Aerial photography is a photography of land or a structure from a high camera position. This high position can be taken with the help of an aircraft, a helicopter or a balloon. Aerial photography does not require any special camera
equipment or lenses. A digital SLR - dslr, with normal and wide angle lenses will be enough for most of the shoot. However, a good UV filter on the lens is a must. We may need a gyro stabilizer to support the camera.
We may also use any other method for aerial photography, which may or may not carry us, but it can take the camera on a higher position. (like a kite, rocket, parachute or a long pole) Then we can trigger the camera with a remote release device. Photograph taken this way also is an aerial photograph.
Mainly aerial photography is required for survey of a land. However, these photographs are used commercially for catalogs and calendars. Whatever is the use of a photograph, a legal permission is a must for aerial photography. Many countries do not allow aerial photography. Granted permission has limitations and restrictions. Read rules and laws very carefully, as they are different from authority to authority. Shoot only those parts, which are permitted for aerial photography. If you have obtained permission to shoot a plant or a factory, stick to your subject. A person from the concerned authority will be there with you to keep a check and later on, all the photographs are to be submitted for inspection and licence.
Bright light is always preferable. It will allow us to use faster shutter speeds. Cross angular sun light is perfect to reveal texture of the landscape or a city. Be quick with your camera settings or use auto mode for exposure. Anticipate composition in advance and shoot when you reach the right spot. Keep the camera setting on "continuous shooting" mode and shoot as many photographs as you can. If you miss it, it is very difficult to return back to the same spot. Keep extra memory cards and batteries. You may be in a spot, where you have no chance to change the memory card, (if it is full). In such case, extra camera is indispensable.
Photograph by: Anwarali Kapasi
Clear day without clouds and fog is preferable for aerial photography. If there is haze or dust in the atmosphere, it will reduce the contrast in photograph. Keep the altitude at about 300 meter. Aircraft with wings attached on the upper part of fuselage is ideal as the wings will not obstruct the view. Chopper has advantage for slower speed and maneuverability, but it is noisy and vibrating.
If we keep the door of the air craft open, good. Otherwise be sure for the reflection of light falling on the window pane. Never take support of the plane's body as the vibration of engine will shake the camera.
Aerial photography is technically not very difficult with digital format, but most important part is planning. We must be able to visualize a composition of interesting photograph well in advance. As the air craft reach to that composition, shoot as many pictures as you can, as it will be very costly to ask the pilot to return for a retake - if ever, you have missed a shot!
Read more about various subjects of photography
Amateur photography: Photography at amateur level is done as hobby. Yet, the result can be at par with a professional shoot, read more about it.
Architectural photography: Get some interior and exterior architectural photography tips.
Baby photography: Photography tips of a small baby.
Bird photography: Some hints on how to shoot birds in natural environment. This could be in a jungle or a town.
Candid photography: This genre of photography is easy, right? Well, read about it.
Child photography: Considerations when doing photography of a child in indoors or outdoors.
Digital photography tips: Some useful digital photography tips.
Erotic photography: How to shoot an artistic erotic photograph which is not vulgar? Read about it.
Family portrait: Family portrait as a snap shot has no value. Proper approach can give a pictorial appeal. Get some tips on it.
Fashion photography: Interested in fashion photography? Get some very useful tips.
Fine art photography: Fine art photography has different value as compared to commercial or professional photography. Read more about it.
Fireworks photography: Fire work photography, which can be a part of night photography session. Read more about it.
Flash photography: Use of flash in photography.
Flower photography: Here are some tips on flower photography in nature and in studio.
Food photography: How to shoot dishes and food.
Food photography tips: Some more tips on camera angle in food photography.
Glamour photography: This is very lucrative genre of commercial photography. Read all about how to shoot a glamour photograph.
High angle photography: Photographs taken from higher camera position has its own importance and use. Read about it.
High key photography: Tips on high key photography lighting.
Industrial photography: This is one of the most difficult type of photography, where we have to take some care. Read about it.
Infrared photography: Infrared photography has its own use. It can be done with either IR film, or it can be done with digital camera. Read here for more information.
Landscape photography: One of the most interesting subject in photography.
Low angle photography: Photographs taken from lower camera position has its own impact. Read when to select this camera angle.
Low key photography: Lighting techniques in low key photography.
Macro photography: Close-up and macro photography tips.
Model photography: Photography of models for their portfolio.
Nature photography: This is all about photography of endless subjects, mother nature provides us. It can be part of wild life and landscape photography.
Night photography: Want to click after dark? Well, we can. Here are some useful tips on this topic.
Nude photography: How to shoot artistic nude photographs, which are not objectionable? Yes, there are some rules to follow for this genre of photography. This is one of the extremely popular subject of arts.
Outdoor photography: Here are some tips on how to do outdoor photography.
Outdoor portraits: Shooting portraits in outdoor? Must read tips on this subject.
Panoramic photography: Panoramic photography techniques
Pet photography: Pet is another popular subject, which demands to take out our camera from cupboard. Get some tips on it.
Photography in direct sun light: Direct sun light is generally not preferred in photography as it gives washed out high light and dense sharp shadows. Yet, we can artistically use this light for a shoot. Read about it.
Photojournalism: Photojournalism is a challenging assignment. Read about its tips and techniques.
Portrait photography: One of the most shot subject is a portrait of a person. It can be in a studio or outdoors. Here are some tips on studio lighting of a portrait.
Product photography: All products need to be shot for number of reasons. It can be for record purpose or for product advertisement. Read about how to shoot different products.
Publishing-house photography: This genre of photography is a good source of steady income for many professional photographers. Read more about it.
Royalty free stock photography: Photographs shot for sale on royalty free basis can give you residual income for years. Here are some tips on how and what to shoot for this niche.
Sports photography: When it comes to sports, photography falls in between event photography and wild life photography. Read about the considerations.
Still-life photography: As a serious hobby, we all must have tried still life photography. Get some tips on it.
Stock photography: Stock photography is yet another opportunity to earn some money from our creativity. Read about it.
Street photography: As a part of candid photography, street photography has its own approach, which is slightly different from candid.
Surreal photography: This is highly imaginative approach, when we plan to shoot any subject in this manner. Read about some useful tips.
Wedding photography: Wedding and function photography is main source of income for lots of photographers. Here are some tips on this subject.
Wildlife photography: One of the most interesting subject of photography, if one has passion. Read about how to take wild life pictures.
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