Here at Droneblog we’re always on the lookout for exceptional work in the field of aerial photography and videography. When I came across the work of George Suresh, I knew right away this was not just your average guy with a drone taking pictures and shooting some video. Living in Sydney, Australia, Suresh is a skilled and proven photographer who has recently branched into the field of aerial photography, and has already risen above the crowd with his work. He has kindly taken some time to share a bit about himself and share some tips with others who would like to improve their aerial photography skills.
Tell us a little bit about your background. What’s your day job, and how did you get started with photography?
Living in Sydney, Australia – I’ve been a full-time public servant for almost 15 years and I’d kept my photography work purely for weekends and any spare time I had.
Having graduated as an Architect in the year 2000, I found myself continuously dabbling in photography – even as a student. University life exposed me to the diverse world of arts and it wasn’t long before I realised that photography was what I was born to do.
I acquired my first Digital SLR camera in 2006.
I literally used my camera as a sort of channel to explore my creativity. Within months I had my work published in some of Australia’s premiere photography and travel magazines. It wasn’t long before my photography hobby had shifted into gaining professional assignments – with the last ten years giving me exposure into the areas of editorial photo-journalism, sports, landscape and commercial photography.
When did you first see a drone in use? How did that inspire you?
My first experience of a drone in flight was only three months ago when I purchased my own Parrot Minidrone. What essentially blew me away was how it could be easily operated by the use of your smartphone for controls with connections to just WIFI and Bluetooth.
Not only that, I was gob-smacked by how smooth it could fly and its ability to hold its altitude so effortlessly. It was super responsive to controls and even performed flips with a touch of a button too.
This experience had me somewhat curious and intrigued in how the technology would fair out in larger drones.
Having never explored aerial photography – it was a perfect time for some serious research into taking a bigger step.
What was your first drone flight experience?
To start with – I decided to purchase a Syma X5SW minidrone.
Literally every night I would practice flying the SYMA in my lounge. Within two weeks, I was not only confident in manoeuvring a drone manually with a remote control – I found myself engaging in a sort of gymnastics of the mind. My coordination skills as well as my ability to focus and concentrate were improving – not just with flying drones – I noticed this was complimenting aspects of my social and professional life too.
The decision to acquire a larger drone was now just a formality.
The ultimate moment of inspiration came just after I purchased a DJI Phantom 4 and launched it for the first time. The sheer adrenaline caused gave me chills – it was also reassuring to know that these larger drones had a GPS flight mode that could dramatically assist in flight safety too.
When and how did you get started using drones for photography?
I’d spent all my weekends in the next month travelling out to locations in Sydney with my Phantom 4 drone.
After capturing some exceptional images to begin with – I realised that I could use a drone in almost all aspects of professional photography that I am already engaged in.
It wasn’t long before I also realised that I wasn’t just using drones for aerial photography – I now started exploring videography whilst enjoying the flight experience as well.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started using drones for photography?
Start small. Purchase a smaller drone to begin with and learn to fly manually before investing in something more expensive.
How would you like to see your own skills further develop in this field?
At this stage, I’d like to competently utilise some of the intelligent flight modes on my DJI drones.
Flying my drone in an autopilot mode whilst travelling from point-to-point would help me to focus more on capturing images both artistically and technically.
What technology would you like to see developed in the field of aerial photography?
Firstly I would love to see the battery lives on drones increase.
Secondly, it would be great to see the cameras in drones use higher quality image sensors that assist in low-light photography.
Finally, it would be a dream-come true if manufacturers could rapidly improve the technology of obstacle avoidance systems in their drones. It would be great to have a drone that’s completely surrounded with these sensors and make it almost impossible to crash.
Top Field Tips – Aerial Photography
Scout your location
Check Google Maps and locate potential hot spots on your site before you hike out there.
Prepare your Equipment
Make sure all your equipment is packed, charged all ready to go the night before.
Prepare a Checklist
Make a pre-flight checklist to ensure all your drone hardware and application settings are adequately set to ensure a safe flight.
Shoot in Golden Light
Shoot landscapes during sunrise and sunsets to obtain more interesting light and shadows.
Shoot in RAW
Learn to shoot in RAW format so that you can get the best possible image quality after post-production.