Drone photography

Using a drone for photography is great fun, and also a fantastic tool to capture new and exciting angles.
And the photo quality is getting better and better for each new model.
I am qurrently using Mavic 2 Pro, and the 20MP Hasselblad camera is a huge step up in quality since the Mavic Pro.
On the Mavic 2 Pro the autofocus has also improved a lot, making it much easier to get sharp photos.
But even so, what might look awesome on the screen when you’re flying, may look unsharp and out of focus when you get back and start post-processing the photos.

Best settings for Mavic Pro

The key to getting sharp photos is adjusting the settings manually, instead of the auto settings.
And the aperture is espesically important.
But when taking drone photography, you have to adjust the settings in a different way than on a regular DSLR.
When shooting for the entire photo being sharp with a DSLR camera you will have to use a small aperture. This means setting the camera to a high f number.
But on the drone, it is the opposite. Here you will have to use close to maximum aperture in order to get sharp photos, meaning a low f number.
So to get sharp drone photos you must use f2.8-f4. I usually shoot in f4, making even the edges sharp.
I find that setting it lower makes the photos too crisp for my taste.
As long as the light allows it, I also shoot with ISO 100 to avoid grain. And then adjust the exposure accordingly.
In the 5D button customization I have set left to decrease EV and right to increase EV in order to change the exposure easily.
Also in the DJI GO app I have made a custom style where I have set sharpness to +1.

How to get sharp drone photos

When focusing I almost always use autofocus, as this works very well on the Mavic 2 Pro.
And in the button customization I have set the C2 button to Camera setting .
This way I can easily access the settings if for example I want to turn on the peaking threshold.
Peaking threshold are red lines showing you what parts are in focus, and is a very helpful tool.
Then I can set focus to manual and finetune the focus if needed.
I have also set the C1 button to Center autofocus as I find it faster than halfpressing the shutter button. But this is just a matter of taste.

Of course shoot in RAW so you can sharpen the photos more in the post-processing, and use AEB to get the full dynamic range.
I have set my AEB to 3 shots, and find it more than enough.
Also I recommend using a polarizer filter. This will enhance the details by removing reflections.
I always fly with a PL filter, and currently I’m using the NISI Enhanced PL filter.

Good luck and happy flying!

How to get sharp drone photos

Recent articles

  • Tutorial on how to create the Orton effect

Learn how to create the Orton effect

The Orton effect In this article I will show you how to create the softening technique called the Orton effect in Photoshop. This is probably one of the most popular post-processing techniques [...]

  • Photography workshop in Norway

Photography workshop in Norway

Photography workshop in Norway UPDATE: Due to the corona situation, the workshop has been moved to summer 2021. Stay tuned for the new dates. Happy to announce I have teamed up with [...]

  • Learn how to create light rays in Photoshop

How to create light rays

How to create light rays in Photoshop Light is an important part of photography. But often you may experience that you have a cool motive, yet the light is not that exciting. [...]

Let’s Work Together