8 drone photography tips in Bora Bora

Drone Aerial Photography - Bora Bora lagoon shade of blue overwater bungalows

Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful places in the world. If you plan to get drone images there, we invite you to read our full drone photography guide in Bora Bora. You can also find some of the best aerial photographs in the guide on the DJI’s site. Below you will find some quick tips to get some great drone pictures in Bora Bora:

1. Check the weather: sunny vs cloudy and windy

If you would like to showcase in your aerial pictures the most vibrant colors, it is recommended that you  take your images in the morning (but not too early). The sun needs to be high enough to reveal all shades of blue of Bora Bora’s lagoon. If the weather is cloudy, you will not be able to get the most vibrant look in the images;  you are likely, however, to get a splendid portrait photoshoot. Be careful about the wind – if it is too strong, you may have connection issues with the GPS signal!

2. Polarizing filters make a difference in Bora Bora

If you wish to create colorful drone images in Bora Bora, you must have polarizing filters. It will let you avoid too much reflection on the water and instead get some vibrant pictures without too much post-production. Only if you wish to keep sunrise or sunset colors (orange/yellow), we advise you not to use the filter. For drone photographer and videographer, use some polarizing ND filters (e.g. ND16) to keep your aperture very low.

Overwater bungalow, crystalline blue water with polarized drone filter
The beautiful colors of the water in Bora Bora with a polarizing filter

3. Keep a low aperture

Keeping your aperture low (e.g. F4) is essential when you use the best known drones with a build-in camera (e.g. DJI, Parrot,…). It will enable you to get high quality pictures. In contrast, using a high aperture F11/F16 with the build-in camera is less efficient. If you have a custom drone with your ‘camera on it’, using F11/F16 should be perfect with a high range lens (e.g.Canon L series).

The shades of blue with the overwater bungalows

4. A bad angle can change the colors of Bora Bora from wonderful blue to white.

Always try to take your photos with the sun behind the drone camera, if you want to reveal the colors and avoid reflection.

5. Choose the best time for the light: sunset of sunrise is not always best!

Sunrise and sunset are unforgettable in Bora Bora. The colors are incredible. But if you look for vibrant and colorful images, choose morning or daytime.

Morning view in Bora Bora during a private boat trip

6. Shoot in RAW / Shoot Manual / Shoot with low ISO

The key to make the best of your drone photos in Bora Bora (& islands in general) remains the same for other locations. Tip 2 (polarizing filters) is THE secret to reveal the colors of Bora Bora with your drone.

7. Bracketing to compensate the low dynamic range.

Do not forget to bracket, especially if you use a built-in camera (e.g. Dji magic 2). In fact, the sensors are not as good as in full-frame cameras and the dynamic range is lower. You will sometimes need to use some HDR to keep the details of your images. But if you like your images to be more ‘natural’, do not use the HDR technique. Keep it simple!

A breathtaking view on the Conrad Bora Bora Nui (Drone Photography in Bora Bora) and the famous Otemanu mountain
A breathtaking view on the Conrad Bora Bora Nui and the famous Otemanu mountain

8. You never know how it looks like until you try.

One thing you learn when you practice drone photography is that you never know how it will look like until you see the view from the air! Practice and take a risk to try new things. The best shoot is the one you do not expect!

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