9 Drone Secrets Every Photographer Must Know

Everything has a secret. I have mine. I am sure you also have your own. Drones also have secrets. In this article, I will be specifically revealing DJI drone secrets. And you will learn the nine drone secrets every photographer must know.

If you are not lucky, your drone could reach its lifespan without you ever unleashing its full photographic potential. That is why I will give you some secrets to keep at your fingertips when taking photographs and videos with your drone.

These secrets are for your convenience and your drone’s efficiency. They could mean the difference between a pro drone pilot and an amateur drone hobbyist. The 9 drone secrets every photographer must know will positively change the dynamics and scope of your drone photography and videography.

Use the tips I will give you to improve the quality of your drones and drone services. Let’s get started.

Related article: Warning! These 7 mistakes will destroy your drone.

9 drone secrets that will blow your mind

Here are the eleven drone secrets:

1. Shoot in raw format
2. Stick to low ISO settings
3. Use height to create illusions
4. The aperture effect
5. What is your drone’s shutter speed?
6. Use gridlines when taking drone shots
7. Take many shots from different angles
8. Perform a drone pre-flight test
9. Practice drone photography every day
drone secrets every photographer must know

1. Shoot in the RAW format

Why RAW format? What does that even mean? You see, drones are a recent aerial technology. Few drone hobbyists understand how the camera sensors work.

Many people are picking up the hobby without prior piloting expertise. In other words, many drone hobbyists are learning on the job.

RAW format is an essential secret in drone photography. To shoot raw on DJI drones, go to Settings, tap the Camera icon, click Image Format, and tap RAW.

It utilizes your camera sensor’s full potential by capturing uncompressed photos and videos. Capturing data in the RAW format gives you enormous flexibility during editing and processing.

2. Stick to low ISO settings

Cameras use light to make images. ISO is how sensitive to light your drone’s sensor is.

A higher ISO value means your drone sensors are very sensitive to light. That creates a lot of noise in the resulting image.

It is yet another drone secrets every photographer must know. The sensor’s sensitivity to light ranges between ISO 100 and ISO 6400. Stick to low ISO settings.

Keep your sensor’s ISO value below 800 to avoid grainy images.

To adjust ISO in your drone, focus on the object to capture and go to Settings. You will see the ISO range. Swipe it to the left to lower your drone’s ISO setting and notice the clarity it gives to your image.

3. Use height to create illusions

A drone allows you to see and put your subject from many perspectives. Take your drone photography to the next level by using height to create illusions. The higher you fly the drone, the clearer the landmarks become. However, do not fly your drone more than 400 feet in the sky.

Roads, forests, and buildings can reveal shapes and figures that you could manipulate to create illusions. Use your drone to capture aerial images that have the power to trick the mind.

You can create illusions by relying on facial pareidolia. That is the tendency of the human mind to look out for and see human faces in everyday objects and patterns.

Here are other drone photography tricks for creating illusion :

  • Use forced perspective photography
  • Use high-speed photography
  • Play with abstract concepts
  • Use angles to give your images a 3D look

4. The aperture effect

The aperture regulates the amount of light entering the camera sensors. You can open or close the aperture to change the sharpness of your drone photos. The smaller the aperture, the darker the images since less light reaches your camera’s sensors.

Increasing the aperture produces much brighter drone images. If you are going to use DJI Mavic 2 Pro, it is important to know which aperture setting to use. Keep the lens’s focal length between 1.8 and 5.6 if you are shooting a narrower depth of field.

If you are shooting a wider depth of field, set your aperture between f/8 and f/16. I recommend f/8 if you are shooting flat subjects. If you’re using your drone for wildlife photography, an aperture of f/2.8, f/4, or f/5.6 will capture for your amazing photographs.

5. What is your drone’s shutter speed?

You have come across the phrase “shutter speed” in your photo library. But have you ever paused to think about what exactly it means? You’ve probably even used it without knowing what it is telling you. What is your drone’s shutter speed? And what should it be?

Shutter speed is how quickly the shutter of your drone camera closes. A quick shutter means shorter exposure to light; a slower shutter gives you a longer exposure. If you want a bright enough photo, set your shutter speed at 1/100 second or 1/25 second.

The drone secret every photographer must know is that shutter speed also controls how your drone captures motion in the photo. You can use a faster shutter speed to reduce blurs occurring due to fast-moving subjects. Set your drone’s shutter speed to twice the frame rate for great images.

Read also: How to shoot amazing cinematic drone footage

6. Use gridlines when taking drone shots

Turn on grid lines on your DJI drone by clicking the photo settings. Scroll down and tap grid, then tap Grid Lines. Do you use gridlines in your drone shots? Why are they even important to a drone photographer?

According to psychologists, we humans prefer symmetry over asymmetry. You need gridlines to shoot symmetrical videos and photographs. The gridlines divide the subject into 9 equal parts, allowing you to apply the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds

7. Take many shots from different angles

One photo is never enough. It happens to everyone. I give you my iPhone to take my photo, and you capture more than one. Perhaps two or three or even more. The same applies to drone photography.

Remember that your drone has between 20 to 30 minutes of flight time in every battery. Utilize this time to take multiple shots of your subject from different angles. If you are shooting videos with your drone, aim for at least three five-minute drone footage in one flight.

That will ensure you use your drone batteries effectively and will also help you during editing. In short, taking many drone shots from different angles will give you many images to work with instead of restricting yourself to one scene.

8. Perform a drone preflight test

Remember that your drone’s battery time is critical to success in any event coverage. On the day of making your drone shots, arrive at the event early and perform a drone pre-flight test for three to five minutes.

That reminds me of my friend’s colorful wedding, where a drone pilot was contracted to deliver the wedding ring on a drone. The drone pilot could not successfully fly the quadcopter over the congregation, and the results were, well! Embarrassing and catastrophic.

The drone and the ring crashed on the congregants, and the wedding ring had to arrive organically. You know what I mean, right! That was absolutely not part of the plan. Therefore, eliminate such embarrassments by performing a drone pre-flight test on the area.

Most importantly, plan your battery accordingly.

9. Practice drone photography every day

You become better at piloting a drone by piloting a drone. Training and acquiring a remote pilot certificate is the first step to becoming a pro. Drone piloting and photography is a craft, and you have to sharpen it daily.

There are several cheap drones you can buy for practice. With enough practice, you will understand how shutter speed, aperture size, and ISO settings play a critical role in the quality of your drone photography and cinematography.


Understanding these tips will move you one step closer to becoming a professional drone pilot. Use them to take high-quality drone images and videos.

Did the drone secrets every photographer must know help you? Do you have any drone photography questions for me? Follow me on Facebook and send me an email at colimoinc@gmail.com.

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