Aerial Photography – What Type of Aircraft?

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Aerial Photography – What Type of Aircraft? – Aerial photography is as hard because it will get for the knowledgeable photographer. Many decisions may still be made to get spectacular results, everything from a variety of plane to topic theme and time of day. Teamwork may be required because the photographer and pilot ought to speak nicely so as for the photographer to get the wanted images. This article covers aerial photography systems with a small quantity of photography technical information. Part 2 will conceal the technical and inventive aspect of aerial work.

While aerial photography has been finished with everything from hot air balloons to arena shuttles for many of us were considerably restricted inside the instruments we’ve available. I even have used helicopters, constant wing plane, and ultralights for my work and I’ll conceal those in the considerably extra element in my private order of preference.


Aerial photography from helicopters is attainable the simplest platform to work from underneath most circumstances. When used namely for photography most pilots will permit the removing of a door leaving a huge workable capturing environment available. This may be very benefits as you’ll be able to literally pan the digital camera to hold the topic inside the body whereas nonetheless traveling in an immediately ahead direction. Helicopters even have very impressive turning features so that you may discover that there’s the way an awful lot less misplaced time as you circle again to shoot from a special altitude or angle.

There are a couple of downsides to capturing from helicopters, however. Firstly is the giant expense, simply $500 per hour or so for a Robinson R22 to $1,500 or extra for a huge jet. It’s very impressive how a lot you’ll be able to shoot in a couple of hours however the credits scorecard can take an enormous hit after you land. Would you like a jet helicopter for many uses? I even have used equally the smaller Robinson’s and huge jet helicopters and have had very nice effects with both. Some will argue that the larger helicopters are considerably safer but I’ll depart that as an awful lot because of the experts. Jet helicopters are tremendously quicker so for those who are traveling huge distances they will have an advantage. Secondly, vibrations may be a project depending on a bunch of factors. My trip has been that a nice pilot can usually hit a “sweet spot” the place the helicopter settles correctly into a considerably tender ahead motion. This mostly isn’t whereas you hover, ahead stream performs a part.

Helicopter photography from a technical standpoint may be equally a project and an exhilarating experience. If you cannot take away the doorways put on darkish apparel and make certain to have a lens coloration installed. Most of the home windows are Plexiglas and have a tendency to have scratches so that you may in all probability desire to shoot pretty vast open to restrict the depth of field. Window tint may also be a hassle though this may mostly be cleaned up in Photoshop or some special editor. I suggest capturing RAW for this reason. Whatever you do, don’t place any section of your physique or digital camera in opposition to the aspects of the helicopter because the vibration will move over to the digital camera and trigger unsharp images. Life is simpler without doorways but word of the turbulence for those who lean out considerably too far. The buffeting may be pretty strong. All gear and special tools want to be securely constant in your physique or a harness, you do now not desire to assume about what may occur for those who drop a lens or digital camera out the door! I pass so far as taping the lens hood to the lens as a security precaution as I’m certain the tail rotors would make fast work of a misplaced lens shade, maybe with bad consequences. If in any respect attainable use a couple of special cameras so that you’ll be able to hold altering lenses and reminiscence playing cards down to a minimum.

I attempt to hold my shutter speeds around 1/1000 or quicker if in any respect attainable but have had fair success round 1/500. If this ability increasing the ISO because the pale fades I do that in a selection of having considerably blurred images. This ought to permit for an aperture of about f5.6 in most cases though because the pale fades you may be watching at f2.8 or so, a nice cause to have fast lenses.


I first did aerial photography from an ultralight in Costa Rica a couple of years back. I ought to admit I in actual fact did now not recognize what to anticipate as all my past aerial photography have been finished from helicopters as an awful lot at that point. I anticipated a huge quantity of vibration and bad wind buffeting but was in for a shock. Ultralights are in actual fact a great aerial photography platform underneath the proper conditions that is when you’ve got a tendency to fly them anyway. They do get tossed round considerably bit but mostly the vibrations is now not going to be as bad as helicopters. While they aren’t as maneuverable as helicopters they’re higher than constant wing aircraft. Possibly the in basic terms downsides are, they’re considerably sluggish and you’ve got to in actual fact sense cushy in them as they’re very naked bones and seat of the pants!

Fixed-wing aircraft:

Likely the majority of aerial photography is finished with constant wing aircraft. While now not as maneuverable as helicopters they’re nonetheless very equipped capturing systems underneath the proper conditions. Try to get a plane with an excessive wing just like the Cessna 172 Skyhawk to get the finest view. The low winged plane in actual fact restricts the view below! Even with excessive wings, the wing strut will in all probability be inside the way, it is simply now not mostly observed in a nice function for photography. I’m certain some folks fly with the doorways off but in general, you may be flying the two captured by the ability of a small establishing window or by the ability of the glass. Either way, the positioning of the plane may be very severe to line up the picture so a nice pilot preferably with trip operating with photographers is a must. What’s the greatest merit of a constant wing platform? Cost! Likely 1/4 or an awful lot less of what the helicopter will cost.

Getting organized:

Flying in circles in search of pictures may be very thrilling and entertaining till your land and discover out how a lot of funds you spent without in actual fact accomplishing anything. Do your study beforehand and get a nice concept about what you desire to photo and the way you may accomplish it. What aspect of the plane will you be capturing from? What altitude or special altitudes are required? When will the pale be the best? Often you may discover that one flight won’t produce all the required pictures as a consequence of a few of those decisions and a moment or third flight may be required.

Once you’ve got finished your homework it is time to discover your aircraft. What’re your finances is attainable the greatest choice proper perfect here as nicely as what variety of plane is available? Hire a nice pilot, preferably one which has trip operating with photographers! Pilots do range and a few are higher at others when it involves figuring out the requirements of aerial photography. Go over a flight plan and keep on with it. The essential section of the shoot is the pilot calls the pictures and has the last say in what may be done. They recognize the regulations, security points, and the backside line; they’re guilty for you, the plane and the folks at the ground!

Happy shooting!

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