If you watch great films, most outdoor scenes are shot at the “golden hour,” which is the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset. The light is low, and because the sun is going through so much more of the atmosphere, it seems larger and the light is softer.
I am not a morning person, but I love shooting at dawn anyway. Locations are less crowded, and it’s usually cooler. Sunsets can be stunning, but the area can be crowded, and for high-altitude shots, everything can be hazy.
If your drone setup allows it, shoot with manual controls, and you can shoot into the sun to create amazing lens-flare effects or even silhouettes. Don’t always shoot with the sun behind you because that creates flat light and often will show your drone’s shadow. Choose angles to keep the light slightly to the side to give your shots depth.
Play around with different camera moves. I constantly fly to improve my technique. The more you practice, the better your shots will be. You have a very sophisticated dolly, so to speak, that can move anywhere in 3D space around a subject. You can shoot overhead shots, crane moves up or down, orbit around things, and move through things—the possibilities are endless. Practice, practice, practice.
Owner, Photography by Tony Donaldson