Consistency in a Photo Series: Why It's Important

Consistency in a Photo Series: Why It's Important

Just recently after moving back home for the summer, I decided to begin a new aerial series. Up here in Bergen County, New Jersey, there is not much to shoot, or at least that is something I tell myself. One day after skimming Google Maps for spots to fly, I came upon a few islands on a lake, each with their own individual house. Intrigued by what I saw, I knew that I had to find a way to capture these homes in a way that makes them more interesting to me. So right here, my series began and I will explain why I think it is important to keep every photo consistent.

Before I get too involved with this article, I'd like to state that these photos are not quite final, I am still working on a few of them to make sure everything is where it needs to be before I go ahead and finalize the series. Anyway, it all started here with this first island (below). I was up flying my drone over the lake trying to find the best way to frame this island to make it seem as if it sits on this body of water alone. I tried shooting from a few different angles but did not like the look as much as I liked the whole idea of shooting straight down. I am really into the straight down shots and that may have an influence on why I shot this way as well, but aside from that I shot this way because I wanted all of my images to be in a portrait-style layout. If I shot the images on an angle, I would then have to crop them in post to be in a portrait layout because my camera on the drone does not go into portrait mode when I am flying — unless I shoot straight down and rotate the image. This was a really important decision to make because I knew once I shot it a certain way, I had to shoot the rest that way too. I also took a few photos the other way to crop and test but I still think the series will just consist of straight down images, giving a larger resolution which is better if I plan on printing them at any point.

Now, jumping into the technical aspects of everything, I wanted to be sure my whole series was shot at the same time of day, on the same lens, with the same filter and very similar camera settings. Now I don't know how important this part truly is, but I do know that if I want my pictures to all be very similar, I should shoot with similar settings so they all have a fair amount of space to be fixed up in post. I get to my location around 7:45 p.m. and stay until around 9:15 p.m. when the sun is pretty much down. This gives me the full duration of twilight/sunset to shoot, meaning that the sky sometimes gives me some really nice color that reflects in the water. I also don't have to worry about hard shadows being casted anywhere because by this time the lighting is so soft and balanced. Every photo in this series was shot with a 15mm DJI lens with a PolarPro CP filter. My ISO varies from 100–200, my shutter speed from 1/25–1/60 s and my aperture from f/2.2–f/2.8. If my settings were out of whack and I shot at ISO 400–800 because it was a bit dark at the location, my files would be a little harder to edit and match the previous photos from the series. From what I have seen so far, this method of shooting has been working very well and I will continue to shoot this way. I will also continue to experiment a bit more and see what other ideas I can come up with for future projects.

Lastly, and it may just have to do with me being super picky, I wanted every island I shot to have a house on it. Not only is this extremely difficult to find, but these places are by no means close to where I live. I have put in a lot of time and dedication to get out to some of these islands and shoot them. If I am not able to capture them the way I want, I go back until I get them right. Since I have been shooting this series, I have found a few islands that are interesting that do not have houses on them but still photograph well. In a way, I feel like it will throw off the series a bit but then again I think it is up to me to decide whether or not I want ot incorporate these into my series or not. For something like this, I plan on printing all of the images fairly large and hopefully showing them in some sort of gallery which is why consistency is key.


My idea for this series came with the feeling of loneliness. Over the past few months working on my business and pushing myself to get somewhere with my work, I have gone through a lot. Friends, family, and other relationships have played a big role in this series, but most importantly this series relates something I am going through. So far I really love the way these images are coming out and I find it so interesting that people actually have their own islands! Imagine having that as a getaway? This personal project has brought me all over the state of New Jersey to different lakes that are so beautiful. It has become something I look forward to, going out and finding a place to fly and shoot these islands. There is something peaceful about lakes I have realized and spending many nights at them photographing this series has done nothing but take me away from the busy world I feel like I live in.

I've talked about making a series before and I would 100 percent recommend it to anyone who thinks they can do it. For me it is a challenge, but at the same time it is really rewarding to see everything come together and it motivates me to shoot more. I have to thank Instagram and all of the awesome drone photographers out there who constantly put out more and more amazing work. Every day I am inspired by these artists and big accounts featuring them; it gives me so many ideas and so much inspiration to get out there and keep at it. For anyone out there doing any sort of photography, think about shooting something that has value to you and find the best way to show it, you may really like where this type of project can take you and not only you, but your work as well.

I am a huge nerd when it comes to drones and have been flying for over 4 years. I enjoy doing aerial photography as my personal work but shoot tons of video for work as well. I am a part of Simply Visual Productions and Simply Sounds, working my way into an industry I couldn't be happier to be a part of.

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Beautiful images and series! I love this idea. I think these would all look great printed out and displayed together. Very cool that this also led you to further explore your state. It's easy to want to go to far-off places but there is a lot of cool stuff all around - you just have to look for it and be willing to put in some work!

I'm curious what the legal aspect of this is as you are shooting someone's private property and then potentially profiting off of that work. Additionally, I'm not sure what the legality is of shooting/filming the property in the first place. Great looking images nonetheless!

Thanks Aneesh! Also when I drive all over, I spot some new places I want to go and explore, so it never hurts to travel around. Even for work I am constantly driving from house to house so I remember certain areas I am interested in going to.

I haven't made any profits off these yet, but I could see that being a conflict because technically it is their property. I guess I'd have to take a boat out to their place, show them the photos and ask for permission haha. I wonder how I'd go about that too

Great concept and execution.

Thank You Mike!

This is a great series!

Thanks Ralph!

Cool photos!

Thank You!

So, how does a CP filter work when the drone is that high up? You can't get there to rotate the polarizer for glare reduction - do you rotate the drone instead?

The CP Filter is just a basic filter I am using to bring down my shutter speed and make the colors pop a bit. It is just fixed at one setting so there is need to adjust it. Technically I am shooting these images landscape style with the camera facing down 90 degrees and when I edit them, I rotate them into the portrait style.

Polarisers work directionally (yes, they will almost always help with shutter control and color) but to do the best to cut reflections, they have to be aligned appropriately to the available light, which varies from one composition to the other. Do you ever notice your reflections look stronger/weaker from photo to photo?

Since the camera is pointed down 90 degrees, I bet if you rotate the drone around it would simulate a fixed position with the polariser rotating.

Lest you think I'm being overcritical - I do like the series!!

This never occurred to me but in hindsight, what you say is absolutely right. Consistency. Interestingly this comes at a tie I am about to do a photo essay on a national highway, which was shot during a daytime period of about 3-4 hours (and I guess therefore forms an ideal candidate to apply your principle). I'll now have to review all my images now and see the degree of consistency. Thanks. And also my appreciation of the images in the article. They are lovely. And what sharpness! Breathtaking. I'm glad I read your post. Thanks. and keep it up.

Hi. Great pictures! What technique do you use to get matching colors? Side by side in Photoshop an the rest by hand? Thanks!