After a recent drone flight at the Paris Landing inn and Suites demolition project, I thought to myself…with the amazing capabilities of this Hasselblad Camera, how can I take better photos with the Mavic 2 Pro.
One of the most frustrating things to discover for any photographer, not to mention a drone photographer, is a lack of crispness in the photos you took during flight. Because this happened to me one too many times, and bothered me to no end, I decided it was time to take action, and do some research. Unless your settings are ideal for the light, photos usually turn out grainy, over-exposed, under-exposed, or they just plain stink. Let’s look into this a little closer so I can ensure your frustration level doesn’t reach what mine was, when you go to process your Mavic 2 Pro images.
What a poor image looks like when taken with the Mavic 2 Pro.
There are lots of examples of poor images taken from a Mavic 2 Pro. Photos taken directly into the sun, usually turn out pretty woeful. Poor angles, such as, when the horizon appears to be out of balance usually end up on the cutting room floor. Also, images where the subject appears to be, well unrecognizable, are usually considered low quality. Lastly, images which lack detail and color, those where its hard to even tell what the eye is supposed to be drawn to, are not images which would make Ansel Adams say ‘Ada Boy’!
Why do my photos look inadequate?
Here is an image I took early in the morning, near Kentucky lake. I’ve always wanted to fly the Mavic here, because this view looks completely different in the summer-time. Right now, It’s winter pool, meaning the water-level is drastically lower. In Summer, amazingly, the small trees on the left are nearly indistinguishable and the water level comes all the way up to the end of the rocks, if you can tell where those are. But, this image doesn’t do it justice, it lacks contrast, vibrance, and detail. I should have made some shutter adjustments to account for low light. I did however, succeed in capturing the subject, which would be the creek, leading out to the bigger body of water. But, all-in-all the photo is just rather boring. I promise it wasn’t this ordinary when I was standing on top of the bridge, looking at it with the naked eye.
What Setting adjustments could I have done to have made this a better quality image?
Adjusted my ISO perhaps?
This image was taken with my ISO set at 100, which was obviously too low. I should have raised it to 200, maybe 400, but I was afraid that wouldn’t have captured the vibrant sky color in the background. I also didn’t want to create too much noise, as raising the ISO tends to do. I also should have paid attention to my histogram, and tried to balance it out better.
Changed my Aperture
My aperture was set at F2.8 which provides for a wider depth of field, which is what I was after. One of my major mistakes was my exposure time of 1/400. I believe I had the correct aperture for the low light conditions, but perhaps my shutter speed should have been a bit slower, say 1/30 or 1/60 to let light in for a longer period of time.
Auto Exposure bracketing
I should have set my AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) to 5 shots. This would have taken 5 shots of the same image, with different exposure values. Only things is, If you’re taking your images in JPEG and RAW, and use the Exposure Bracketing setting of 5, its essentially taking 10 images. And, RAW files take up more memory, so make sure you have a large enough Mini SD Cardin your drone to account for it.
Editing in Post.
This is the unedited photo, I wanted to show the RAW image with the aforementioned settings right out of the drone. It’s not bad, but needs a bit of tweaking, which I’ve done with the next copy. I typically use Adobe Lightroom for my edits, I find it user friendly and best of all very comprehensive in what it has to offer. Most of all, I’m so used to it, I hate to learn something new when Adobe Lightroom works so well
Here are some minor edits, which I think adds a great deal of visual interest.
I lowered the highlights; increased the shadows, blacks, and vibrance, and voila a completely different image is born.
I believe if I would have made some slight adjustments in settings while I was flying, I could have taken better photos with my Mavic 2 Pro, but with it still being new, I am still familiarizing myself with all the settings. Not to mention,
Photography, which now includes Drone Photography, is trial and error, about expressing creativity, while still following some very basic rules. Techwalla says there are 7 basic Photography Elements to follow, for the best photography results. Such as:
I will go into these 7 Elements in detail in a future post. But, don’t be hindered by these rules as they are only meant to be a guide. It’s perfectly fine to provide your own interpretation of a photo, in your own unique way. In fact, There are some very successful, yet un-orthodox photographers, like Ellen Cantor who exploit these rules and do things like, intentionally motion blur images to give them individuality.
So, get creative, do what no one else is doing, come up with your own ‘brand’ of drone photography, just like Ellen does with her Still Photography, because that is truly how you take better photos with the Mavic 2 pro. Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, the Mavic 2 Pro also has some pretty amazing video features, which my friend Korey over at Myfirstdrone.com explains so well in his latest post, please check it out!