Aerial Photography Is Not as Easy as It Looks

With drone technology, aerial photography may seem easier than ever to achieve these days.  However, to the discerning eye, the quality just isn't there sometimes. This leaves photographers with only a few options to consider if they want to capture a scene from the sky.

Photographer Tim Shields was hired to get some aerial photos of his hometown of White Rock, British Colombia. We covered the close call Shields experienced when extreme weather knocked some boats loose and took out a large section of the pier. This time around, Shields covers the ins and outs of shooting from the air and the unexpected nuances you are forced to navigate.

I have never had the pleasure of being in a helicopter or small propellor plane. There is a local outfit that offers helicopter flights over Niagara Falls, so I hope to learn some tips and tricks before actually getting up there. I am also fairly certain my fear of heights might play a role in the overall success of the hypothetical outing. Maybe I'll just stick with videos of others doing it for now.

One of the main reasons Shields gives on why he chose to work from a small plane makes a lot of sense. Have you ever shot from the air? Was it as easy as you expected? Have a look at Shields' adventure and check out the final image he was able to produce.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Michael B. Stuart is a photographer at Stu Stu Studio in Lewiston, New York. Besides shooting weddings with his wife Nicole his specialties include long exposure, abstract monochrome creations, architecture, and bokeh. Work has been featured online by Adobe, Flickr, Google, and 500px with the most popular photo receiving over 950 million views.

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After seeing Lee's video on the Sony a9 vs Nikon D850 [ ], I sought out the helicopter tour company he used and went on an open doors flight over NYC. You're right, it was not as easy as it looked.

Not as easy as it looks? Hmmmmm. It looks like it would be exceptionally difficult, so I have trouble understanding the title of the article.

Have to say he made it extremely difficult for himself by using the absolute wrong type of plane.
If you must use a plane find one where the wings are above the windows and with windows that open.

I shoot aerial photos from a powered parachute. It is an incredible platform for aerial work; it has slow speed, open cockpit, and hands-free flying. I can fly and shoot at the same time.


It’s for sure different than landscape with a tripod but it does not have to as difficult as in this clip. As with everything you need the right equipment and a little bit of practice. It’s got to be a high wing plane able to fly relatively slow and a big enough open windows on both sides to be able to maneuver with the camera. The easiest setup would be when the pilot is also the photographer because than positioning the airplane for the right shot is much easier. For a good pilot it is no problem to do both at the same time as long as someone else is looking out for other traffic.

Gimme a break.