Introduction to Landscape Photography with a Drone

When hearing the word drone, many of us start thinking about news stories on invasion of privacy, buzzing spying machines and other awful things media jumps into so often, rather than thinking about a quadcopter.

However, there is a brighter and more pleasant use of that wonderful piece of modern technology: landscape photography.

I’ve been involved in photographing areal landscape and  cityscape photography for almost 2 years and I can tell you one thing: I love it. I really do.
The best thing about photographing with drones is the freedom. Freedom to reach the height, angles and perspective you’ve never even dreamt of reaching before.

You’re no longer that depending that much on locations or positions. The one shot you were wishing to take from “up there” can now be achieved with a machine that costs you less than an expensive DSLR lens.

Isle of Skye drone
Isle of Skye Lighthouse

What about the image quality?

You will be surprised to learn that even an entry level drone, or flying cameras as I think of them, are capable of:

  • Shooting in RAW
  • Utilise AEB (Automatic bracketing system) of 3 or 5 shots
  • Burst shooting 3,5 or 7 frames
  • Use D-log (which is a fancy name for the settings that produce more dynamic range than standard picture)
  • Shutter speed of up to 8 seconds
  • Flying up to 2km (1.2 miles) horizontally or up to 500m (546 yards) in vertically
  • Stay up to 25 minutes in the air
  • Functioning in both cold and hot environments
  • Fly in altitude up to 5 km
  • Have auto HDR function in software applications
  • Have real time video feed of the flight so you will be framing exactly as you want without second guessing
  • Have a tripod worthy gimbal stabilisation system
  • Have a wide angle lens, which is great for landscape photography

That’s just the beginning. Some advanced models have interchangeable lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras and if that’s not enough, and you have a hefty budget to spend, you can buy even more advanced drones that can carry mirrorless or even DSLR cameras.

Seljalandsfoss Iceland
Seljalandsfoss Iceland

Let’s stick to talking about affordable and easy to carry drones. They are not toys for children anymore. They are capable, durable and easy to control, machines that can make your dream come true or bring your landscape photography to a new height (literally).

Landscape Photography with a Drone

So, how can you do landscape photography with a drone? If you know the basic principals of photography, it’s the same as with any other camera. You have manual mode to control different aspects of your camera and you have settings to make the picture as good as possible. You have a remote control that can be connected to phone or tablet so you can see in real time what exactly you are shooting. In theory it’s very similar to the way you shoot your “normal” landscape pictures.

You might not be aware but you can even use filters with the drones. Polariser, ND filters and ND with polariser. And, believe it or not, it even has a lens sun hood. Yes, it’s that serious!

Aldeyarfoss, Iceland from the top.
Aldeyarfoss, Iceland from the top.

You’ve got many opportunities to make a terrific landscape photo with a drone. There are no excuses any more. However, the most important thing about drones is the freedom to fly to the heights not accessible to you before, shoot new perspectives of things you’ve photographed lots of times before, use new angles and, most importantly, be creative without boundaries.

I see a great potential in aerial photography. I think, in the near future we will see even better cameras and more affordable machines to carry our DSLRs in the air. Since mirrorless cameras became more popular and they weight less, I believe soon, not long from now, we will see machines that are affordable and can fly with mirrorless cameras as easy as the drones with point and shoot today.


It’s exiting days for aerial photography, professional and enthusiasts, and I could not wait to see more amazing landscape pictures.

Fly safe!