What’s your Ratio?

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Aerial photography is all about the subtle details. There are so many different settings drone pilots can choose when capturing shots. One big setting is the aspect ratio. The aspect ratio refers to the width and height of an image. A 1:1 ratio means the width and height are the same size, making the image a square.

There are two ways to change the aspect ratio.

1. Drone camera settings

This setting is easily changeable in the drone camera settings. Unless you are going to take the images directly from the drone, and then use them without doing any post-editing, you do not want to choose the aspect ratio based on the best look.

The best setting for the drone will depend on the size of the sensor.

For instance, the Mavic 3 has a 4/3-inch sensor, which means the maximum camera ratio is 4:3. This means you will want to use a 4:3 ratio so you can get the maximum size available to the sensor. The other ratios, 16:9, or 3:2, will only cut the image size down from what the sensor can do. The Mavic 2 Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro both use a sensor that works best for the 3:2 ratio, where nothing gets cut off with that size.

Using the maximum size available to you gives you more options in post when you are trying to figure out what crop ratio to use.

Post-Editing

Using Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, you can try out different crop options on the images taken. Using the rule of thirds, you can find the areas you want to highlight in the images, and size down for that. This is a great option, because the original image is still intact with its full size available for what you want to do.

Here are some standard image sizes based on where the image is used:

  • Instagram: 1:1 ratio works best here. This gives you the most visibility of your image on the feed. They want the image to be a square.
aerial farm photography keepske property package
  • Facebook: 4:5 ratio works best here. Just a bit wider than square.
aerial photo of commercial real estate building from above
  • Pinterest: 3:2 ratio works best here.
aerial shot of town square
  • YouTube: 16:9 ratio works best here. This is the standard video thumbnail image size, along with standard video proportions.
drone shot of lake and apartment complex

Conclusion

Even though you may like the look of the 3:2 or 16:9 ratios, they could be cutting off parts that your camera sensor is able to capture. Get the most out of your equipment, and then crop the images in post. The larger the image, the more options you have for cropping for various screen sizes, different social media, and other print options.