In general, the biggest challenge you’re likely to face getting started with successful aerial photography should come from positioning your camera and your aerial vehicle properly in such a way that your subject matter is always in the frame. Apart from this, the rules of aerial photography are just about the same as for regular photography.
If you’re already somewhat familiar with the principles of taking good pictures right here on planet Earth, there’s nothing technical out there that could trip you up. You just have to learn about positioning your camera properly so that there actually is something other than blue sky to capture.
The good part of capturing something well in aerial photography has to do with knowing to recognize your moment and having lightning reflexes. Lots of beginners in aerial photography trip up right here – they see a moment developing, but they just admire it as if it’s going to last. They don’t fire way at the slightest provocation.
Now you can do your aerial photography in one of two ways. You could either mount a little camera on a tiny remote-controlled toy plane, or you could hire a small helicopter or private plane for your photography expedition. Most of the time, the Robinson R22 helicopter is the kind of airborne vehicle you will choose for this kind of thing.
The model is particularly suited to aerial photography through its underpowered nature. It’s pretty cheap to hire at around $400 an hour. If you’re strapped for cash, you’ll probably want to take a small propeller craft for a quarter that price.
Make sure that you talk to the pilot before you set off. Pilots are usually all about transporting you safely and quickly from one place to another. They aren’t really into aerial photography. You need to talk to the pilot and tell him about what kind of flying you expect of him. Whatever photography ideas you have, talk to the pilot about them so that they know what kind of photography you’re looking for.
Most aerial photography is about wide-open landscapes. Your best photos will usually come from the times you ask your pilot to fly really low. At low altitudes, you’ll be able to keep the perspective closer to a familiar altitude and still frame the horizon in your picture.
You’ll constantly have to be in communication with pilot when you are shooting, because you’ll often have the wing or another part of the plane in your way. You’ll have to ask the pilot to maneuver the plane in such a way that you can frame your photos without any part of the aircraft getting in your way.
Just when you have the right kind of shot, you need to ask the pilot to bank sharply to the side you are on so that you can get a clear shot.