your photographs to show motion or make a more abstract looking image, but when you don’t want blur in your pictures and it continually shows up it can be frustrating. Here is some digital photography help to ssist you in figuring out why you may be getting blurry pictures so you can get pictures that look clean and crisp.

ISO

When you take a picture you need to consider your ISO setting. The ISO determines how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. When you’re taking pictures in a bright well lit situation, like on a sunny day, you should set your ISO to a low number like 100. If you’re taking a picture indoors you may want to set your ISO to a higher number like 400 to increase the sensor’s sensitivity to light. When you’re taking a picture in a low light situation you may want to increase it even further to 1600.

These settings will allow you to take pictures in various lighting situations. If you set your camera ISO to 100 and try to take a picture in a low light situation your shutter will have to be open for too long to get the necessary amount of light on the sensor. The longer your shutter is open the more blur you’ll get in your picture from the movement of the subject or from the movement of the camera.

Though it’s important to set your ISO to a level that will allow for shorter shutter speeds to capture motion don’t get into the bad habit of always setting it high. When I first started taking pictures back in the old days of film photography I always bought 400 speed film. (Film speeds correspond with ISO settings.) I did this because I thought that it was better because I could use in on sunny days and inside, but there is a problem with this solution.

The higher your ISO or the faster your film the more noise or grain will show up in your picture. If you’re setting your ISO unnecessarily high you’ll end up with a picture that’s full of noise. For good quality pictures, you want your pictures to be clear, clean and crisp. To get this you must have your ISO set at the lowest possible setting you can use while still getting a picture with no blur.

Experiment with your ISO settings to find out what works best for the situations you take pictures in the most.

Shutter Speed

If you still need digital photography help to get rid of the blur in your pictures here’s another tip for you. Shutter speed is another important element to stopping unwanted blur. If your shutter is staying open for a long time the movement of the subject and even the movement of the camera will cause blurriness in the picture.

I’ve mentioned before that I take a lot of pictures at small concerts. When I first decided I would try taking pictures in these situations I was constantly getting blurry pictures and couldn’t figure out why. The secret to remedying this situation was setting my camera to shutter priority mode.

Shutter speed settings are shown in fractions. A shutter speed of 1/1000 means the shutter is open for 1000th of a second. That’s pretty fast.

On a bright day you can use very fast shutter speeds to effectively stop motion, but as you have less light available you may have to use a slower shutter speed. I’ve found that if I’m trying to take pictures in low light situations with my camera set on auto mode the camera will usually not set itself in a way that can capture motion without blur. When I’m in these situations I use shutter priority mode to set the shutter speed to as fast as I need it. With the ISO and shutter speed set manually the camera will choose the aperture that will help you get the correct exposure.

My philosophy is to always experiment with various settings to find out what works best for you.

Camera Shake

The digital photography help you need may not involve camera settings at all. If you’re trying to take pictures with the shutter open for a long time and you’re having problems with blur, camera shake may be your issue. Camera shake refers to movement of the camera while taking the picture. The best way to prevent shake is to use a tripod. Tripods will keep your camera still so it doesn’t move while the shutter is open.

Using a remote shutter release will also help prevent camera shake. When you touch the camera to release the shutter the camera will move a bit.

If you don’t have a tripod on hand you should try to brace yourself when you’re taking the picture. Keep your arms in close to your body. If there is something you can rest your camera on like a wall or a tree branch try doing that to steady it. Sometimes I lean against a wall to keep myself steady when taking a picture. In extreme cases I may even hold my breath.

Understanding a Digital Photography Histogram

Understanding a Digital Photography Histogram

Understanding a Digital Photography Histogram

A digital photography histogram is a great tool you can use to monitor the exposure on a picture. When you first saw a histogram it was probably a mystery to you. Don’t worry it was to me too, but once you understand it, it will serve you well. Here’s a simple explanation that will help you understand them.

Most digital cameras have the ability to display a histogram on the LCD screen, but most people using those cameras know nothing about the value of histograms.

A histogram is a kind of graph that displays the exposure levels in a picture. The brightness levels are shown on the horizontal axis of the graph. The left side represents the darkest pixels and the the right the brightest. The space in the middle of the horizontal axis represents midtones. The vertical axis represents the number of pixels.

The farthest left side of the graph shows the number of pixels that have been recorded as black and the farthest right side shows the number of pixels that have been recorded as white.

Look at the gradient at the bottom of the histogram I just drew to get a better idea of what I mean.

I know it doesn’t exist, but let’s just say that you had a 1 pixel camera and you took a picture in a dark room. The picture would be completely dark. The camera would only record one black pixel and it would look like this.

Conversely, if you took a very bright overexposed picture with your 1 pixel camera the histogram would look like this.

Since you don’t have a one pixel camera your histogram isn’t really going to look anything like the ones above. Here’s an example of what the histogram looks like on the back of my camera.

For the purposes of this tutorial we’re only looking at the top histogram which is the one that measures the exposure.

Now you may be thinking that this is all well and good but what practical purpose does it serve in my photography? Let me tell you.

The useful thing about a digital photography histogram is that it can tell you when your picture is over or underexposed even if you can’t tell by just looking at the image on the LCD screen.

It can also tell you if your image is clipped. That means that there are lots of pixels in the image that are at an exposure level the camera cannot read. If most of the pixels are pushed against the left edge of the graph with a steep drop off that means that the picture is too dark and you’re losing a lot of detail in the picture.

If there is a steep drop off with much of the graph pushed to the right the picture is too bright. Instead of recording detail your camera has just recorded them as white.

In both of these instances you should adjust your exposure to get more detail into your picture.

Many cameras have an exposure warning. The areas of the image that aren’t properly exposed will be highlighted on the screen when you view the image with the histogram letting you know that you should adjust the exposure. You can see the area in the clouds that are shaded black in this image. That means those areas are overexposed.

Refer to your histogram often when you take pictures so you get used to it. With practice you’ll be able to get more information about the exposure levels in your pictures than you will be able to from simply looking at the image on the LCD.

A Simple Tip to Improve Your Photography

A Simple Tip to Improve Your Photography

A Simple Tip to Improve Your Photography

Need some digital photography ideas to help you improve your photography when you start feeling stuck? I just started doing this simple exercise to help me improve my pictures. I’ve found it so valuable that I’ve decided to share it with you.

Recently, I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated with my photography. Have you ever felt like that? I’m sure you have at some point. Most of us have had difficulties in the past. Whether you just can’t seem to get the lighting or composition quite right or you can’t quite figure out camera settings it can be frustrating. Sometimes it is just a matter of feeling inspired.

That frustrated feeling can be part of learning. As you knock up against what you see at the time as an obstacle you approach another level of photographic ability. Once you get over that hump you’ll come out the other side a better photographer.

Recently, I’ve been feeling like my pictures aren’t quite coming out like I want so I’ve decided to give myself a little assignment. I told you before that giving yourself an assignment can help keep you inspired and learning when it comes to photography.

My assignment is to take a still life picture everyday using a two light setup and a solid background. There are some basic things that I want to get together with my photography that I think focusing on this type of basic set up will really help me with. Sometimes stripping everything back and starting again from the basics will really help you see what you need to improve upon.

My challenge to you is to do the same. If you are feeling uninspired and just dissatisfied with your pictures these days, try giving yourself a similar assignment. This is a good assignment because it doesn’t require much equipment at all. For the background, I simply tape a piece of paper to the wall to give the look of a seamless backdrop. I’m using two small lamps as my lights and experimenting with their positions.

You don’t need fancy studio lighting to do this. Some adjustable desk lamps will work just fine. Start out using one light as a key light shining down on your object from an angle and the other light can be used to illuminate the background. This helps separate your subject from the background. You don’t have to keep the two lights in these positions though. Move them around and see what other lighting effects you can get using these two simple lights.

You can photograph anything you happen to have around your house–fruits and vegetables, books, jewellery, anything. The options are limitless. See if you can make an everyday ordinary object look very interesting and extraordinary. That can be a worthy challenge.

As with any assignment you give yourself to improve your photography, have fun with it. Yeah you’re doing it to get better, but for goodness sake don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right the first time or even the tenth time. Photography should be fun. Have a good time and keep practicing and learning. The skills will come with time and practice.

How to Prevent Blown-Out Skies

How to Prevent Blown-Out Skies

How to Prevent Blown-Out Skies

Ready for more digital photography lessons? Let’s look at how to fix blown-out skies. It happens all the time. You try to take a picture and everything in it is properly exposed except the sky. Here are some tips to help you avoid getting white skies in your pictures.

The sensor on the camera can’t see the same range of light as the human eye. That’s why when you expose your photo for darker objects in a picture the sky is often overexposed. You don’t have to have white skies in all of your pictures though. Here are some ways to prevent overexposed skies.

There are several solutions you can use to solve this problem. Every situation is different, so you’ll have to find the solution that will work best for your situation.

If you’re taking pictures of people who are relatively near your camera you can use a fill flash. You should expose your picture for capturing the sky. Using a fill flash on your subject will lighten your subject up a bit to compensate for being a bit underexposed because you’ve set your camera to capture the sky.

One of the simplest ways to deal with this issue is to use a polarizing filter. These filters help get the details of the sky without underexposing the rest of the picture.

Another option to help you get the beautiful skies that you want in your picture is taking more than one picture of the subject and layering them on top of each other in your photo editing software. The easiest way to do this is by using exposure bracketing. You should take a picture that exposes the sky properly and another that exposes the subject properly. Then you can use layer masking in Photoshop to combine the two pictures.

Digital Photography Tip: It’s Not Just About the Face

Digital Photography Tip: It’s Not Just About the Face

When taking a digital photography portrait you don’t have to just concentrate on your subject’s face. When you think of portrait photography most people automatically think of a picture of a face, but portraiture is about telling the story of a person. You can do that by taking pictures of other body parts. Here are some ideas to help you think outside the box when you take your next portrait.

Usually when you take a portrait you focus on the eyes. You try to capture the light in the eyes because, after all, they say the eyes are the window to the soul. They can capture the essence of the person and let the viewers see a bit of who they really are. If you couldn’t capture the person’s eyes in your photograph how would that change the way you approached your digital portrait photography?

I like giving myself assignments and taking a portrait without showing the subject’s face is a way to stretch your creative skills. Doing something outside of the norm will really get you thinking about how to set up the picture and what exactly to photograph.

You can try photographing:

  • silhouette
  • back of head
  • other body parts (hands, feet, and so forth)
  • blurred image

When you photograph a person you should be trying to tell the viewer something about your subject. You’ll need to be observant. What does your subject do for a living? Does he work with his hands? If so, maybe you should take a picture of his hands. Is you subject a thinker? Try photographing the back of her head. Is your subject a dancer? Take some pictures of her feet.

What does the location of the picture tell you about the person? Try taking a picture using a narrow aperture. Instead of blurring the background include some of the location in the picture too. You can elaborate on the story you’re telling to tell by including props.

These suggestions may seem obvious, but how often do you do them? I’ve seen some powerful portraits online that don’t include the subject’s face. The next time you pull your camera out to do some portrait photography go ahead and take pictures of the person’s face like you normally would, but towards the end of the shoot think outside of the box. Try to get a picture that tells the story without showing the face. You just might come up with a picture that blows you away.

Digital Photography Tip: Practice, Practice, Practice!

Digital Photography Tip: Practice, Practice, Practice!

Here’s a simple digital photography tip that I heard the other day that really stuck with me. It is so obvious, but sometimes I get so busy that I just don’t do it. I bet you have that problem sometimes too.

Digital Photography Tip

The other day I was listening to some archived episodes of The Candid Frame. If you don’t listen to it you really should start. It is a podcast that features interviews with photographers. The photographers talk about their work, their methods, and what inspires them. I’ve discovered so many excellent photographers from the show. Whenever I’m feeling uninspired all I have to do is listen to The Candid Frame and it makes me so excited I want to go out and start taking pictures immediately. Go subscribe to the podcast now. I’ll wait. Go ahead. Here’s the link.

I went through a stage of listening to a lot of interviews recently, so I’m not sure which interview this tip came from. The person being interviewed was just talking about how you should take pictures everyday. The photographer in question was a street photographer with a day job and after work he would always go take pictures. If you really want to excel at photography you need to practice just like a musician practices his instrument everyday. My husband is a professional bassist and he practices everyday without fail. Even on days he has a gig he still practices.

Art is part talent but it’s an even bigger part work. Talent can only take you so far if you’re not driven to hone and develop it. In order to improve, you should pick up your camera everyday and take pictures. It seems so obvious, but how many of us are doing it. I know I wasn’t, but I’ve started since I heard that interview.

Sometimes I’m not feeling inspired at all, but just stepping out the door with my camera with the idea of taking a picture starts to inspire me. Once I take the first few pictures I feel charged and like I really want to take pictures. The more pictures you take, the more you develop your eye. I see this working for me already.

You’ll take a lot of bad pictures. That’s fine. Not all pictures are perfect. In fact most of them aren’t. If you look at the all the files on your favorite photographer’s memory card, I’m sure they’d be some stinkers there too. You just need to get used to taking pictures and making those pictures look like what you see in your minds eye.

If you are having a hard time getting out and actually taking the pictures try giving yourself assignments. That’s a digital photography tip that I’ve mentioned on this site before, but I really like the idea. Give yourself a theme for the week and try to take pictures that fall into that theme. That will really get you thinking and looking.

That’s my digital photography tip. It’s simple but challenging all at once. Try it. You’re not alone because I’m doing it too.