20 Aerial Photography Tips To Help Maximize Fleeting Moments In The Sky

Alright, your time in flight shall be roughly twelve minutes.” Berty and I swallowed that weighted sentence and nervously nodded in response. Smiles have been on the skin, but deep inside we were wondering how on the planet we have been going to take benefit of these fleeting seconds in that helicopter and capture precisely what we wished from the sky!

Aerial photography—seeing a spot from a fowl’s-eye view—can be thrilling and exhilarating. But it can additionally come with plenty of added challenges such as cut-off dates, weather circumstances, and—let’s be real—a large expense! (Flights aren’t cheap!) Berty and I even have had an unbelievable alternative to take flight tours across the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, The Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming, and tons of other places around the united states and Canada.

We’ve made mistakes, landed wonderful triumphs, and learned plenty of classes, in order that’s why we’re here to share with you how you can maximize those precious moments in the air. We need to share our aerial images ideas to help you be ready and confident for your next skyward journey. Let’s get started!

We ought to explain what makes us qualified to share aerial images tips. We will not pretend to be professional aerial photographers, but we have been on fairly a few flights! Berty and I have discovered so much from these starting experiences, so we wished to assist you skip the training curve and get straight to the good things. We hope this publish may help refresh your skills or let you learn new ones in your subsequent flight.

You can read about loads of these journeys on our weblog, whether or not it is flying across the Na Pali Coast, in Kauai, Hawaii; a Doors Off Helicopter Tour, in New York City; flying over the Grand Teton National Park, in Jackson, Wyoming; or a Rocky Mountain Tour, in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. See? We have plenty of flights under our belt and you can see a ton of photos via these links, too!

BEFORE THE FLIGHT: Planning and Preparation
A great tour in the sky begins with the right preparations on the ground. Here’s what you are capable of do to arrange for a productive and enjoyable time on your next aerial images flight:

1. Know What You Want to Photograph
Knowing what you wish to photograph always begins with researching the vacation spot. Are there specific landmarks or locations you’d like to visit? Spend somewhat time getting to know the area over which you may be flying, and what scenes or landmarks may be seen from the sky. Visualize the way you want to body your ultimate images. Once you might have an thought on the way you want to obtain these photographs, this makes talking to the pilot simpler in regard to proper planning and your desired routes.

Finally, take a glance at different photographers for inspiration. Look at their images, study them to see what you like and dislike about their images and then go on to create your own fashion and seize the scene in your personal way.

2. Know the Ideal Time of Day for Your Aerial Photography Flight
Do you wish to shoot during sunrise? Sunset? Harsh middle-of-the-day light? Consider these light situations earlier than flying. For instance, once we flew with Fly Jackson Hole, throughout sundown, we wished to capture the west facet of the Tetons, trying east from the plane. This way we might see the glow on the tip of the Teton vary. It’s also essential to be in communication together with your pilot to know if they’ll operate during the time of day you want. Some airports and firms have restrictions on when they’re allowed to take off.

three. Limit Yourself to Two Camera Bodies
When capturing aerial photographs, time is of the utmost significance. This is why we suggest bringing two digicam our bodies, along with your two desired lenses. This method, you probably can swap simply between lenses without having to change out lenses in the air. If you have any greater than two devices, you’ll be extra concerned about giving your gear equal consideration then you are to looking the window (which is why you’re in the air in the first place!).

Two bodies is often a mixture of quite a lot of devices, together with telephones, GoPros, and/or DSLR cameras. An exception could be a GoPro strapped to your head or chest to maintain yourself hands-free. (Just make sure they aren’t in the greatest way of your camera!) Scroll right down to tip 5 for our digicam setup, and 18, the place we discuss all of the completely different sorts of digital camera straps for aerial photography!

four. Choose the Right Lens
Choosing the proper lenses for aerial images is dependent upon what you’re shooting! We like to carry versatile lenses with us to cover a variety of possible images. Here are is a recap for lens suggestions to bring in your aerial pictures flight and some reasons for his or her use in the sky.

* EF 16-35mm f/2.8 — for capturing a wide landscape and interior photo of the plane or helicopter
* EF 24-70mm f/2.8 or RF mm f/2 — nice for capturing a large panorama or tight shot for the texture or close-up shots of your subject; additionally great for interior photographs, as nicely as taking portraits of the folks inside the plane or helicopter
* EF 35mm f/1.four — nice for capturing a wide landscape in low gentle in the course of the blue hour (before sunrise or after sunset)
* EF 50mm f/1.2 — great for capturing a tight panorama in low mild during the blue hour (before dawn or after sunset)
* EF mm f/4.5-5.6 — nice for capturing a faraway subject just like the Grand Prismatic and also to get some texture in your subject

Most brands have their own, very comparable offerings, and if you have any questions for your particular camera make sure to ask within the Comments section, below!

5. Choose the Right Camera
Now, Berty and I are Canon shooters, so we are going to recommend gear based mostly on that bias. However, we’ve also learned that different DSLRs corresponding to Sony, Nikon, and Fujifilm even have unimaginable capabilities when shooting high-speed moments. Our present setup during an aerial images tour would be the first shooter using the Canon EOS R and the 5D Mark III, and the second shooter utilizing the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the GoPro HERO7 to seize some behind the scenes.

Camera manufacturers aside, the most effective aerial picture cameras have to have excessive resolution with quick shutter speeds and excessive ISO vary. A digital camera with a robust processor together with a fast lens is one of the best mixture for aerial images.

6. Plan the Route with Your Pilot
It’s important to specific your intentions and hopes with the pilot earlier than your flight, so you’re each on the same plane! After all, you and the pilot are on the identical staff. Having a mutual goal in thoughts before and during the flight is huge. While requests must be expressed, it is also essential to keep in thoughts that the pilot is aware of best. They’ve flown across the area extra occasions than you know, and doubtless realize it like the back of their hand!

During your research, contemplate consulting your pilot and asking for his or her favourite areas. Finally, respect your pilot and their selections in those important moments. Their job is to keep you and your party protected, so listening to their recommendations, feedback, and decisions within the moment are crucial.

7. Check the Weather Before Your Photography Flight (but Don’t Worry too Much)
Weather can change quickly, so keep a flexible schedule (and attitude!) when planning your aerial pictures flight. We extremely recommend booking your aerial pictures flight in the early a half of your trip, so you might have time to reschedule if plans go awry.

Clouds in the sky? Don’t fret. Clouds can add a sure drama to a photograph that a sunny day simply can’t! Know that irrespective of how many instances you go to an space, it may possibly look utterly different.

8. Pack Extra Cards and Batteries
Nothing is worse than being within the second when a battery dies or your reminiscence card fills up! Make certain to put your batteries on a charger the evening earlier than your flight to make sure they are at full capacity.

We also wish to maintain the battery slot on our digicam open and beside the charger so there is no chance of us forgetting to place it back in the camera before we go. A trick we love to do during our aerial images flights is to keep additional batteries in our zipped pockets, for simple access when one gets drained.

To ensure you’ve enough memory house in your aerial tour, we propose starting the flight with a formatted card and, ideally, the biggest card you may have. We usually take 1,500-2,000 photographs for a two-hour flight, which would fit on a 64GB card.

Keep in mind that you can be need to pace your self, relying on what type of storage you have available during your flight. The worst factor is to run out of storage mid-air! We sometimes pack three extra playing cards, just to be safe. Again, all of those cards and batteries go into our zipped pockets for easy access.

Be sure to determine on reminiscence cards with fast read and write speeds so you don’t miss a single second of the motion. We use these SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro cards for their large information capability and fast processing power.

9. Wear Clothing that Allows Easy Mobility
Safety buckles, straps, and headsets could be an essential part of aerial pictures excursions, however they’ll usually make you’re feeling cramped and awkward in that small space. However, solely you probably can management what you put on to the flight, so make sure to plan your outfit and equipment forward of time. Ditch the cumbersome hoodies and flowy sleeves. Make sure to wear tighter-fitting garments that will not catch on things or blow in the wind.

It’s also essential to kind yourself out in your seat before you depart. Make certain your digicam strap is free from the seatbelt, and that you have full mobility of your arms and digital camera earlier than takeoff.

IMPORTANT: Make certain your clothes has simply accessible pockets, ideally ones that zip. This way you can retailer these additional batteries and reminiscence cards where you presumably can reach them!

IN THE AIR: Aerial Photography Tips for the Big Moments!

10. Set and Know the Ideal Camera Settings for Aerial Photography
When considering digicam settings for aerial photos, it is necessary to know a quantity of key things about your digicam.

High shutter velocity may be very, very important. Even when it would not appear to be it, the aircraft or the helicopter is shifting really quick. Shooting at 1/1,000 of a second and above can enhance the probability of your photos being in focus. If the picture feels too dark, you presumably can bump up your ISO or open your aperture to round f/3.5 or f/4 to balance your publicity.

Flights additionally include turbulence and sudden shaking, so if your digicam has a picture stabilization possibility, nows the time to use it!

Here are the detailed camera settings that we typically use on a flight.

* Shooting Mode: Manual
* Shutter Speed: 1/1, /8,000 of a second
* ISO: * Aperture: f/1.2-f/8
* AF Mode: Servo — The subject you’re photographing is always shifting, so use the Servo mode for steady autofocus on the subject.
* Drive Mode: High-Speed Continuous (AKA Burst Mode)
* White Balance: Auto White Balance
* Metering Mode: Evaluative
* Image Quality: RAW

11. Shoot Raw
Does your DSLR camera have the power to shoot RAW photos? By default, most digital cameras convert information into JPEG, since they are smaller recordsdata that take up less area in your memory card. However, we don’t wish to be saving house if it is going to price us image high quality, particularly with aerial pictures. In this instance, it’s essential to maximise your digicam’s image-rendering potential and change the seize setting to uncooked.

Shooting in uncooked format will give you extra megapixels to work with in post-production editing. You have extra management over each photo’s dynamic vary, and these files allow you to regulate things like white balance, saturation, and exposure extra easily.

12. Minimize Window Reflection
If you’re taking a flight particularly for aerial pictures (not just scenic or transportation in contrast), it is doubtless the airplane will have home windows that open, or a slider from which you may find a way to stick your lens out. This could be essentially the most best scenario since you don’t have to fret about window glare!

However, helicopters and small planes commonly have plexiglass home windows, which might cause glare in your pictures. The finest method to reduce these light distortions is to maintain the entrance lens component as parallel to the window as attainable. Aircraft home windows can typically be dirty, scratched, or even curved. To management what you possibly can about your window situation, convey a lens fabric and provides your window a fast wipe-down before the flight.

It’s additionally necessary to wear dark clothing to minimize the glare from yourself! Logos, letters, and even shiny belts will present up in your photos, so try to wear a dark and minimal wardrobe so you aren’t the problem. If you merely cannot deal with the reflection, try using a lens skirt to cowl the glare. These can suction onto the window, creating a controlled house for lighting. Make certain you purchase one that can match the size of your longest lens.

13. Shoot in Portrait and Landscape Orientation
Excitement can typically get the best of you when you’re within the air and experiencing the magic proper earlier than your eyes! Shooting both portrait (vertical orientation) and landscape (horizontal orientation) provides you with plenty of picture range. Always diversify and take into consideration the composition of the ultimate pictures you want. This will allow you more options when contemplating prints, posters, and shopper wants.

14. Shoot the Entire Time!
Don’t stop taking pictures. Make essentially the most of your brief time within the sky. The greatest mistake we see with photographers is when they cease and evaluate their photos on the LCD each time they release the shutter.

You did not spend all that money to just sit there and review your photos! Keep on shooting. It’s okay to evaluate every so often, however not each time you take a photo as a outcome of you’ll miss lots of the motion.

If you’re feeling such as you’re seeing the identical composition, begin to suppose outdoors the field. Even the tiniest change in angle or altitude can make a huge difference. Think about how you can improve the subsequent photograph you are going to take.

15. Forget the Lens Hood
Your pilot will most likely tell you to ditch the hood, but if they don’t, it’s most likely a good idea anyway. There are many reasons to go away that lens hood at house. If it falls, it may injury the plane, damage somebody on the ground, and even restrict your capacity to move freely in the cabin. If you’re nervous about glare, play around along with your angles, or simply use your hand to protect the lens in that exact moment. Also, the dark clothes you’re sporting will help scale back glare.

sixteen. Don’t Forget the Interior!
When looking again on your flight experience, it’s always nice to know the story behind the pictures. Who was aboard? What did the cockpit look like? Who was your pilot?

When we take pictures, we attempt to tell one of the best tales from our experience. We love to incorporate every thing similar to the details of the cockpit, textures on our pilot’s hands, their portrait while flying the aircraft, and so on. Between all the gorgeous snaps out the window, ensure to spend some time capturing the inside of the aircraft too! Capture the seats, the buttons, the handles, and headsets.

17. Share Your Work!
You’ve put so much onerous work into reading these aerial images tips, kudos for making it this far! Your work needs to be seen by the world! One way to share your photos is by tagging the air company on social media, or sending them some previews via email. They will appreciate it.

Tips for a Doors-Off Flight
Doors-off aerial photo tours can provide some exciting experiences. You feel the wind whip between your toes, and there’s no separation between you and your subject!

No doorways additionally imply no obstacles, so you probably can neglect about worrying about dirty home windows or warped glass. However, no doors means extra safety concerns.

Read the following tips for a doors-off flight.

18. Secure Your Camera to Your Body
Securing your digital camera applies to all aerial pictures flights, but is of the utmost importance when shooting with no door. Yes, you should use your digicam’s default neck strap, however depending on the photos you want to take, you could really feel somewhat restricted. You’ll want to be able to extend your arm a decent length however still have a safe method to hold your camera in your body.

Here are some recommendations for equipment to secure your digicam to your physique.

19. Keep the Accessories at Home
That lens hood we talked about earlier? That cleansing cloth? Ditch ’em for a doors-off flight. Not only might they get in the way, but they may be a security hazard. If one thing falls off your camera and will get sucked into the propellers, it might be fatal. Don’t take your chances with add-ons and extras.

20. Wear Proper Gloves
Temperatures can drop drastically at excessive altitudes. Combined with excessive wind speeds, that may actually take a toll on your hands! While this tip is location dependent, we wish to pack gloves for our aerial images excursions. When choosing a pair of gloves, it is essential to consider mobility, warmth, and flexibility. We like gloves which have touch-screen compatibility, detachable finger covers, and/or a thin profile for maximum heat and use.

Doors off? Consider an open-mitten kind, with a shell liner on the within. This will maintain your palms further warm, but also provide the choice to use your extremities when necessary.

Here are some suggestions for photographer gloves we suggest.

21. Dress for Warmth
As said in Tip 9, it’s essential to wear garments that enable simple mobility and comfort in your flight. In winter, nonetheless, you should think about extra layers to keep you comfy in that chilly high-altitude air.

We advocate wearing a thermal layer (pants and top) beneath your fundamental set of clothes. We additionally suggest carrying a double pair of socks and selecting shoes that will keep your feet heat. Finally, make certain to maintain your neck and face heat with this fleece neck warmer. Pack some headwear, corresponding to a beanie, but make sure it doesn’t have a pom pom on top—this might interfere with your aerial headset!

Did you learn something new from this post? What was your biggest takeaway? Sound off with your thoughts in the Comments section, below! We hope these aerial pictures suggestions give you a little extra confidence and data in your next flight!

Berty and Emily Mandagie are professional journey bloggers and photographers and run an journey and journey blog. Inspired by their house in the Pacific Northwest, the Mandagies are constantly out capturing and sharing content from their out of doors adventures. You can find them on Instagram.

Special due to Fly Jackson Hole, FlyNYON NYC, Kenmore Air, and Alpine Helicopters for giving us the opportunity to photograph from the sky.

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