How to Become an Aerial Photographer

Becoming an aerial photographer is a difficult task. To become an aerial photographer, you will need to have extensive experience with aerial photo operations, you will need to have the proper equipment, and you will need to have some aviation knowledge. Aerial photographers are often hired by real estate companies and architects to capture attractive overhead shots of properties.

Aerial Photo Operations Experience

You cannot become an aerial photographer overnight. It is best that you try to obtain an assistant position with someone that can take you up in the air and teach you the ropes of aerial photography. It takes quite a bit of practice to figure out how to obtain crystal clear aerial photographs in an aircraft that is moving at least 90 miles per hour. Aerial photography is all about technique.

The Proper Equipment

Generally speaking, you will want a digital SLR camera for aerial photography. The camera that you use for aerial photography must allow you to adjust the shutter speed to approximately 1/750th of a second. Keep in mind that you will likely be a couple of thousand of feet in the air, so you will need some powerful magnifying lenses, as well. You will also find that yellow and polarizing filters come in handy for aerial photography.

Aviation Knowledge

You are not going to obtain quality aerial photographs from most commercial airplanes. To get the best aerial shots, you need to be able to open the windows of the aircraft that you are flying in. Successful aerial photographers also need to learn about the operating limitations of a pilot. Of course, you don't need to be a pilot to become an aerial photographer, but you should have a basic understanding of flight paths and height clearances for airplanes and helicopters.