Pro Photographer's First Experience With Drones: The DJI Mavic 2 Pro

With drone use being far more common, albeit far more regulated, most of us professional photographers are dipping our toes in the water.

I've been looking in to drones for a while. I've been put off by the relatively high cost of entry to get the sort of images I want, but more than that, the regulations surrounding them now. Last year I traveled around Iceland and at every corner, every glacier, every waterfall, there were strict "No Drones" signs. I get — I really do — but it makes it harder to warrant the purchase. That said, I'm still edging closer and closer to get more of my images on a Z axis. It also doesn't help that one of the photographers I speak to most regularly, posts drone images often.

In this video, photographer Karl Taylor records his first impression of drone life as a self-proclaimed newbie. Unbeknownst to him, he says a lot of the right words to help my along my way with the purchasing decision. For example, he's stunned by just how easy it is to fly. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro isn't a cheap toe to dip in the new waters, but it's also not obscene enough that you can rule it out. Dangerous territory, that.

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Daris Fox's picture

I've recently acquired a Mavic 2 Pro myself, they're stupidly easy to fly but still require a strong sense spatial awareness of what you doing. If you're doing stills/footage you really need a spotter if you don't have that awareness, and it's strongly recommended even if you do.

It's like driving a manual car, you have to manage a lot of parameters some of them fairly complex. Thankfully DJI makes this somewhat less painful by including a flight simulator with the controller software and you have their simulator that you can get on-line if you want to practice advanced techniques. Key thing to remember remember how wind works, that'll lead to more crashes than anything else and it'll kill battery life fast.

Still, I love flying the Mavic, and using it for client shots often gets a wow from them and gives something unique (well for a while until it starts getting copied).

Just watched the video, and noticed they're not using a landing pad, that's highly recommended for several reasons but mostly for the Mavic to use as a target to land automatically and secondary to prevent debris hitting the camera from the downwash.

Mark Houston's picture

The key is practice, practice, practice.

davidlovephotog's picture

I've been pondering getting one for a while now but not sure where is left to fly anymore that's allowed. No beaches, national parks, normal parks, in the city, etc. And the license deal and what's needed.

Jim Martin's picture

I'm in the same boat. I really want to get a Mavic, but here in Southern California, there are very few places you can legally fly and the places you can are limited and/or not that visually interesting. I ended up getting a GoPro, a gimbal and an extension pole. It's not a drone by an measure, but at least I can use it legally and it gives me some opportunities to compose shots I couldn't get with my DLSR

Robert Nurse's picture

DJI makes it a bit more appealing to stick your toe in. I heard you can purchase an option where you're given up to three crash replacements for roughly 10% of the cost of the drone.

EL PIC's picture

I fear my first experience would be crashing it with an expensive camera and lens !!
There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Jenn Grover's picture

Zero mention of getting a Part 107 certificate, which is required when using the drone for commercial purposes. I see photographers irresponsibility using drones because they don't take the time to learn the rules.

Daris Fox's picture

Only if you're in America, in the UK you're allowed to fly under the Drone Code if you're not flying commercially. If it's commercial then you need a CAA licence. Information on flying in the UK here:

Or over on the DJI forums for other countries:

davidlovephotog's picture

I get mine this week and feel super stupid I didn't read about all the regulations. Not even for commercial as they are working on a test even recreational has to take soon. And on top of FAA you now have states throwing in bans everywhere. I wouldn't want to see 50 people flying drones at the grand canyon at the same time but give me a break. For me the landscape shots I don't even care about. I want to use it for jib shots and camera movements like following someone running. So less than 50 feet off the ground and still need a 107.

Meanwhile any idiot can get a drivers license and endanger people on every road in the world.