For as long as I can remember, whenever I fly anywhere, I book a window seat and with my camera in my lap ready to capture seeing the world from a different perspective. 

Back in 2019, our flight to Canada was delayed by a couple of hours. It meant we were flying with the sunset in forever dusky pink skies that were completely clear. First came Scotland, then Iceland. The moment that will forever give me goosebumps when I think about it. Seeing ice fjords of East Greenland come into view, routing right over the ice cap. Trying to discern the shape of the ice in the endless white filling the window. 

Moments like this fuel my curiosity and it is why I adore flying the drone. To see things from a new vantage point. It was breathtaking to fly over the the cooling lava tongue at Fagradallsfjall after a rain storm had passed through, steam rising from the lava that formed one whole year before! It felt otherworldly to see our planet in such a raw form, that even after a year, it still had so much cooling to do. 

Seeing our glorious planet from above is something that absolutely fascinates me. Flying drones as a female drone pilot gives a window to the world we're not used to seeing.

My journey to becoming a female drone pilot

As a radically authentic brand and lifestyle photographer, I was interviewed by National Geographic about drone photography. I’ve also worked across the UK with agencies to capture images using the drone for projects and campaigns. 

My eye for aerial photography saw me partner with Atlantsflug in Iceland. Capturing branding images of the experience of flying over Iceland's remote Highlands in both winter and summer. 

Closer to home, I love capturing Thanet from above. This is my local area, my motherland with its dynamic coastline. A masterpiece of organic patterns and textures that changes with every tide. 

I’ve always been fascinated with seeing the world from above and my adventures with drones officially began back in 2017 when I did my PfCO licence. I’ve adored flying drones and seeing the world from this perspective ever since. 

Looking back, it’s almost unreal how rapidly both technology and global aviation rules have evolved since I qualified. Bringing with it more freedom to create and capture magick.

Diversity in the drone industry

In 2018 with my friend and fellow female drone pilot, Carys Kaiser AKA The Drone Lass, and I co-created an online space where UK female identifying folk could join to share, learn and grow our drone knowledge and experience together. 

Women are underrepresented in the drone industry, like many other tech-related fields. Without visible role models and communities to inspire them, women may be less likely to consider getting a drone or see it as something which is for them. This group aims to change that narrative. 

In my drone kit

I fly the DJI Mini 3 Pro and DJI Mini 4 Pro drones. It’s incredible to think that a piece of kit that’s only 249g and sits in the palm of your hand has more capability than the beast of a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone that I started flying with in 2017!

I offer drone photography as part of my brand and lifestyle packages and have been booked by some incredible creative agencies and organisations who share the same values. Operating in a radically authentic and connected way, in harmony with people and planet, can lead to some pretty epic shoots from the sky.

When you enquire about drone photography services

As part of the initial brief I’ll need to know more about the location of the shoots. Ideally GPS coordinates or what3words of the location, to first confirm if it's possible to fly drones in that location. Some locations have airspace restrictions above them and some shoot ideas won’t be possible from a safety perspective, so it’s best we check it out first.   

I love that I have full control of manual settings, like shutter speed and ISO. Meaning that when I am composing shots, I can make creative decisions about how to shoot a scene. It is the same with video, being able to pick the frame rate, ISO and shutter speed, means there is much more creative freedom.

My drones also allow me to shoot in landscape and portrait, maintaining the detail in portrait images. As the lens rotates 90 degrees - a  recent innovation in drone technology. Though it may look as simple as pressing a button to capture epic scenes, there is so much to consider to capture images and videos.

Booking your drone photography package 

If we’re a great fit and our values are aligned, the next step is to have a discovery call to discuss the project in more detail. Followed by a pre-shoot check to plan flights and finalise arrangements. 

As part of my drone package, I offer the opportunity to shoot across multiple locations and I’m willing to travel beyond the UK (visas, permits and travel expenses will be applicable). 

I pride myself on sending through previews, a handpicked selection of images within 24 hours. While your high resolution images (12"x8" at 300dpi) will be edited within seven working days and delivered via your personal online gallery. 

Videos will be shot in 4k and exported in either 4k or 1080p depending on the end use and delivered online. 

If you’re you’re curious about shooting from a different perspective, here are 5 things to consider before you get started: 

Regulations and safety:

Regulations governing drone usage are there for a reason. Different countries and sometimes different regions have different laws concerning where and when drones can be flown. So it’s always best to check what’s applicable in the area. To ensure safety at all times, it’s important to understand the capabilities and limitations of the drone. Avoid flying in adverse weather conditions, and always maintain line of sight with your drone to prevent accidents. 

Composition and framing:

The unique perspective offered by drones allows for breathtaking compositions traditional ground-based photography can’t achieve. Have fun experimenting with different angles, heights, and viewpoints to find the most compelling compositions. Remember to incorporate elements of foreground, midground and background to create depth and visual interest in your images. Pay attention to lines, patterns and textures in the landscape below, as they can enhance the overall composition of your photographs.

Lighting and weather conditions:

As with any other form of photography, lighting plays a crucial role in drone photography. The time of day and weather conditions can significantly impact the mood and atmosphere of your images. Golden hour, the period shortly after sunrise or before sunset, provides soft, warm light that enhances landscapes and architectural structures. However, don't shy away from shooting in different lighting conditions, such as overcast days or during twilight. As they can create unique and dramatic effects in your photographs.

Battery life and flight time:

One of the most limiting factors in drone photography is the battery life and flight time of your drone. To maximise your shooting opportunities, plan your flights carefully and conserve battery power whenever possible. Keep spare batteries on hand to avoid interruptions during your sessions. Be mindful of the distance you travel from your takeoff point to ensure a safe return. Consider investing in a portable charging solution to extend your drone's flight time and minimise downtime.

Post-processing and editing:

Once you've captured your aerial images, I recommend using software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to adjust exposure, contrast and colour balance to achieve the desired look and feel. 

Offering a bird's-eye view, drones open up a whole new world of possibilities. However, mastering the art of drone photography requires more than just launching a drone into the sky. 

If you’re ready to take to the skies and unleash your creativity, I’d love to discuss your project. 

I offer drone photography sessions, as part of my brand and lifestyle packages. They create such a gorgeous perspective to collections! If you’re interested in enquiring about a drone photography shoot, drop me an email at hello@rebeccadouglas.co.uk.

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