Don't have a drone? Put your camera on a fishing rod! (Or a big stick, or a kite)

Drone camera fishing rod hack
(Image credit: YouTube: karenxcheng)

These could be the best photography hacks ever: putting your camera on a fishing rod, a big stick or even a kite to replicate drone footage!

Getting great aerial shots usually means using one of the best camera drones, or taking a ride in a low-flying helicopter. However, just as expensive photography using aircraft was replaced by cheaper photography using drones, so drone photography might just be replace by these even cheaper camera hacks! 

Ingenious Instagram and YouTube sensation karenxcheng has made a name for herself with her brilliant no- and low-budget filmmaking hacks, cheats and shortcuts, using everything from broom handles, washing baskets and office chairs to create big league effects for small-time shooters. 

However, her latest video, Low Budget Drone Shots (below) shows you how to completely fake expensive (and skilled) drone piloting and aerial photography skills using nothing more than a fishing rod, a big stick, a kite or even just fishing wire.

Cheng has employed some of these tricks before, for different purposes, such as using a fishing rod to descend a 360 camera down a stairwell, or having a friend lift a camera on a long pole while she stands holding a fake control unit to create an artificial drone shot.

We'd never have thought, though, that using a fishing rod to dangle a camera off the side of a bridge, mounting a tiny camera to a kite or using a makeshift zip wire from a bridge to create an epic zoom shot could so seamlessly mimic expert drone footage!

Of course, while these are absolutely inspired ideas that we'd love to try ourselves, we should warn anybody wanting to recreate these techniques to be very careful with their kit – hanging a camera off a bridge on a fishing line is all fun and games until it falls into the water below! 

Read more: 

Best DJI drones
Best drones for beginners
Best drones for kids
Best indoor drones
Best underwater drones 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.