Tonje Lilleås

Drone photography for beginners – a few tips from my first year as a drone photographer

A year ago I got my very first drone, and in this post I share my experience so far. It’s time for drone photography for beginners.

Would you like to learn more about landscape photography before you start your journey with drone photography? Check out this post on how to improve your landscape photography!

The drone

First of all I think it’s useful for you to know what drone I’m using. Just like any other camera drones come in all price ranges and as a beginner I decided to get an entry level drone. I had heard a lot about the DJI Mini as a great beginner drone, and as I heard rumors of the release of its predecessor the DJI Mini 2 last fall I decided it was time to invest.

The DJI Mini 2 has a 12 MP camera. Now if you know anything about cameras, 12 MP isn’t a lot these days. However it’s more than enough to capture images that are to be shared online. My main goal with my first drone was to learn how to fly, and see if I enjoyed drone photography as much as I anticipated.


The DJI Mini 2 can shoot 4K video, which was a big plus for me. One of the reasons I hadn’t purchased the DJI Mini earlier was the lack of 4K.

I’m not a tech person, and won’t review the drone. However I will say that I’m really happy with my purchase. The drone is great fun to fly, and a great way to get into drone photography for beginners like myself. My only regret is that I didn’t buy the fly more combo. Even if 31 minutes of battery life is decent, it goes by so fast when you’re starting out and don’t shoot as effectively as you will once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

If you’re considering a purchase; go with the fly more combo.

Learning to fly

I watched a lot of tutorials on Youtube before I even considered taking my drone for my first flight. And I really recommend you do as well. Being confident that you know how to handle the drone and remote is important on your first flight.

Do your research about your drone before you fly.

As I live by a small airport, I’m not able to fly from my backyard. My first flight was from a big open field, and I didn’t shoot anything at all. I spent the first few flights just getting the hang of the controls, figuring out all the technical stuff that I had learned from the research.

Make sure you only fly where it’s legal, and make your first flights in a big, open space.

Drone photography tips

This isn’t drone flying for beginners right, it’s drone photography for beginners. So the next step was starting to look for interesting images, trying to think more about the “rules” of photography and less about how fun it is to see everything from a birds view. You see; just because it’s a drone shot, it doesn’t mean it’s a good one.

Remember the “rules” of photography.

Not surprisingly I found that shooting during golden hour made a difference. The way the light wash over the landscape beneath makes it more interesting. Shooting straight down get you an interesting angle, even if we’ve gotten used to these kinds of images now. I also found that if you want more traditional landscapes, you can get to compositions with your drone that would otherwise be impossible. For instance shooting a reflection from the middle of a lake can be done with a drone.

Shoot different angles, not only directly top down.

Contrast in texture, color and light makes the top down images more interesting. I’d say it’s even more important than in other images.

Look for contrast in texture, color and light when you do choose to shoot top down.

Don’t forget video

I usually record video as I’m searching for the images that I’d like to shoot. This way I always come back with something that I can work with from a flight. Sometimes I fly with the intention to capture video, and then I focus on getting the more creative video footage instead of plain drone footage.

The drone has really sparked my creativity.

Drone photography for beginners – Fly away with me

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on drone photography for beginners. The drone has really sparked my creativity, and I hope you’ll get out and fly away with me as well.

If you liked this post, or found it somewhat valuable, please consider subscribing to my blog. And if you like the images I’ve shared in this post, I’d be really happy if you’d follow me on Instagram. There you’ll also find a few Reels showing my drone videography from the last year. Now head out and explore locally with your drone!



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