Interview with drone photographer Gabriel Scanu (@gabscanu)

Interview with Gabriel Scanu

aerial drone photography

I discovered Gabriel Scanu’s drone work (@gabscanu) late last year and was completely blown away by his unique drone views of Australia.

What caught my eye was not just his fresh perspective on Australia’s sheer cliffs, desert landscapes and the gorgeous turquoise beaches but the way in which he also edits his photos to bring about a warm and soothing quality.

It’s no wonder his photos are constantly some of the most liked photos on the @fromwhereidrone Instagram account time and time again. Because of Gabriel’s aerial work, visiting Australia is now one of the places at the top of my list of places to visit with my drone.

I recently caught up with Gabriel to learn more about his gear, inspirations, what he looks for in creating a photograph and his vision for the future of drones. Take a look below for his answers…


To start things off can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I’m 20 years old and I’m from Sydney, Australia. Since leaving school two years ago I have studied and worked part time through Instagram and other avenues, creating content and selling work. I’ve recently put my studies on hold to pursue this further while I have some momentum.

aerial drone photography


You have an incredible portfolio of work! Can you tell us how you got started in photography?

Thanks so much for that compliment! I have been into photography and film from a very young age. My father is a cinematographer so it’s something that I’ve always been surrounded by. I learnt how to use a DSLR at the age of 12 and have always explored new and interesting concepts relating to photography.


How did you get started in drone photography?

 In terms of drone photography it was my father again who first introduced me to the concept about a year ago. He purchased a drone for work purposes and we drove out to the snowy mountains of Australia to fly it for the very first time (probably not the most sensible decision).

I was instantly captured by how easy it was to operate and the amazing results achieved. There was no real hype surrounding aerial photography at this point so I saw it as an opportunity to put my own stamp on the somewhat undiscovered field.

aerial drone photography  

 It seems like some of the best drone photography is coming out of Australia. Do you know many other pilots there? What makes Australia so magical?

I definitely agree, the droning scene in Australia is increasing rapidly. I’m always meeting people in the sky and on the ground who are flying drones in the same places as me. In terms of what makes Australia such a magical place, I would have the say the amazing diversity in the landscape.

You’ve got the desert, beaches, snow and amazing cities. It has everything, so I count myself lucky to live in such a beautiful place.


What do you look for when taking a photo? How can we take awesome photos like you?

When capturing aerial photos I usually scan and look for a busy scene. Somewhere or some place that has a lot going on, possibly with multiple natural elements or crowds of people or cars or all of the above. For me it’s about capturing natural moments from a unique perspective that you don’t see everyday, almost like a bird observing the world from above.

 aerial drone photography


What inspires you?

The thing that inspires me the most is probably people’s reaction to my work. The feedback and the responses I get after each post is amazing and that kind of support really pushes me to continue challenging my own creative abilities.

I’m also inspired by the fact that I have the potential to inspire others and make them feel how I feel when I look at certain images, that’s probably what drives me the most.

aerial drone photography


What do you like to do when you are not taking photos?

When I’m not taking photos I’m editing them…haha. Aside from that I like to hang out with friends, workout, play sports, listen to hip-hop and explore fashion.

Who are 3 of your favorite photographers?

1) Nabil Elderkin
This guy is probably my favourite photographer/visual artist. His concepts and style is so different from anyone else out there and he really pushes the boundaries creatively, not to mention he works with some of the biggest names and brands in the world.

2) Jack Morris (@doyoutravel)
Jack has an amazing perspective on life and is great at selling the lifestyle he lives. His style is so well suited to social media and is very natural in the sense you feel like you’re in the scenes he captures.

3) Matt Abad (@badboi)
I love this guy’s work mainly because of the way he edits his photos. He shoots models and scenes with a very high contrast/saturated look with rich unique colours.


aerial drone photography


What are some of your favorite books?

 I hate to say it but I’m not much of a book guy, I prefer films much more. If I had to pick a couple of favourites though I’d have to say George Orwell’s 1984 and the Harry Potter Series.

aerial drone photographyBronte Rock Pool in Sydney

What one photo means the most to you and why?

The photo that means the most to me is probably my shot of Bronte Rock Pool in Sydney (photo above). This was a last minute decision to go down to the beach in the morning and see what I could get. I wasn’t even concentrating when I took the shot, I was actually talking to a stranger and describing what I was doing.

Later when I went home and looked at the shots it just so happened everything was working for me in the scene. I just like the story behind the shot really.

 aerial drone photography


Can you tell us about your editing process as well as what some of your favorite apps are?

My editing process is very simple. I shoot RAW images to maintain all of the information and then develop these images through Adobe Lightroom. I have made my own presets and looks over time which speeds up the process for me but I still find myself making small adjustments here and there.

Aside from that I use VSCO cam and Enlight which are my two favourite photo editing apps. VSCO has some great preset filters and Enlight allows you to manipulate your shots in a way similar to Photoshop.


What is your dream project?

 My dream project is to create an app that is similar to Instagram, that reinforces a sense of creativity and collaboration. The wheels are set in motion and if all goes to plan it will be released later this year.

aerial drone photography 

What is a dream location you would like to go shoot?

My dream location to shoot would definitely be Iceland. There is nothing like it in the world and the colour palette is so unique to the location. Not to mention being able to see the northern lights.

Can you tell us about your drone setup as well as what is your favorite gear?

My drone set up is very basic. I tend to carry a DJI Phantom 3 Pro around in a hardshell case with two spare batteries along with spare sd cards and lighting cables.

Some of my other favourite gear to use is my Canon 5D MkIII with Canon lenses such as the 16-35mm24-70mm and the 70-200mm. I also always carry my 15inch Macbook Pro and external hard drives for storage and editing.

aerial drone photography

In your opinion what will drones or drone technology look like in the future?

I get the feeling that drones will slowly but surely become assimilated into mainstream society. I read a study recently, which said in 10 years one in ten people will own a drone. Which is pretty ridiculous.

I think the next step in terms of drone technology is making them smarter and stronger which is something already being developed since drones can now track certain objects and they have sensors to avoid obstacles. Aside from this I predict underwater droning to be the next big thing.


What piece of advice or tips do you have for fellow drone photographers?

My advice for fellow drone photographers would be to take risks and push the boundaries in terms of creativity, not safety of course. Continue to reach new heights, literally and share the world from an interesting perspective.

Gabriel Scanu drone photography bio

Gabriel Scanu is a 20 year old photographer based out of Sydney, Australia.


Hey everyone, Dirk here, I would just like to say a special thanks to Gabriel for taking the time to share with us and to you for reading this! To see more of his work or to order prints check Gabriel out on the web:

Instagram: @gabscanu
Snapchat: gabscan (Gabriel posts a lot of behind the scenes stuff on Snapchat)


What to read next:
– How to Find Awesome Photography Locations
– 8 Tips for Better Drone Photography



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