Top Down Tips

Here’s your weekly #TravelTuesday post and this week I, Dave Williams, am writing from Serbia where I’m transiting through in a kind of ‘coddiwomple’ style.


(v.) to travel purposefully towards a vague destination

On my journey out of the Schengen Area, which I have a time limit on due to Brexit, I spent a little time in Croatia to rest after one epic drive before continuing the next. Well, this is the next! I’ll be out of Serbia by tonight and in Bulgaria, and then it’s onward to Turkey. Anyway, you can follow that if you like on my YouTube channel. Back to todays programming!

Some of you will be aware that I delivered a KelbyOne course some time ago all about cinematic drone photography. I’ve always been a fan of my drone, but things are changing and it may be time to update some things.

Today I want to touch on #TopDown shots. Here goes.

When we fly our drone we can often stop thinking like a photographer. The habit is that we’re seeing things from a new perspective and we just shoot away without much aforethought going into what we’re actually doing in terms of composition etc. it’s important that we think like photographers or movie directors when we fly out drones.

Top down shots are unique in that they feature no sky, and nothing but ground. These kind of shots need particular attention due to their very nature of being ‘flat’.


We can give added value to our top down shots by including rivers, roads and train tracks. These act as lines which we can use at key intersections of our composition, or intersections with each other for patterns.


Colours and patterns help us a lot, too. We can use colours and patterns to define edges and demarcate the points of the rule of thirds, for example, and use the colour to give additional intrigue, particularly using the colour wheel to select (or even create) the right colours to keep the viewers attention on our image.


Finally, it could be that the subject of our shot has a particularly engaging shape when seen from the sky that it wouldn’t have from the ground. Taking advantage of this affords a brand new perspective and helps our image really stand out!

When uploading on Instagram, don’t forget the #topdown hashtag to ensure your shot is in the right category, and have fun!

Much love


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