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10 Tips on How to Take Good Pictures with Drones

Drones are fun, and when you take aerial pictures, it’s a whole new perspective on life. But if you’re just getting started, you may find that your photography doesn’t look anything like the professional drone photography you see online.

People have spent a lot of time with their drones. They’ve learned how to capture the perfect picture, taking advantage of different angles and viewpoints.

Whether you use a mini drone with a camera or a high-end model, one of the best things to do with a drone is capture those once-in-a-lifetime pictures.

If you’re just getting started with drone photography (or you’re like me and are not an artsy person), these tips will bring your drone photography to the next level.

1. Shoot in the Right Format

RAW doesn’t mean much to a non-photographer, but for professionals, this means a file type that allows you to correct flaws in your photographs. Shoot in RAW, and not .jpg format. You’ll be able to edit your photo, and the photos won’t be compressed. You’ll be able to process the photo to transform it from an amateur shot to a professional shot.

2. Choose Manual Mode

Every drone is different, but if your drone has an option to shoot in manual (sometimes “M”) mode, do it. Why? You’ll be able to adjust the camera’s features with much more refinement than what’s offered in auto (“P”) modes.

Manual mode allows you to adjust the ISO, change shutter speed and take better pictures.

3. Drop the ISO Level

Back to those ISO settings that a lot of us don’t understand. You should be shooting with the lowest ISO possible. Why? If you’re flying Skycam HD WIFI drone around and snapping a picture, you might notice that it has noise.

Low ISO levels minimize the noise in your photos.

Higher ISO levels are an acceptable option if you plan to shoot in long exposure.

4. Understand 16:9 and 4:3 Formats

There’s a major difference between 16:9 and 4:3 formats when shooting. Both of these aspects, along with many that are using 3:2 formats, should be experienced. Change between formats and find the format that you prefer.

Use all ratios, and even shoot in all ratios at a location, to see which one you like the most.

If you understand what difference ratios will make in your photos, you’ll have a much easier time taking that “perfect” picture.

5. Try and Eliminate Shaking

Wind speeds increase the higher your drone goes in the air. You can wait for the perfect day where the skies are clear and wind-free. But this isn’t an option for a lot of people because you may never be back at your shooting location again.

Eliminate shaking by flying lower, or you can reduce shutter speed to try and alleviate some of the shaking that is coming through in your drone’s photography.

6. Use Insulated Bags to Keep Batteries Fresh

I hate when I shoot in the cold and the battery dies quickly. Cold weather will drain a battery quickly. There’s nothing like hiking to a destination only to find that your batteries are completely depleted.

If you’re facing artic conditions or a snow storm, pack your batteries in an insulated bag to prevent the cold from draining the battery.

This pro tip is one that some of the best photographers in the world follow to keep their camera’s battery filled up.

7. Shoot in Different Lighting

Lighting is the key to good photography, but a lot of us hobbyists will shoot at one time of the day and call it quits. But you know better. Lighting will make a picture either superb or a drag. Professionals recommend shooting in different light.

You’ll want to shoot when it’s:

  • Sunny
  • Dark
  • Sunrise
  • Sunset

When you shoot when the sun is going up or down, this is often considered the “golden hour” because the sun is positioned perfectly for a great shot. If you’re interested in a specific shot, make sure that you schedule in time to take pictures throughout the day to find one that fits perfectly for your shot.

8. Post-Process Your Images

It’s important to process your images. Why? Everyone else that you admire as a drone photographer is doing the exact same thing. All photos have room for improvement, and this can mean a lot of different things.

You may opt to straighten a photo, you may choose to adjust the photo’s color, or you may remove an object.

There are a lot of post-processing options, and this may include a subscription to Adobe’s Cloud, or it may be a free app or paid app to make your pictures pop. I suggest starting with free options and seeing what post-processing has to offer before moving to a paid version.

9. Play Around with Long Exposure

If you plan on shooting in a spot for just a short period of time, it may be worthwhile to shoot in both short exposure and long exposure.


You may never have a chance to take the same shot again. Shoot in both long and short exposure, ensuring that you’ll never miss this opportunity. You may like the way that the lighting looks in long exposure, or short exposure may be able to capture a bird mid-flight.

10. Practice Your Drone Skills Often

You’re a pilot, and your flying skills will dictate how well a photo comes out. It’s important to practice your drone skills, mastering flight to be able to take the ideal photos. If you’re not practicing your flying skills, it’s time to start.

This means learning how to hover your drone in one spot, how to avoid obstacles in your way and how to confidently control the drone in high-wind conditions.

It’s the small, subtle control options that can mean the difference between a strong shot with your drone and a shot that is subpar.

If you master flying, you’ll enhance your photos in the process.

Taking good pictures with a drone isn’t as hard as it seems. Practice. Take a lot of photos and learn more about your camera’s options if you want to enhance your skills overnight.

January 21, 2019


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