Photography Tips on Making Your Aerial Pictures More Impressive

I’d like to suggest that this thread be for tips on how to create better pictures in MSFS. I’m not a photo expert by any means but I just took note of a way to enhance pictures by adding a little zoom to the drone camera view. Perhaps other folks have additional suggestions they’d like to add to this thread. And maybe the @moderators can invent a “photography” or a “photography tip” tag - same for video?

Below is a scene over the Missouri River from the Mann Gulch Region of Montana. There is a lot of foreground in the default drone camera settings and distant objects look, as they are, far away and relatively small with hard to discern details.

50% Zoom. Click to see full picture! Camera Settings left in picture.

The next picture is the VERY SAME CAMERA VIEW. Nothing has changed but the zoom level, which is now 71%. The result in zooming is that there is much less foreground, distance has been foreshortened, far away objects now appear closer and much more imposing, interesting detail can now be seen in the dry hilly region at the top middle horizon that was very small in the previous picture’s zoom level.

71% Zoom. Click picture to enlarge!

Another use of zoom level is simply making your sim picture look more like a famous canonical picture of a landmark. For the reasons given above, a moderate telephoto lens is often used in capturing the view of a notable peak as the telephoto effect can help a mountain look more imposing, to appear bigger and looming closer. So you may need to add a little zoom to a sim picture to make it look closer to a well-known view taken of a famous mountain. Or if a photographer at the summit of a mountain took an extreme wide angle, you might need to go the other way in MSFS to get a similar effect.


I’m a photographer :slight_smile:

Don’t place the plane centre frame.


Just to add to what Noctover above said, look up the “Rule of Thirds”


:+1: Rule of Thirds is a simple but powerful concept. A more boring scene will be a better picture than a grand one in general if its implemented. It can be broken though if broken on purpose :smiley:


For whatever good it’s done me, I have almost as many photography books as I have programming books.

Once upon a time, being a know-it-all, I got a photography book for my wife, thinking she could stand to learn a little bit more about the process. I thought, “This book is too simple for me. It starts out at the rank beginner’s level and would probably be utterly boring.”

How wrong I was. When the wife never got around to reading it, I picked it up, found it fascinating, and it taught me a bunch of stuff in an engrossing way that I had passed over lightly or never let really sink in before.

The book was the 2007 version of Complete Digital Photography, by Ben Long. Part of what was so interesting is that he explains how digital photography and camera sensors work and differ from film photography. Since then, Long’s career and the success of his book may have crested and digital cameras may have moved on. Not checked out if any newer edition exists.

But something he really hit home hard in the book that one could apply to photography in MSFS.

Work the picture!

You’ve just taken what you think is the best picture or video ever and you’re pretty proud of yourself. Don’t stop there. Start thinking if there is anything you could do to make it even better. Maybe you won’t find any way to make it better but the extra effort to consciously analyze what makes a picture so good and what could or could not make it even better will inevitably pay dividends in making you a better overall photographer down the long and winding road. Don’t leave the scene of your great picture until you’ve explored the possibilities even more! You could be walking away with a pretty good picture and leaving a truly exceptional not taken picture behind.

Obviously, one way to work the picture is to move around in a scene and consider all the different camera angles, focal lengths, and depths of field you might employ to represent a scene. And the nice thing about MSFS is, that with the drone camera tools and the ability to control the drone camera easily with the Xbox controller, Microsoft and Asobo give you ~all the tools you really need to work the picture. (and obviously, “work the picture” also applies to post-production now that everyone can have free or relatively inexpensive digital darkrooms).

Edit_Update: Long has had a succession of subsequent editions over the years, up to a 9th edition in 2018. You can Look Inside! the contents on Amazon. Lots of other good books on Amazon about photography, too.

Ben has a series of video’s on (might have some available on yt also, I haven’t checked). I wasn’t aware he had a book, but I got the same thing from his video series… don’t be lazy. Walk around, try different angles and focal lengths. Ponder, consider, try, etc. Work it. He demonstrates this in his video’s. Same thing when editing. His video’s helped me a lot in my career as a landscape photographer and highly recommend looking him up if interested in learning photography.

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