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Beginner Drone Photography

Lesson 23 of 26

Camera Moves


Beginner Drone Photography

Lesson 23 of 26

Camera Moves


Lesson Info

Camera Moves

So let's talk about some camera moves. I mentioned to you guys thinking about the light first. Remember, the sun is your main light source, obviously. You don't have artificial lights. So it's really easy to think about it like well, if you have the sun behind you, it's gonna light what you're looking at. That makes sense. You see in a lot of my shots, I tend use the sun as a subject. So that means I have to watch my exposure, right? But one of the things I want you think about is where is that light source, where is your subject? And when you have those things, like, record extra time, follow through, then it's like, what are you doing? What's the move? What's actually going on? And I want to encourage you guys, as I talk about these moves, is to focus on smooth movements. It's not about being hard on the sticks and jerking 'em. It's just easing into all the shots. And remember, one of the tips from the question that we got asked earlier was how do you adjust that? I said you can go i...

nto exponential curves, which is in the menu. Have a tutorial on that on You can go check that out. But you can start to customize the drone to your preferences. The settings in here go deep, so you really can make it your drone, how you fly. But the key is, my encouragement is to not be jerky. To just be nice and smooth and easing into stuff. So one of the first camera moves I wanna share with you guys is the reveal shot. I love this shot because basically what it does is it's getting you to think about what is my foreground object? And in this case, this example I'm gonna show you, my foreground is actually this hill right here. So right away you do get some clues over here of what's gonna be on the other side, but you still don't know what is on the other side. Maybe there's just a couple windmills, Maybe there's a bunch. Maybe there's something else. So the reveal is hiding something in the background. So I'll play that for you. And we crest over, and it's like dang, that's a lot of windmills, right? But what's really cool, again, I'm using the sun as my subject. Or as a subject. That light fills the frame, and now I've created a slightly more dynamic shot because I have multiple planes moving. I have some light coming in. I get this nice glow. So this is called the reveal. I love this shot. A cool way for you guys to maybe put this into practice is to maybe fly past a tree and show what's over that tree. If you're feeling really comfortable you can find an opening in trees. And you could fly through it. Maybe even cooler is you can fly through it and then reverse it, and then it looks like, oh, a scene, and then you go through trees, and people are like, whoa, how did you do that move, right? So that could be another way. So my encouragement to you is the idea. What you do with it from there, though, is how you can make it even more dynamic. I say try adding altitude. Try doing it while ascending. While to do it while descending. Try doing it backwards, right? Trying flying through something. These are multiple ways to make the shot more interesting. Tilt reveal. Man, my favorite shot. I love this shot. You guys saw in the opening of my demo reel, but the tilt reveal is really cool because you're moving towards a subject, but the camera is looking down. And as you move toward your subject, you're tilting the camera up as you're pushing towards it. Super cinematic. I probably even overdo it, but let me show you it. And the birds. Cherry on top, right? So why do I love this shot? I love it because, remember I've been trying to tell you to think about a story, a concept? I've been trying to make you think about what can you convey to your viewer? Well, my initial feeling that I'm trying to convey is a sense of mystery. Because you guys are like, what is this? Is this a floor, or sand, like, what is this? And then I'm like, wait for it, wait for it. Check it out. And look, birds, right? You're like, dang. It's a little more interesting. It's more dynamic, right? So this is the tilt reveal. I love this shot. It's great for an establishing shot, if you need to kinda set the stage. Maybe you're looking down on the city and then you're opening up and you see the sky line, right? Or out here, man, you guys got the water, right? We're just looking at the city, and then you pan up, and it's like, you got the water and all these boats, and the sunset. It's like, epic, right? Looks so cool. So my tip for you guys is try this. Maybe try doing this backwards. Film and then tilt down to maybe end the scene. Maybe try this while ascending up, and you're going higher, or try it really high looking down, and go down, and have the camera go up. There's so many ways to play with this. So that's my encouragement to you. Start to play with this shot. Three, the top down. Super simple. But man, I love it. You saw a lot of my photos are top down photos. This is cool because it's really just playing with the idea of there's no other way to get this shot. To be able to do this top down shot, which is this clip right here, it's simple. I'm just pointing down. I'm not really showing anything out. I'm just looking straight down. No oblique angles or anything like that. It's just like, oh, this is super unique. It's a unique angle. Everything is compressed. Can't really get a sense of height. And what's cool about this shot is you can actually make things a little more abstract sometimes. You're definitely showing a different angle. Some people call it God's view. So it's like the God angle. Like, what it looks like with God looking down on us, right? And I love doing this shot by mixing up, by maybe going really low to the water and then going straight up so I'm gaining an altitude. I love descending down on a subject and it feels like I'm coming, like, it's like, am I gonna stop? Like I'm falling down on them. So you can create some really interesting effects by playing with altitude. Another cool one is maybe you guys remember from my little skate video, and my little baby announcement video, I'm twisting, I'm yawing as I'm doing it. And now, having planes shift, flattened planes shifting. It creates a really dynamic scene, right? So this is a really cool effect. I encourage you guys to try it. Point of interest. I'll let you know about that intelligent flight mode if you have a DGI drone. And point of interest is really interesting. I'll actually use this quite a bit because this feature is so great and it's so exact. But what it is, is it's basically letting me arc around a subject. So here's that desert shot I told you, my friend standing on the dune, and I'm just coming down. Can you guys see I'm lowering in altitude? I'm getting lower and lower. And I could eventually wrap all the way around her. But what's cool about this shot is not only are there planes that are merging across the scene. When I'm descending in altitude, so is their height and scale. So you're creating a really interesting dynamic effect moving on multiple axes, right? So really, really cool. I encourage you guys to try this while also not just ascending up or descending down like you see here. I encourage you guys to try this while going even further out from your subject and they get even smaller and smaller. So you're arcing around them, and you're just going further and further. I told you that if you use the DGI intelligent flight mode point of interest, you can easily capture a scene like this and just pull back on the sticks and it will go further and further and arc at the same time. So cool. You definitely gotta try this shot. Tilt while tracking. I thought I'd throw in a slightly more advanced, just so you have something to aim for. This is a shot that I like to do, but it can be hard, so it always takes me a few times to practice it. Basically I'm gonna fly towards my subject, which, we'll say is this little cross right here, and I'm gonna fly past it, but I'm gonna try to follow and track it the whole time. So I'm gonna fly and I'm gonna track on it. Did you see that little jerk at the end? The Gimbal can't go any further. So in post I would have cut it, but I left it here so you could see. I cut right before it does the ding. But what's so interesting about this shot, to me, oops, no, but what's so interesting about this is all these layers are compressing and moving and you can kind of create a vertigo effect. If you go on my website, I have an example where I'm tracking a boat, and man, it took me like 10 times to get that shot of different boats. I was in the harbor. Because I would be coming at the boat, and the boat's moving, and I'm trying to track it, and I'm tilting, and it's not even in the frame. It's like, okay, gotta go slower. Okay, boat's going. Tilt it. And it went by. It's like, to match something moving is really hard, but aim for it; try it. You can try this shot while descending as well. While ascending. You could try this shot while also orbiting. Trying to track and move around in an arc. Really the key is take these things and merge it. Like, merge it. Make your scene more dynamic. That's really the key that I'm hopefully leaving you with today.

Class Description


  • Confidently fly a drone
  • Understand basic legal requirements
  • Execute simple to intermediate drone maneuvers
  • Adjust settings for aerial photography
  • Simultaneously adjust the drone and the camera
  • Use drones to capture a variety of still and video perspectives
  • Edit aerial photography and aerial videography


Sure, drone photography looks just like playing a video game, but controlling an unmanned aerial vehicle while simultaneously working a camera takes essential know-how and practiced skills. Take off with confidence and capture aerial photography and videography at angles you never thought possible. In this beginner's class, learn essentials like safe drone flight, essential photography settings, and basic post-processing.

Work with award-winning aerial photographer Dirk Dallas as you learn to control your drone. Whether your drone is collecting dust or you've just opened the box, this class provides the essentials to fall in love with drone photography and videography. From legal restrictions to selecting and operating a drone and accessories, this class covers all the basics of aerial photography with a drone.

Explore a drone's controls, then learn exercises to help hone your flight skills. Flag potential legal restrictions in the United States. Learn settings and tips for capturing great aerial photography, then incorporate motion with video. Finally, work in image processing and video editing to fine-tune your captures. Whether you want to capture aerial images for real estate, environmental studies, commercial advertising, independent movie production, land-use planning or simply creative photography, start flying with confidence.


  • Any user new to drone flight
  • Photographers looking to expand to aerial photography
  • Videographers eager to add a new angle with drones
  • Drone newbies that want to learn new moves and tricks


FAA licensed drone pilot Dirk Dallas uses drones to capture new angles in his commercial photography and filmmaking. Also a speaker and professor, Dirk is the founder of and the host of the AdoramaTV series From Where I Drone With Dirk Dallas. Along with his creative work, he enjoys teaching and inspiring new drone pilots.


  1. Class Introduction

    Meet your instructor and find inspiration from amazing sample aerial imagery with an eagle's eye view.

  2. How Dirk Got Started With Drones

    Learn how a hobby flying RC helicopters and a newfound passion for photographer merged into a love for drone photography. Dig into the brief history of aerial photography with drone technology and see how UAVs have changed from simple tools to essentials for aerial photographers.

  3. What is a Drone?

    Before diving into aerial photography with a drone, what exactly is a drone? Learn drone basics, as well as other terms frequently used for drones like UAS, UAV, and quadcopters. Explore the different types of camera drones available, many with the best camera built right in. Walk through the different drone options from the biggest drone manufacturer, DJI.

  4. Registering Your Drone

    Aerial photography with a drone has several legal restrictions. The first step is making sure to register your drone with the FAA. Walk through the simple, inexpensive act of registering and learn to avoid scams. This lesson covers registry in the United States.

  5. Drone Terminology

    Like learning photography, aerial drone photography comes with a long list of new terminology. Dig into aerial photography jargon and learn the tools of the trade. Pick up terms like gimbal, GPS and propellers.

  6. DJI Go App

    Controlling your drone starts with an app, a controller, or both. Learn the basics of DJI's Go App and decipher what all those symbols on the screen mean. Navigate the app and get started controlling a DJI drone using the DJI Go App.

  7. FAA Drone Rules

    Aerial photography requires responsible flying. In this lesson, learn the essential FAA rules to understand before you fly. Determine No Fly Zones and avoid collisions with other drones with air traffic rules.

  8. Apps for Flying Drones

    Find all the data you need to fly a drone daunting? Apps can help simplify drone flight. Learn about apps that tell you where you can fly, the flying weather predictions, visibility conditions, drone news, and more.

  9. Pre-flight: Drone Flight Checklist

    Prep for the flight to ensure a safe, successful aerial photography shoot. Go through a checklist to make sure the area is safe and your drone is ready to fly. Make a plan for the flight -- and a backup plan.

  10. How to Fly Overview: Take off, Hover & Land

    Begin learning to fly with this overview. Cover the different drone controller controls. Practice with exercises designed to help you make drone flight feel like second nature. Learn automatic and manual methods for taking off and landing with in-field demonstrations.

  11. Straight Line & The Simple Box

    Continue honing your flight skills with exercises and skills for flight paths. Learn how to fly straight and how to fly in a simple box shape using just one stick on the controller.

  12. The 180 & The Box With Yaw

    Add in the second control stick and learn how to turn your drone around completely, called "yawing." Then, fly in a box shape with a yaw turn. Learn tricks to working with the controls like flipping the controls when the drone flips.

  13. Drawing Shapes

    Expand your drone flight exercises with additional advanced tasks to further build your flight skills. Fly in diagonals, then use both controls simultaneously to fly in a perfect circle. When you've mastered those shapes, try the figure eight exercise and orbiting.

  14. Q&A

    Find answers to the most frequently asked questions on drone flight. Students like you pose questions during the live class, while Dirk digs in and explains.

  15. DJI Intelligent Flight Modes

    DJI builds several different intelligent flight modes into their drones that allow for different flying techniques using remote sensing systems. Learn the different main flight mode options, what route they fly, and how to use the different available options. Master tricks like controlling the drone with gestures, "follow me" mode, and preset flight paths.

  16. DJI Go App: Photo Settings

    Now that you're comfortable using a controller and app to fly, what about that aerial camera? Get started on capturing digital imagery with your drone by learning the different settings. Learn how to turn the camera off auto, as well as how to manually adjust aperture, shutter speed, and aperture. Adjust settings like burst mode, bracketing, white balance, and RAW shooting. Master focus options to get a sharp, high-quality image.

  17. Tips for Capturing Drone Photos

    The perspective of aerial photography is unique -- but impressive aerial imagery is about more than just perspective. In this lesson, gain some essential aerial photography tips, like why you may want to use a low altitude instead of a high one. Learn to work with instead of against the sunshine. Consider composition and height and other aspects for the best drone photography.

  18. Creating Panoramas

    Aerial photography isn't limited to a standard aspect ratio. In this lesson, learn how to import images into Lightroom. Then, build a panorama from several overlapping aerial photos using the same software.

  19. Post Processing for Drone Photography

    Like shooting with two feet on the ground, aerial photography can often be improved with a bit of editing. Walk through the process of adjusting images inside Lightroom. Work with exposure, adding style, and color correction.

  20. DJI Go App: Video Settings

    Step from aerial photography into aerial video. Get started with drone video with the DJI Go app settings for video in a live demonstration. Learn essentials like resolution, frame rate, and shutter speed.

  21. Accessories

    Drone accessories can make flights easier and improve the quality of photos and video. Learn the ins and outs of different drone photography accessories, including landing pads, batteries, hoods, and ND filters. Explore what each one does, which ones are essential, and what's just optional.

  22. Tips for Capturing Drone Video

    Build on your aerial video capabilities with video tips for drones. With the added dimension of time, add in effects like fly over moves. Learn ways to create more dynamic video from a drone in this lesson, as well as tips to expand simply by doing more exploring.

  23. Camera Moves

    Add drama to aerial video by recording while doing cool drone moves. Learn the camera movement that's possible with aerial video using a UAV. Integrate tricks like slowly revealing the subject, using a top-down bird's-eye-view, playing with altitude, circling a subject and more to create a more dynamic video.

  24. Post Processing For Videography

    Video editing is quite different from editing still photos. Work With Adobe Premiere Pro for a few basic video edits, including importing video, then working with cropping and motion effects.

  25. Simple Color Correction For Footage

    Like with still photos, drone videos can benefit from color adjustments. Learn how to use the Lumetri Color tools inside Premiere Pro to correct colors or add style or drama through color correction.

  26. Adding Music & SFX

    Finish the class by learning to add music and sound effects to aerial footage -- since the sound of a buzzing drone isn't exactly pleasant to listen to, if your drone records audio at all. Work with basic audio in Adobe Premiere Pro. Learn how to add and adjust audio. Then, gain some final input on drone photography and videography with a brief Q&A.



Dirk really did a nice job taking new students thru exercises to gain confidence. The work in Lightroom and Photoshop was helpful, but I wish more time could have been focused on flying or tips. Dirk has presets that he offers. It would have been helpful to see the results using those presets. Looking forward to the free which Drone to buy class and the advanced class


I definitely recommend this course if you are thinking about getting into drone photography looking for the fundamentals. I now feel pretty confident I can get started and that my learning curve will be greatly shortened thanks to the technology available today and a great roadmap of getting started. If you are already started... follow up with his advanced topics... I know I will.


Super class. As a beginner I had little idea what to expect and never got started because of all the talk of people crashing drones right and left and losing a fortune. Dallas made it seem simple. So I bought a Tello beginners drone (great starter by the way), got hooked and am now flying a DJI Mavic Pro 2 and studying for a commercial license. Not sure, this is a great class to start with.