How to make amazing aerial photographs of Watersports


As summer approaches, aerial photography of watersports consists of challenging photographic boundaries.

This article presents some tips on shooting composition, camera settings, and creative inspiration, helping you step by step to create amazing aerial photos of water sports.

DJI does not encourage beginner pilots to fly over water. Always operate your drone within your visual line of sight and avoid flying near crowds of people, vehicles, boats, and other large objects.

Before we hit the waves, let’s take a look at the best watersports for aerial photography.

5 Watersports perfect for Aerial Photography


The combination of athletics and natural scenery makes surfing one of the most incredible and exciting watersports to catch. From above, you can experiment with photo and video compositions and get a different perspective on the underlying action.

Equipment : Phantom 4 Pro V2.0

Water Rafting

Water rafting is a thrilling adventure that gives you the opportunity to capture dramatic shots of nature.

Rafting – Tara – Montenegro © Miloš Tomašević 
Equipment : Phantom 4 Pro V2.0


With aerial photography, you can capture the beautiful contrast of the blue sea and the striking colors of the parasail wing.

Equipment : Mavic 2 Pro


Kayaking offers the perfect opportunity to capture beautiful coasts, beaches and wild animals from an intimate perspective.

Kayak © Chris Schmid

Jet Ski

You can capture fantastic wavy patterns from above as a jet ski glides over the water.

Now that we’ve discovered some watersports and taken a look at some examples, let’s learn about some creative tips to improve your watersport photography.

Jet Your Way! © Ivan Masalitin | Equipment: Phantom 4 Pro

5 Watersport Photography tips


The adventure continues as the sunsets. An excellent way to capture this effect is to capture a subject with the backdrop of the sunset in the background. In the example below, a Mavic 2 Pro was positioned to capture both the subject and the sunset in the background.

Apocalyptic Sunset Surfer I © PHLY Immagini | Equipment: Mavic 2 Pro

Another fantastic option is to capture the light of a sunset on the surface of the water. Using this feature, your subjects appear as silhouettes in the image.

SUP in swamp © Arvids Baranovs | Equipment: Mavic 2 Pro


Take advantage of reflections on the water surface to create amazing compositions. With sports like canoeing and kayaking, you can come across fantastic natural backdrops as you glide through the water. Position your drone high in the air to simultaneously highlight the reflection and make your subjects even smaller. With a bit of practice, you can achieve amazing results.

Saint Row © Mauro Pagliai | Equipment: Mavic Air 2


The energy of the ocean can be felt through the waves, and from an aerial perspective, you can showcase the enormous power of Mother Nature. Experiment with lighting conditions, reflections, and shadows to create your unique moment.

Go surf! © Andrea Marongiu | Equipment: Phantom 4 Pro V2.0


With an aerial perspective, you can also track the movement of your subject, which produces a shot across the water surface. This is especially useful for taking images of watersport vehicles.

It’s a bird, it’s an airplane. No, it’s a boat © brad.deel | Equipment: Mavic 2 Pro

3 Camera Settings for Watersport Aerial Photography

Speed & Action: Shutter Speed

Watersport activities are packed with fast-paced action, which means it can be tricky to get the perfect shot. To capture the pros at their finest moments, you need a way to catch their movement and keep them in the shot. To achieve this, crank up the shutter speed, turn on Burst mode, and leave some space for your subject to move into the frame.

S for speed © Mike Leung | Equipment: Mavic 2 Zoom

Athletic Motion: Framing

Look for action shots when an athlete is jumping or making a turn, and pan the camera in the direction they are moving to capture them inside the frame.

Surf © Andrea Marongiu | Equipment: Phantom 4 Pro V2.0

Waves: Long Exposure

With an aerial image and with long-exposure photography, you can achieve amazing shots of all the watersport activity below. Position the drone above your scene of interest and decrease the shutter speed to achieve this effect.

Long exposure © BenMack | Equipment: Phantom 4 Pro V2.0

You can get great results using your Mavic 2 Pro or Phantom 4 Pro.

This summer, where will your watersport adventure take you?