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The preparations necessary for an aerial photo session

As its name suggests, all aerial photography is done at high altitude. This photographic technique involves taking shots of a subject while hovering over it in an airplane, helicopter or airship. More recently, the drone came to replace the specialized and very expensive flights. It's not Yann Arthus Bertrand who wants to, but we are still going to give you some advice.

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Choose your equipment for aerial photography

The latest generation cameras offer unexpected aerial shooting possibilities. You will have to decide between the desired quality of the photos and the price of your device., among others! For aerial photography, if you are looking for a camera that is both light and efficient, you have the choice between a camera equipped with an APS-C type sensor or a hybrid camera, with different advantages and disadvantages. .

Then it will take adapt your equipment to the duration of the flight. If you plan on riding a helicopter for an hour, you can get by with a spare battery for your camera. On the other hand, if the flight is longer, a second spare battery will be required so as not to miss beautiful shots. Prepare your bag well, plan enough room for all the additional equipment and make sure you are able to travel with your device protected from blows during sudden movements.

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What settings to adopt for an aerial photo?

In an airplane or a hot air balloon, you rarely have very stable feet. Take artistic landscape photography with the right settings! Here are some points to consider:
  • The goal : opt for a 17-85 mm or with a small focal length. Note that the larger the sensor, the clearer the details in your photos will come out. Eventually, a short focal length (8-17 mm) may be suitable for the most experienced in aerial photography.
  • The resolution : a high level will ensure the sharpness of the photos and the possibility of printing them on a large format.
  • The sensibility : the higher it is, the brighter the photos will be.
  • L'autofocus : You will either have to remove it for finer focus, between landscape detail and distance, you will have to choose your focus preference. 
  • Optical stabilization : This option is useful in moving environments, you will have less effort to hold the device in your hand.
  • Shutter speed : A reduced exposure time limits the blur.
  • The optical zoom : the larger it is, the more the photos will be defined.
  • Filters : consider adding a polarizing filter for light in the air and adding a UV filter for foggy atmospheres.
  • RAW mode : it makes it easier to edit the photos afterwards. 
Check the first shots at the start of your aerial photo session to make sure you have the right settings. Then, don't waste time reviewing your shots for the rest of the session and focus on the view. You will have the opportunity to review and edit your photos once you are on solid ground.


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Aerial photography with a drone, how to do it?

If your budget is restricted and the altitude level is relatively low, opt for a drone. The drone is an autonomous flying device that is piloted remotely. A professional drone is autonomous, that is to say that it can take charge of functions such as piloting or taking pictures. It can be equipped with a rangefinder and a camera allowing shooting at several hundred meters. 

Choose a type of drone that suits your needs

Aerial photography has come a long way since the commercialization of the drone. Photo drones are equipped with a camera while surveillance drones have a rangefinder. Stealth drones look like birds and are therefore harder to spot. Lightweight drones are designed to minimize their weight and be easy to transport. A majority of drones on the market are remote controlled or piloted from a smartphone. 

Prepare the ground

Drones are sometimes prohibited traffic in the air, especially near an airport or a military base. Will you need to bring a liability insurance particular? Learn about the area before you take off with your drone. This may seem obvious, but it will take keep an eye on the weather. Most amateur drones can't stand the shock of rainy or very windy weather, better prevention than...saying goodbye to your brand new drone!

When to take your aerial photos?

From up there, the breathtaking panoramas are offered to the artistic landscape photography, worthy of a master's abstract painting. There are so many beautiful compositions seen from the air: snow-capped mountain ranges, the geometry of agricultural fields, a coastline where sea and land meet, or a river meandering through a valley. It is often recommended to aerial photography at dawn or sunset.


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Aerial photography allows you to discover cities like you've never seen them before. It is best to take photos of the city around noon. It is an interval where the sun illuminates the most and the buildings with interesting architecture stand out more from their urban environment. Wait for a nice sunny day for your first skyline test. 

Never neglect the weather forecast! An essential part of any outdoor photography, weather conditions determine equipment and settings which you will choose. Good flight ! 

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