Tips for aerial photographs
Taking photos and filming from above: there are a few things you should be aware of with aerial photos. We explain what is important when taking aerial photos.
It takes practise to immortalise breathtaking panoramas as photos. The details blur quickly, the shooting angle looks random and even the colours and mood are difficult to capture. All of this is even more challenging when it comes to taking aerial photos.
But don’t worry: with a few tricks and a willingness to experiment there is nothing standing in the way of your photo adventure. What do you need to watch out for to make sure you don’t miss the fascination of the moment?
Choice of camera
Good photos can basically be taken using smartphones and compact cameras too. A digital SLR camera is recommended though for more control over the result and greater flexibility, especially in poorer conditions. It is important to think about your range of equipment. “As little as possible, as much as necessary” is the guiding principle, especially with restricted space. Usually these three photographic scenes are perfect:
- The setting up of the hot-air balloon,
- In the basket, i.e. pilot and passengers, the mood in the group etc. as well as
- The landscape around you.
- 17-85 mm (included as standard with many cameras) or a zoom lens with smaller focal length, such as 17-40 mm)
- A telephoto lens with larger focal lengths (e.g. 100-200 mm)
- If applicable, another lens in a smaller focal length range between 8 and 17 mm
- A polarising and UV filter (mist)
- A monopod – practical as it does not require much space
It makes sense to take the photos in RAW format, at the latest with the landscape photos as a result of the great differences in contrast between light and dark (e.g. clouds that cast shadows on the landscape underneath and at the same time reflect the sunlight to the side and upwards). This allows for corrections to be made easily later on without reducing the quality.
Deactivate autofocus Deactivate the autofocus for landscape photos and set the focus manually to just under “infinity”. The keyword here is “hyperfocal distance” and you can find out what this is about in this blog.
As motion often comes into play, make sure that the exposure times are short (at least 1/250). Shutter speeds of 1/500 or 1/1000 are a good guide, with image stabilisation too. To keep the vibrations low do not support the camera on the balloon. The memory card capacity should be large enough that it is not necessary to change it during the ride. You should also avoid changing the battery on board.
Taking photos using drones
Drones, often also called “multicopters”, are equipped with cameras (or already have them installed) and allow for videos and photos to be taken from lofty heights. The four, six or eight propeller machines are the latest hit, especially since good cameras have also become affordable for amateurs.
One consumer drone that has attracted a great deal of media attention and received impressive reviews over the last two years is the DJI Phantom.
Note: Remote-controlled drones are usually subject to specific legislation (e.g. weight restrictions, no-fly zones for example around airports or the obligation to take out extended liability insurance). You must obtain information about this before using your drone for the first time.
But have fun now taking your aerial photos and have a “Good Flight”!