Digital SLR Photography

10 Ways to Prepare For Your First Drone Flight

By Caroline Schmidt. Posted

With your drone batteries charged and a safe and suitable location picked out for flying, it’s time to head out and take to the skies. And while your first flight may be the most daunting, we’re going to give you a head start by running through a few basic considerations that must be made before and during flights. Here are ten things you should think about before making that first flight to help ensure success...


Research your desired location using apps including Drone Assist, Google Maps and The Photographer’s Ephemeris to ensure it’s safe, visually suitable and that the light is good when you plan to fly your drone.

Wind & rain:

Rain and wind are the most problematic weather conditions for drone flight, so pay close attention to the weather. Consumer drones generally can’t fly in winds over 22mph, so check wind speed pre-flight.

Cold weather:

Cold weather will obviously make your hands cold so use gloves that are compatible with smart devices. Cold temperatures will also affect the performance and reliability of batteries.

Time of day:

Always take heed of the fact that drone flights must take place during daylight hours, with the general rule of thumb saying that this is between 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.

Take-off and landing:

When flying in a location where pedestrians may pass by, put safety first and make sure that your take-off and landing area is at least 30-metres away from where people will be walking.


Notices to airmen (NOTAMs) are temporary warnings of aircraft activity and flight restrictions that, if active where you intend to fly, can be found by using apps such as Drone Assist and Air Map.

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Calibrate the compass:

When you visit a new location, your drone will prompt you to calibrate the compass. This calibration should be performed away from metal objects to avoid magnetic interference.

Take responsibility:

With the potential risks involved in drone flight, to be safe and legal, you should never operate a drone when you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or even if you’re feeling unwell.

Carry spares:

Before and after every flight you should check all the propellers for damage and replace them if damage is identified. Always carry spares so that you can swap them on location when required.


Bright sunlight, even when the sun is behind you, can make it difficult to see the drone in the sky, even at a relatively low height, so in these situations wearing sunglasses can be much more comfortable.

To read the full article including everything you need to know to get started in drone photography, pick up the latest issue in stores now. Alternatively subscribe today to receive the next installments in the series: Click here to subscribe