Per a recent survey, drones were one of the most anticipated Christmas gifts this year, and from the look of store shelves, Santa made a lot of deliveries. So, what’s next?  A flight to infinity and beyond?  Well, hopefully you’ll stay in range of the controller, so, infinity is out. But, just about everything else is fair game, and The Photographer’s Guide to Drones by Colin Smith, (ISBN: 978-1-68198-114-7)  is here to make sure you get the most of your new device.

The Photographers Guide to Drones

The cover of The Photographers Guide to Drones

Starting from the beginning, you need to learn your drone’s range of operation.  Many are just 100-300 feet from where you stand. Unless you have one of the costlier units, chances are that once it exceeds the range of your controller, it will be off on a flight to disaster.  Don’t ask me how I know.

In any event, unless you want a cut finger like Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians, you need to learn safety first. I know it’s not the fun part of flying, but every responsible pilot know THAT is job one. Don’t gloss over chapter 1, it’ll start you on the right foot.  And you don’t want to miss “what to do about attacking sea gulls on page 5.”

Mastering the basics in The Photographers Guide to Drones

Colin was a photographer before becoming a drone pilot, so, lots of what he has to impart has to do with getting the best photographic results from your drone.  Learn why a polarizer for your GoPro is one of the best accessories to purchase first. (see page 19.)

Latency of your first-person view (FPV) can be a major issue in cheaper drones. Colin shares his almost-no-latency recommendation on page 24.

Remember what I said about learning to fly like a pilot, well, some suggested exercises will have you quickly mastering your drone, and you’ll find them in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 turns you into a photographer with basic rules of composition, including a discussion of panoramas and HDR.

How to fly according to The Photographers Guide to Drones

Aerial panoramas can be extra spectacular, and each chapter starts with a fold-out pano.  By the time you get to the end of the book, you’ll be dying to try one for yourself.

One of the many panos in The Photographers Guide to Drones

To get the best of what you’ve captured, Colin completes the book with recommendations for editing both video and stills from your drone, including some free software recommendations – see page 226.

The Photographers Guide to Drones is available in Print, eBook or a combo package of both from Rocky Nook. It’s a great guide to turn that toy into a working, aerial tripod.


Disclosure:  We were provided with a sample copy of The Photographer’s Guide to Drones by the publisher in order to complete this review.  Opinions are all entirely our own however. 

Also published on Medium.