Aerial photography is one of the most difficult forms of photography. Images taken from the sky are always fascinating as they offer us perspective images of different things on Earth. Though there are a lot of information out there talking about this subject, most of the messages conveyed are a little incomprehensive to encourage newbie photographers to take their first flights. So, how can one take high quality and impressive aerial photos?
Although many people take aerial photos while travelling on big planes, it is advisable to use small aircraft that are suitable for aerial photography. A helicopter or a balloon may be the best to use in this case. This is because unlike aeroplanes, helicopters are relatively slower which will give me enough time to organise myself and take the best shot. Most importantly, they have windows that can be opened and can fly to a relatively lower height to enable you get the best shot.
It is important to note that good composition and framing are importantly when taking aerial photos. In order to take the best photos of vertical objects, one should align the target image with the vertical frame of the camera. This will ensure that the object appears vertical in the final image. At the same time, you should try to shoot the same object from different angles in order to get the best shot of the shadows viewed from different angles. The best photos can not be achieved by shooting down directly where the object lies. This means that one should be very cautious with the perspective and angles from where they take their photos.
Taking aerial photos aboard a helicopter can be quite challenging. A lot of people do take blurry pictures which are as a result of a shaking camera. Although most cameras have vibration reduction features, this can not withstand constant vibration caused by a helicopter. However, you can deal with this by using a gyro stabilizer to stabilize the camera while shooting. Besides that, you should try and occasionally use fast shutter speeds to ensure that any breathtaking scene is captured regardless of how intense the shaking could be.
Taking great aerial photos requires teamwork and excellent coordination with your pilot. It is the pilot who does the pre-flight and is able to single out the best angles and compositions. One of the greatest challenges that you will have to contend with is coping with the colour of the sky. In this case, it would be great to use a skylight filter to reduce the haze or a polarized filter to bring out an excellent colour of the sky.
Taking photos around the wings or wheels of the aircraft can be quite challenging. However, this can be overcome by overcome asking the pilot to look through the lens in order to understand the nature of the view that you have. It is therefore important that the pilot has a mental picture of this and to fly the plane directly in line with the target so as to give you the best angle to shoot from. Communication is therefore important in ensuring that your pilot instantly understands what you are asking him or her.
Image Courtesy : flickr/jmauerer