Before
the Shoot

Location Equipment
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During this couple’s maternity session in a canyon I decided to pull out my drone and get an image of them laying together from above. I asked the soon to be dad to lay down on his back and for the mama to lay on her side next to him so we could see the bump. They were troopers and layed on the hard rock, pregnant and all. The challenge I faced with this shot is flying the drone and then trying to land it on uneven ground. I actually lost a couple blades because I landed on a slope and cracked 2 of my drone blades.
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Location

Location Name

Redstone, Colorado

Location aDDRESS

Redstone, CO 81623, USA

Country

United States

Location TYPE

Canyon

Equipment

Camera

DJI Mavic Pro 2

Flash

None

Lens

DJI Mavic Pro 2 10.26mm

Lens Filter

None

Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

During
the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Directions

Tags

Calm Posed Lying Down

Description

I simply asked the dad to lay on his back with his legs crossed at his ankles and then asked the mom to lay next to him. I asked her to rest her head on his chest and to just place her hand under her belly to help define it. That was important because this shot was going to be pretty wide, and seeing that she was pregnant was the goal.

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What was said

“ok dad go ahead and lay on your back and cross your legs at your ankles. Now mom, I want you to lay next to him resting your head on his chest and put a hand under your belly to define your bump. Dad, wrap your arm around her.

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Composition

Why I composed the way I did

I wanted to include both sides of the canyon in my shot so tried to include roughly the same amount of canyon on each side of the couple. I tried to take the shot directly above them and not at an angle. This also throws in a good few compositional elements like leading lines and natural frames.

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Tags

Rule of Thirds Center Framed Leading Lines High Angle Natural Frames

Focus

Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Live View Single Shot

Focused on

the couple

Focus description

Focusing was very simple for this image as I positioned the drone directly above the couple. I then tapped the screen on my phone to where the focus should be (which was the couple) and the drone locked on without issue.

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Shutter Speed

1/60

Aperture

f/11

ISO

800

White Balance

Auto

Other Light Sources
No additional light sources were used.
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Light &
Exposure

How the light was used

Natural light – the sun had gone behind the canyon wall and the time was about 1.5 hours before sunset. I used the light this way because before it goes behind the canyon wall it is direct harsh light and I would rather have it in the open shade vs direct harsh sunlight. I would not have done anything differently.

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Tags

Soft Light Natural Light Shade Afternoon

After
the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &
Presets

Editing Software used

Lightroom and Photoshop

Preset Used
How I edited this image

I used the spot removal brush to remove myself from the image, then used SMAL 01 as a base, decreased highlights and whites, increased shadows and exposure, increased saturation but then erased it off the couple, removed grain, took to photoshop and applied Stormy Solis’ one click action (smoothed skin, lightened subject, darkened edges, added warmth), added sunshine action and bring back color action, used My Four Hens action to paint on warmth around the rocks, adjusted curves to decrease shadows and increase highlights, saved back into photoshop, applied SMAL 08 over image, removed grain, decreased highlights and whites.

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Conclusion

Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

The only challenges would be possible mild discomfort of the subjects from laying on the rock but they did not complain. Also flying my drone in a canyon is always a bit of a challenge and finding a spot to land it since the area was very uneven. If I did it again I would probably have started and ended in the road instead of trying to land it in the canyon (I lost 2 blades trying to land it)

Solutions I found

I recently discovered the Home button on my drone which has it land the same spot it took off, so that would have been a solution!

Advice

When doing a drone shot, look for areas that are interesting around your subject (layers, interesting curves, etc. – not just a field of mowed grass) and don’t be afraid to play with the saturation when editing to really make it pop.
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Photographed by

Emily Hodge

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