Aerial Photography Tips

by FliteTest | January 29, 2015 | (19) Posted in How To

Eric and Josh share some basic tips for capturing great aerial photography with your multi-rotor! Using the Blade 350 QX3 AP combo quadcopter we were able to capture some great video using some of these tips!

With over 30 years of R/C flying experience, Eric has over 3 years experience flying professional aerial photography and video and he wanted to share some basic tips that can really help those who are wanting to get into it!

We had a chance to try out the new Blade 350 QX3 AP combo from Horizon Hobby and try out some of these tips Eric shared with us. 

Josh and Eric both agree that the Nano QX FPV is a great start to getting into fpv flying and a great mutlirotor to learn to fly on. Becoming a good aerial photographer all starts with becoming a good pilot first.

The Blade 350 QX3 is a great all in one platform for capturing great aerial video and photos. The C-Go2 GB300 HD Camera with 3-Axis Brushless Gimbal is what really makes this mutlirotor a great option for aerial photography. 

Having a gimbal on your multirotor will really increase the quality of your aerial video, where it might not be a priority if you're just capturing aerial photos. We were really impressed with how well it performed with our extreme testing as well as the smooth video it captures during our recordings. 

There's so much to talk about when covering photography in general. Some basic things to think about is the time of day you are shooting. Small cameras like the GoPro and the GB300 HD on the Blade, shooting in that 'golden hour' of the day when the sun is low in the sky, really produces some nice video.

Tracking shots with nearby trees and other objects in the foreground will allow your aerial shots to show the movement in the air.

Using the sun and the allowing it to flare into your camera lens can also add a dynamic look to your video.

As with anything, practice makes perfect. The better you are at maneuvering your multi-rotor, the better you will be at capturing the shots you want.

Although the Blade 350 QX3 has an option to monitor the camera's live feed, the wifi delay doesn't allow it to be a stand alone FPV screen. You will need to fly line-of-sight with this multi-rotor, only referencing the screen for composition and framing.

Flying your multi-rotor in weather that is calm will really help give you the control you need while flying.

Playing with the horizon and looking for angles that will give your shots dimension, you can create some 

Watch videos and think about the shots that you like and what moves they are making and try to shoot some similiar!

Obviously, scenic areas are going to offer much more 'interesting' video, but how you move the camera in the sky and how you maneuver around objects and trees can allow you to capture images that are very creative.

Eric likes to fly with objects moving past the screen, when he shoots aerial video. It shows off the movement and adds more depth to a shot.

Positioning the camera to catch the light of the sun is another easy trick you can try.

Backlighting with the sun can help make basic images look much more engaging and interesting. But, as with photography, it might not be the best option for the look that you're going for. Experiment, practice, test, have fun!

The better you become at flying and the more comfortable you are with your aerial machine, the better you will be at capturing the images you want.

Being at the right place at the right time, you can capture some great images, which is why it's so important to have a reliable flying platform and to be familiar with it as well as being prepared to crash and replace parts while you're on location.

We captured some stunning shots in the same locations we flew the DJI Inspire 1, and we were very impressed with how well the Blade 350 QX3 captured the scenic lake front images.

Learn more about the Blade 350 QX3 AP here:

Blade 350 QX3 AP Flight Mode Tutorial: 

Check out the related articles below to read some of Eric's articles mentioned in this episode. Be sure to share your experiences and thoughts on these aerial photography tips, we'd love to hear about them!

Thanks again for all of your support!


gr1999 on January 29, 2015
Anyone else getting audio desync around 1:10? or is that just different footage?
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Austinn on March 16, 2015
That is because of youtues server, it generally happens when a video is first uploaded to my understanding
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photomatix on January 29, 2015
Regarding the frame rate stuff, some of the arial footage didnt seem very smooth but it felt like it was an issue with the post-production. I've encountered the same issue when I shoot in a higher framerate and then export the final project in a lower FPS than the orginal footage. Is that what was happening here?

gr1999, the playback sync worked just fine for me.
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PapaMichael on January 29, 2015
I had the same trouble with audio sync. All through the video one would be talking on the sound track and the other person would be shown talking and visa versa. Having been a professional photographer and studio owner for many years I would say that the information was very well done and right on the money. I have been flying RC since the 1960s and want to become a better photographer and find my way into FPV. This has been very helpful. Thanks guys.
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onelesseye on January 29, 2015
I would love to see a breakdown of one of arec's multirorors. I know they cost as much as ten grand, but I still want to see things like his flight controller choice and basic setups.
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bryuly on January 29, 2015
I would be interested in seeing more on getting aerial footage and some of the basic tips for someone just starting all the way to advanced techniques.

I also would really like to see one of Eric's setups, how he utilizes it, and what he does to make repairs so quick for changing out in the field.

Thanks for all the great information and entertainment!!!
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hl0dk0 on January 30, 2015
I'd really like to hear your opinion on how am I doing so far considering I'm a pilot for 2 years now?
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LameDeerHunter on January 30, 2015
Really great episode. Possibly one of the best! So informative, just what I'm looking for. I would love to see more about the rigs Eric uses and post production techniques. Thanks guys!
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suzukistreet on January 30, 2015
Nice job Eric! I'd love to see a mini-series on post production, as well as more shot composition techniques and ideas. Thank you.
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TLaunis on February 1, 2015
I had same idea! One vote more to post production mini-series.
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jdgomezb on January 30, 2015
Hey Chad, congratulations on bringing Eric to the team. He's a great addition to the show, and adds something extra to the hobby which is the opportunity to do professional jobs with our hobby.
Kudos to Eric!!!
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CJGFX on January 30, 2015
Another great episode and really good to Eric spreading his knowledge... I'm looking forward to see what Josh develops as a camera platform and the results. I would love the camera of that 350 on my knuckle quad... Time to start having a look around....

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CaptainRedBeard on January 30, 2015
Great episode, please do more on this.
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Bucket183 on January 30, 2015
I agree with suzukistreet, more on shot composition and post production workflows and techniques
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tramsgar on January 30, 2015
Finally something interesting! Thanks, guys.
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sps3172 on January 31, 2015
Hi All,

I really enjoy what Eric brings to the show...both his presentation and the topics that he seems to inspire.

In addition to more of the 'nuts and bolts' side of capturing aerial footage(technique/equipment/etc), I'd love to hear more discussion on using R/C for Aerial Imaging business. Specifically, I'm interested in learning more about your approach/experiences with FAA regulations as they pertain to the 'commercial use' or 'for profit' angle. I presume this has come into play while gathering footage for the show and/or during some of the past work Eric has cited (Discovery channel, etc).

- Have you had to obtain any specific certifications/waivers to do this work in the past?
- Do you (Flte Test staff...etc) plan on gaining any certs/waivers going forward?


- Steve

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SoloFlight on January 31, 2015
Sorry but a little off topic, behind josh at the top left corner, is that an anycopter frame configured as a pentacopter setup? Will you guys be doing a video on that?
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toolone on February 4, 2015
I am SUPER excited to see the episodes that are to come with Eric as part of the team.
Some things that are on my mind:
Camera choices for those of us that are Bixler-Budget-Minded.
GoPro Hero 4 with a ribcage for light weight and lens flexibility?
Post production tips and tricks would be great.
Would like to see more tips on shot composition.

I really appreciate it!
I love the tip on objects in foreground.
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southerndoug on February 11, 2015
Thanks guys, really useful stuff. As a newcomer to the RPA world it was great getting your views on the centre stick issue, and auto hovering. I've been learning to fly with a small Blade mQX RTF, flying around indoors and scaring the kids. I've done a lot of work with full-sized helicopters and aerial filming (I'm a professional photographer and videographer), but am almost being forced to embrace this technology to stay relevant. Steep learning curve! I've been eyeing off the DJI Inspire, but maybe the Blade 350 QX3 AP would be a good stepping stone... Or could I make the leap to the DJI and still be on the learning curve? What do you guys think? The DJI camera look like it is much better...
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thinkjon on March 8, 2015
Great episode! I worked in post-production before and have always wanted to work as a cinema photographer. So, this year I've been learning piloting using a mini quad (Husban H107c) while researching for an entry level quad and camera to buy.

Options I've been considering:
- Cheerson CX-20 (Mobihus Camera) - missing the 60fps
- Blade 350 QX3 AP Combo - not really sold on how the gimbal control using the throttle stick.
- Yuneec Q500 Typhoon
- DJI Phantom 2 Vision +

Few Questions:
- Can anyone share links to "serious comparison" of the above models? Found many "opinion" videos, but not many apples to apples comparison.
- Share feedback if 60fps is a MUST for great looking footage? As Eric mentioned, it sounds like it's required for professional footage, but how important it when just getting started? Can 30fps be enough.
- Is it possible to upgrade the transmitter so we don't have to use the throttle stick on the Blade 350 QX3 to control the gimbal?
- Will the Blade 350 QX3 work with DX6 6-Channel DSMX Transmitter?
- Fly away stories, IF you have a STRONG GPS lock how can they fly away is you activate Return to Home? Are these non-experienced pilots or software bugs?
- Both Eric and Josh mention using the AP to have better control of the quad. Can anyone further explain how this works with GPS and Altitude lock?
- Which is better (and why) for video feed : Wi-Fi with the IOS or Android apps or using a 5.8Ghz AV Transmitter?


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The Groundhog on April 28, 2015
Is the Immersion RC XuGong Pro v/2 a good AP platform? DO A REVIEW OF IT, FLITE TEST!!!
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Flying Fox on September 7, 2015
Is there a DIY way to make a gimbal? like with a Arduino?
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Aerial Photography Tips