Panning shots - how to do them
with your drone - Tutorial


The astonishing effect of these Panning shots is really incredible. The feeling of the stop motion of the picked object and still moving surroundings is amazing. But to make this you need to do some preparations. 

What do you need to make Panning shots?

You need a drone of course. But also you need ND Filters. We shall explain why you need them. Without an ND Filter, your camera captures too much light due to the slow shutter speed that is required for the blurry background and your photos are overexposed. If your chosen object is a moving car, for example, you want only the vehicle to be in focus with a blurred background. The speed of this moving object is the key of the Panning shot as well as the camera setting. You need to be in synchrony. Only in this case, your shot will be good enough. 

What kind of ND Filters to use?

We recommend you use ND64 filters in sunny weather and ND32 in cloudy weather. You need to set your camera to Manual Shoot and select the slowest possible shutter speed. That’s how your image will not be overexposed. If possible, shoot in RAW format, so you have the most editing options in post-production. Some drones have this option, some – none. If you have it – definitely use it. Your panning shots will be great, for sure. If you want to read more about the ND filters and when to use them – you can read this article. 

The longer the shutter speed and the closer you fly, the more blur/movement you see later in your photo. Before you start, explore the flight path for obstacles. 


The flight – how does it go?

Start flying along just before the vehicle comes into view so that the vehicle slowly appears on the screen, and try to follow at the same speed. Make sure the moving object is in the corner of the image and you can see the road where the vehicle is going.

Post-processing the Panning shots in general

  • Crop the photo;
  • Lower the highlights;
  • Lower the white tones;
  • Increase contrast;

We hope we’ve helped you get the idea of Panning shots and inspire you to try. Here you can see how to do it with Mavic Air. They look great, like coming out from professional advertising. Making this type of shooting will be a challenge to you and the result will be great. If you want to read and learn some other drone shooting techniques – you can read our special section. Some of the most popular shooting techniques are Hyperlapse or Day/Night Transition. Try them if you have not done it yet. In all cases, your drone flight must be safe and pleasant. Keep the drone flying rules for the place where you will fly. Keep in mind that good weather conditions are necessary for a nice flight and also the perfect condition of your drone.

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