Editing is your friend when shooting from afar. Dehaze in Adobe Lightroom is a valuable tool for removing the foggy look often present in imagery shot at a high elevation. Use the Dodge tool to lighten specific areas of the photo and the Burn tool to darken others by utilizing the Adjustment brush. See how to best edit aerial shots by drone in this step-by-step video from Michael Shainblum.
12. Get plenty of practice first.
From gaining new insights on a familiar city to learning more about wild environments, sometimes an aerial view is all you need. Start by finding a safe and accessible rooftop to shoot from or book a flight or try out a drone if budget is less of a concern.
13. Give yourself a break.
If you’re not used to heights, getting started can be a challenge. “Forgive yourself if you’re a little distracted. It’s a very distracting environment,” Alex MacLean.
But if you’re as well-prepared as possible, you’re sure to get some amazing shots out of your aerial session. Just don’t forget to enjoy the view and remember to believe in yourself and your talent.
“When I spent $300 on my first one-hour flight, my parents thought I was crazy. “But that flight turned into tens of thousands in paying jobs.”
Toby Harriman, aerial photographer
Aerial photography: frequently asked questions.
What is aerial photography used for?
Aerial photography is used to capture photographs from above. Mostly, it involves a photographer going up in a plane or helicopter to capture images from the sky. Think of photographs of a football stadium on matchday, or a landmark such as the Golden Gate Bridge or Mount Everest. Architects and commercial developers often use it to capture bird’s eye view photographs of sites and developments.
What are the types of aerial photography?
There are several types of aerial photography, including:
- Tourism. Mountain ranges, lakes and coastlines from above for tourism. Same for landmarks such as castles and bridges.
- Technical. Mapping imagery to be used for architectural, archaeological and geological projects.
- Property. Housing and commercial property developments seen from above for sales material.
- TV and film. Travel documentaries, blockbuster movies and live football all use aerial photography.
- Creative/hobbyist. Many people shoot aerial photography as enthusiasts rather than a job.
Is aerial photography the same as drone photography?
Drone photography and aerial photography are often seen as interchangeable terms. But while they are quite similar, and you could call drone photography a type of aerial photography, when we talk about aerial photography we are generally thinking more about people shooting from aeroplanes or helicopters using a traditional camera.
Learn more about drone photography
How do I take an aerial photo on my iPhone?
Aerial photography is generally associated with high-end DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses. For professional results, you would need this type of camera. But you can also take good quality aerial photography images on an iPhone. The best way to do this is to use Burst mode, which allows you to capture multiple high-speed photos.
Why are aerial shots used in films?
Directors and cinematographers have favoured the aerial shot for as long as technology has made it possible. The reason? It presents the scene from a perspective that people cannot generally see in everyday life and provides a unique bird’s eye view. The arrival of drones has democratised aerial cinematography – before then it was only within reach for big-budget Hollywood movies.
Make your aerial shots even better.
Aerial photography is a big investment. Get the most from your aerial shots with post-production with Adobe Photoshop photo editing tools.
Adobe’s aerial photography partners.
This article was co-written by aerial photography experts.
- Alex MacLean is an aerial photographer and pilot who has won awards for his photography documenting America from above. See Alex’s work
- Toby Harriman is a San Francisco based aerial photographer whose work has often been seen in National Geographic. See Toby’s work
- Justin Bailie is an Oregon-based adventurer and lifestyle photographer who has shot magnificent photos of mountains. See Justin’s work