Aerial photography and principles of aerial photography – Method of photographing the composition or structures of the Earth’s atmosphere or hydrosphere with cameras installed on airplanes, rockets, or Earth-orbiting satellites and other spacecraft.

For the visualization of terrestrial objects, aerial photos are typically taken in alternating sequence by aircraft adopting a standardized flight pattern at a set altitude. A growing photograph depicts a region that contains a variety of control points, the coordinates of which are calculated through ground-based surveying techniques. A methodology known as photogrammetry (q.v.), which requires the simultaneous projection of multiple images, allows the creation of contour maps or three-dimensional terrestrial surface models that have been filmed.


1. Vertical photographs: The camera axis is in a vertical position. This results in little or no relief visible in the image and a smaller amount of the area covered. Experts most often take vertical photographs like a map.

2. Low oblique photographs: Unlike vertical photos, to take low oblique images, you tilt the camera axis more than 3 degrees in such a way that the horizon – the region where the earth and the sky meet – is not noticeable in the picture.

3. High oblique photographs: The camera axis has a higher tilt-approximately 60 degrees-covering a wider region and the horizon is evident in the image. In contrast to vertical photographs, this level of tilting produces a great deal of relief. This helps you to help distinguish natural or man-made characteristics.

4. Large scale aerial photographs: When the aircraft is flying at a lower elevation, the camera captures images of less area, but the objects are seen during a larger dimension. this suggests that the ratio of photo distance to ground – or representative fraction – is of upper value. That’s why experts call low-level photographs of large-scale photographs. Large-scale photographs are more useful for mapping land features and measuring objects.

5. Small scale aerial photographs: When the aircraft is flying at a higher altitude, there is a larger area that can be covered in a single image, but the ratio of the size of the objects in the photograph to the ground dimension is smaller. That’s why pros call small-scale photographs of these types of aerial photographs. Small-scale photographs are useful for studying large areas with features that need not be mapped or measured in detail.


1. Find a good location.

Find a good location for aerial photography.
Find a good location for aerial photography.

Location is all you need to be in the right place to get the perfect shot. Make sure you carefully select your location to ensure that you have stunning images.

Plan carefully and don’t worry about browsing Instagram for inspiration. There are a lot of accounts that you can follow to get ideas for your shooting and see what kind of images are going on. For eg, the Instagram shot above is from Drone of the Day and is a good place to get started.

Another source of ideas is Facebook, make sure you join local groups and ask for suggestions to find some lesser-known beauty spots that have not been killed.

2. Plan well in advance.

Aerial photography planning.
Aerial photography planning.

Proper planning can prevent a missed opportunity. There are several restrictions on manufacturers, air laws, and regulations that may prevent you from legally undertaking drone flights, particularly in built-up areas.

For example, if you want to fly an aerial drone in India, you’d better be prepared to do your homework well in advance and make sure you have all the necessary permissions. Below is a descriptive sample of the permits you need before you can operate your drone, correct as described. Check for the new, most up-to-date protocols and make the appropriate arrangements.

Make sure to visit the official site digitalsky.dgca.gov.in and read all the guidelines carefully and take all the permissions you need to fly a drone.

3. Choose the right time for photography.

Choose the right time of aerial photography.
Choose the right time for aerial photography.

Photographers know that time can have an enormous impact on the quality of the image.

Aim to fire during the Golden Hours that commences at the end of the day. This is where the most fascinating light and colors will be in abundance, which will bring more suspense and energy to your pictures.

It makes a huge difference whether you’re facing the sun, compared to whether it’s behind you. If you’re facing the sun, it’s a good practice to enable HDR mode so that you can keep the most detail in the image from the lights and shadows.

4. Choose the right drone.

Choose the right drone.
Choose the right drone.

Photographers are really selective about what camera/lens setup they pick for a particular task, and that doesn’t alter while you’re up in the air. There are a lot of drones to choose from, but to narrow down which drone is best for you, it’s best to be clear what you’re going to use for.

For example, a DJI Mavic Air drone would be the perfect travel companion for some truly stunning aerial shots on your next trip, but you’d sacrifice some quality for convenience.

If accuracy is significant, you’ll want to go for a device that features a larger sensor with a higher megapixel count and a Hasselblad color profile, such as the DJI Mavic Pro 2.

If you want the best quality images you can buy then the DJI Inspire 2 would be your investment as your best-in-class X7 camera captures stunning images.

The more often you ‘re planning to use a drone, the more justified you ‘re going to opt for prime models, but if you’re a budget perfectionist, don’t overstretch. Buy within your means and upgrade at a later date if you absolutely have to.

5. Shoot in RAW format.

Shoot in RAW format
Shoot in RAW format.

Every photographer is shooting in the RAW. There may be times when JPEG may be used, but aerial photography is generally not one of them.

Shooting in RAW captures the full detail of an uncompressed image. This means that you can adjust the exposure and make corrections without degrading the image. Using JPEG is more likely to cause noise to the image and result in a poor or unusable image.

If you’re shooting a drone, it’s even more important to shoot in RAW because the cameras have lower resolution than the DSLRs, the former with a resolution of around 12MP and the latter with a resolution of 40+MP.

You will also want to consider shooting with the lowest possible ISO to ensure the highest image quality. Opening the aperture wider and using a slower shutter speed will help keep the ISO low for better shots.

But don’t forget to always shoot in RAW to hold the ISO strong.

6. Find the right shutter speed.

Right shutter speed.
Right shutter speed.

Shutter speed is the most essential factor that transforms your image. If you can master the shutter speed trinity, ISO, and aperture, you’ll be well on your path to serious photography. Shutter speed plays a much greater role in aerial photography, and learning this trick can drastically enhance your pictures.

Fast shutter speed will work best in most cases to get the super crisp detailed shots that everyone loves when it comes to aerial photography.

However, if you want to be creative and artistic, you can differentiate yourself by getting a neutral density filter and experimenting with slower shutter speeds to achieve blurred images that can work really well with clouds and crowds.

7. Carry extra batteries.

Inspire 2/Ronin 2 TB50 Intelligent Flight Battery
Image Source: Dji Store.

The last thing any aerial photographer needs to do is run out of the battery with their drone already taking fantastic pictures.

Most drone batteries last roughly 18-30 minutes, so you need to take that into consideration while preparing your flights.

You can’t have so many cells. Keep the battery pack in your bag so that you can recharge your drone with fresh energy and keep going for longer. You can quickly pick up individual batteries, or there are specialized ‘Travel More’ packs with a complete range of tools built to hold you going during true fitness sessions.

8. Check Weather.

Check Weather
Check Weather

Check out for the weather! This is something that we teach every pupil, so we advise you not to lose sight of in your eagerness to get your shot.

Often find out the forecast first!

Try and shoot in warmer, drier, windier conditions. There is far less chance of harm to your plane, so you will stay in full charge of your drone during the trip.

Make sure you’re taking one of the Hummingbird UAV courses where we’re going over strategies for flying in the air.

For more such articles visit our “Photography” category.


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