Aerial Photography Tips for Beginners

The history of aerial photography dates back to the First World War when aircraft carrying cameras were used in recce missions to record the activities of the enemies. Typically, aerial photography requires aircraft, helicopters, balloons, blimps, parachutes and unmanned aircraft; however these can be prohibitively expensive devices for aerial photography.

There are other innovative devices that can be used for aerial photography to make it more economical. Vehicle mounted poles, kites, cameras mounted on tall buildings or high natural outcrops of land can be some options. Radio controlled model air craft are other possibilities for aerial photography. The cameras can also be set to be triggered automatically or remotely. If you’ve never done aerial photography before, you may find these tips useful:

Pick picturesque locations

Obviously this is the first step – if the subject looks good, your pictures are more likely to turn out good as well. Look for interesting shorelines, undulating landscapes, woods and so on. Even cityscapes make for very interesting aerial photography subjects.


Pick your weather

Ideal seasons to pick for taking aerial photos are spring and autumn – they create the most spectacular and colorful settings for you to capture. Then think of the weather. Though cloudy weather, a tumultuous sky and so on can look very spectacular, these images may be difficult to capture. Even on a clear day, atmospheric haze could create problems, so pay attention to these aspects of aerial photography. Other important aspects are time of day and position of the sun – these will decide not only the angles you are able to use, but also the way that the light hits the ground and the ultimate results you will get.

Create a vantage point

As we discussed in the introduction, a natural outcrop or cliff type of structure or even a high building with a panoramic view could let you create aerial photography shots. Probably one of the less expensive options is to hire a micro light aircraft – these are able to fly at low heights and they also fly at lower speed than other aircraft. They can also have an open cockpit, so they are idea for aerial photography.

Tips for your camera

Experts recommend using a UV filter or a lens hood for the camera lens. While wide angle lens and telephoto lens could have their own problems, a medium zoom lens is usually a good choice for beginners. And one last tips, ensure that you use your camera strap at all times; you don’t want to lose your equipment to a strong gust of wind or an air pocket!