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Best Photo Settings for DJI Mini 2 SE (Explained for Beginners)

The DJI Mini 2 SE is currently one of the best standard GPS drones around this price point.

Best Photo Settings for DJI Mini 2 SE (Explained for Beginners)
Image: Dan Bayne

It’s a budget-friendly drone that is affordable to many, and it’s a low barrier for many people just getting into the drone hobby.

This said, because the Mini 2 SE is a cheaper drone, there are lower-quality components inside it, including the camera, which is not the best in the class.

However, photo and video quality can be drastically improved if you don’t shoot with the Mini 2 SE in auto mode. 

For this purpose, I want to share with you the best manual settings for capturing photographs with this drone that will make a dramatic difference.

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DJI Mini 2 SE camera – what do we know?

The camera found behind the DJI Mini 2 SE is not a high-end one with large CMOS and high video or photo resolution. In fact, it is the opposite – it’s one of the most budget-level cameras found in a DJI drone nowadays.

With a CMOS size of only 1/2.3 inch, this is the equivalent of the sensors found behind DJI FPV and DJI Mini 2 drones. And that’s not a lot.

In fact, it’s pretty small, and the images and videos taken with DJI Mini 2 SE are below average for today’s more modern drones.

With the larger CMOS of a camera, whether we’re talking about drones, phones, or professional DSLR cameras, the more light the sensor can capture in a shorter period, the better the image dynamic range, less noise (grain) on low-light or night photographs, and overall, images of a higher quality.

On top of that, the DJI Mini 2 SE has a low ISO upper limit of 3200 for both photos and videos. With ISO, you increase the sensor sensitivity to light and digitally brighten the image at the cost of inducing image noise, which helps capture low-light and night photographs.

The bright side is that the DJI Mini 2 SE camera is mounted on a 3-axis mechanical gimbal, resulting in smooth video footage and sharper photographs, especially in higher wind conditions.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Camera Quality (With Pictures)

Best photo settings for DJI Mini 2 SE

Let’s take a deeper look at the Mini 2 SE camera quality for photography. We realize that the sensor size and ISO are not the only downsides; this drone can capture images at only 12 Megapixels.

As I mentioned, it is a bit below average but decent enough for social media. Still, it’s not good if you’re looking to capture professional images, especially to print.

So, let’s have a look at what we can change in terms of photo settings to capture the best images during a specific time of the day.

Daylight Photography

In case you want to catch some photos with your DJI Mini 2 SE during the daytime, we have the advantage of the light being at its peak, so the images shouldn’t be grainy as long as we keep the ISO at 100.

Even with this, the shutter speed is fast enough to snap clear images even in higher winds. 

But we shouldn’t leave those settings on auto. Therefore, here’s what we recommend to change in terms of camera settings.

Full Sun & Overcast

  • ISO: Locked at 100
  • White Balance: Auto or 5600K
  • Shutter Speed: Auto
Image captured by Dan Bayne

The sun will be bright enough to flood the sensor with daylight, and we have to lock the ISO at its minimum value, which is 100. In this case, the photographs will have the lowest noise as the sensor won’t need to enhance its sensitivity to gather additional light.

If we leave the white balance on Auto Mode, that’s okay, but be aware that this camera’s white balance won’t be as accurate to produce the exact colors you’re seeing with your own eyes.

During sunny days and even when overcast, the image temperature should be set at about 5600K for best reproduction. But if you feel your photographs are colder or warmer than the scenery you capture, then adjust the “Kelvin” temperature accordingly.

The higher this goes, the warmer the image will look (orangey), but the lower you set it, then the colder the image will look (blue-ish).

The shutter speed should be left on auto as you capture images, and there’s no need to adjust it for any reason.

» MORE: Drone Photography Ultimate Guide

Mornings and Evenings (low-light)

  • ISO: Lock it between 100 and 400. Go higher only if needed.
  • Shutter Speed: Leave it to auto
  • White Balance: 3500K to 4500K for sunrise or 5600K for an overcast morning.
Image captured by Dan Bayne

Photographs captured during sunrise and sunset will suffer a bit because of the small size of the image sensor and poor dynamic range, which is the difference between highlights and shadows and how much detail the camera drone can capture.

While the sunrise sun will look okay, the trees and buildings’ shadows and blacks will mostly look washed-out and show a bit of noise.

This can be fixed in post-processing, and of course, depending on the scenery, many morning or evening photographs taken with the DJI Mini 2 SE could be epic.

However, not all of them. And here’s what you should do to improve your photos taken with this camera drone during mornings and evenings.

Firstly, try to keep the ISO at its lowest value. 

This may not be the best approach if it’s an overcast morning or it is very early and there’s not enough light. In this case, you will have to manually adjust it, but I say no more than ISO 400, or your image will have too much noise to be usable.

If you set ISO to the lowest value, then the shutter speed should be left on auto mode. The shutter speed will drop significantly (probably to values between 1 second and 1/100 seconds, but can vary) to let more light come into the camera sensor.

You can also create HDR photographs in Lightroom by capturing three pictures of the exact same scenery but with different exposure values – underexposed, normally exposed, and overexposed; that could be the answer if you have a large difference in dynamic range on your images (shadows too dark and highlights too bright).

As for the white balance, that’s a bit tricky. During sunrises and sunsets, you have a very warm image that would be more difficult to replicate. Sometimes, the auto mode will do just fine, but you’ll have to find the perfect values depending on the scenery perspective (warmer, colder).

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro in Low Light (Explained for Beginners)

Night photography

  • ISO: Lowest value to get a properly exposed image
  • Shutter Speed: Slowest shutter speed to get a sharp image
  • White Balance: Auto

During the night, the camera behind your DJI Mini 2 SE poses a real challenge to actually photograph something nice. 

I mean that because the image sensor is so small it will fail to gather enough light to capture pictures with little or no noise. And that’s an unfortunate fact.

Your best approach here is to heavily edit the images you took during night flights with this drone in programs like Lightroom or Photoshop. That will make the most difference in bringing up the image quality.

As for the RAW images captured, they will mostly look noisy. It will be difficult to capture anything of high quality.

However, let’s see what we can do to at least improve a little the camera quality when capturing photographs with this drone during the night.

The ISO will go haywire if set on auto. In fact, it will go to its maximum value to compensate for lack of light. Let’s try to avoid that.

Actually, it would be best to experiment with different values like ISO 400, 800, 1600, and so on and see which would be the best to capture an image (at the lowest value) where the shutter speed is not so slow that it is getting you blurry images.

So, the shutter speed will slow down a lot. This drone camera is able to take long-exposure images of up to 4 seconds with its electronic shutter speed.

That means if the conditions are okay and no wind is present, your drone should be able to hover stably, and the image you take should be crisp. But it’s not always the case.

Therefore, shutter speed should be adjusted manually in this case. Start with half a second, 1 second, and drop down and see if, altogether, with the manual ISO, you’re able to get any decent exposed image.

However, remember that the camera behind the DJI Mini 2 SE is not meant to be used for night photography, and you’ll struggle to get any decent ones, at least not good enough for professional use.

» MORE: Can You Fly the DJI Mini 2 SE at Night? (Explained for Beginners)

Best video settings for DJI Mini 2 SE

Now, we’re mostly looking here for the best photo settings for your Mini 2 SE. But maybe at the same time, you want to capture some B-rolls for a YouTube video or stunning scenery.

In this case, the values you will want to use for capturing videos with this drone may differ from still photography.

So, what do you have to keep in mind?

The same rules apply when you want to record videos with the Mini 2 SE – keep your ISO at the lowest value to avoid getting image noise.

However, the ISO also has to be adjusted (if needed) in order to set the correct shutter speed.

For cinematic content and the best video settings, you will always have to set the Shutter Speed to double the framerate you’re filming with this drone (or the closest value).

For instance, if you’re looking to film in 2.7k at 30 frames per second, your shutter speed has to be 1/60. In FullHD at 60 frames per second, the shutter speed must be around the 1/120 value.

Now, because during the daytime, there will be a lot of light coming into the image sensor, even with ISO at minimum, the video will be overexposed – that’s why it’s crucial to use ND filters to reduce the amount of light that comes into the Mini 2 SE camera sensor.

If, during the dawn or dusk, or even at night, you don’t get a properly exposed video when setting the shutter speed to double the framerate, then you have to adjust your ISO manually to match the scene’s brightness. 

In videography, you should never leave all the settings on auto, no matter what drone you are filming with.

» MORE: Best Photo/Video Editing Apps for DJI Drones

How to improve your DJI Mini 2 SE photography

Image captured by Dan Bayne

As a professional photographer, I have captured tens of thousands of professional images using my DSLRs, drones, and phone. 

Drone photography is not that difficult. Although capturing images in different conditions with the camera behind DJI Mini 2 SE may be challenging, generally, if a few rules are followed, then you can expect to see quick improvement.

Try to keep the ISO at the lowest values

The first thing would be to NEVER raise the ISO unless you need to.

Always keep it on the minimum value for this drone, which is 100.

If the shutter speed is not fast enough to capture low-light photographs and you’re struggling to get either properly exposed images or sharp images because of prolonged exposure values, then it is time to increase the ISO little by little.

But never before.

» MORE: What Is Drone Photography? (Explained for Beginners)

Post-processing your images is crucial

Capture in RAW and not JPEG. You will have to edit your photographs in post-processing software like Lightroom.

With RAW, the image data is not burned into the picture and will allow you to tweak a few settings, such as reducing noise, increasing the sharpness if needed, exposing the image correctly (brightness and exposure), adding or removing shadows, colors, and so much more.

Believe me when I say that there will be a significant difference between an edited and a non-edited photograph taken with the DJI Mini 2 SE – and the above images are good examples.

» MORE: Best Editing Software for the DJI Mini 2 SE 

Picking the right weather conditions

It would only be logical to assume that you aren’t flying your drone in bad weather conditions, as this will affect the drone’s flight and can even damage the drone if it rains.

But if it’s windy, your photographs will suffer a lot, especially if you’re capturing images in low-light conditions. And here’s why.

All drones have a wind resistance level. For instance, the DJI Mini 2 SE has a level 5 wind resistance with maximum winds of 10.7 m/s. Even lower winds can be troubling if you want to capture photographs.

During windy times, the drone will attempt to self-stabilize a lot, and it will not be able to hover altogether smoothly. Even with the 3-axis gimbal straining to stabilize the camera when captured in low-light conditions, it is not enough to keep the camera in exactly the same place for a second or two.

This means that your images will be blurry and not sharp at all. 

If it’s a bit windy and you want to capture images during full daylight, that should be okay because the shutter speed will be instantaneous, and it will take only a few microseconds to capture the image.

» MORE: Best Weather Apps for Drones (You Need to Install)

Shutter Speed values

When capturing images with your DJI Mini 2 SE, unless you’re looking for nighttime photographs, the shutter speed won’t matter that much to set it manually.

That’s why auto mode should be fine. 

Just in case you struggle to capture any sharp images (because of the long-exposure values we talked about earlier and wind), then increase the ISO a bit for the shutter speed to become fast enough to capture clearer photos.

Other than that, auto mode is okay in photography – but not when filming with this drone.

White balance

The white balance is a complex setting, and it will take some time to understand it fully. That’s why the auto white balance should be okay if you’re a very beginner in photography and you’re simply looking to capture a few images with your brand-new Mini 2 SE.

The color temperature, which is measured in Kelvin, goes from lower values, which reflect very cold images, to higher values, which are warmer images. 

If the ambient color you observe outdoors is colder (e.g., sunny day, overcast during the day), then you need to increase the white balance to higher values for the images to become slightly warmer, or they will look way too cold (blue-ish).

If it’s morning or evening and you observe a stunning orange sunset, you need to decrease the white balance values (to colder) for the image to have a proper color. Otherwise, the photographs will be way too warm.

The auto mode isn’t a bad thing in this case. In fact, I would recommend keeping the white balance on auto most of the time and manually modifying it only if your Mini 2 SE photographs are too warm or too cold.

But remember, you can also readjust this in post-processing.

» MORE: Drone Photography: Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started


The DJI Mini 2 SE is a fantastic drone. Don’t get me wrong, for its price, it is one of the best on the market in terms of photography and filming.

But you do have to remember that the camera has a small sensor and is not meant for professional photography or filming.

That’s why adjusting a few settings manually will improve your photographs drastically. Moreover, post-processing your RAW images will take those to the next level, closer to professional-grade photographs.

But if you haven’t purchased this drone yet and are looking for one to capture the best images, I suggest you pick a drone with a much larger camera sensor.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE vs. Mini 3 vs. Mini 3 Pro (Here’s My Choice)