Shooting Aerials At Key Travel Locations

May 09, 2023

The Pinnacles, ArkaroolaThe Pinnacles, Arkaroola

The Pinnacles, Arkaroola. Drones get you into positions not otherwise possible.
DJI Mavic Pro 2, f8 @ 1/200 second, ISO 100

Many professional travel photographers aim for at least one aerial shoot at each destination, assuming it is in the budget. And if it isn’t in the budget (if there is a budget), then a drone can assist (assuming the location permits drones – not all countries or locations do).

If the aim of your travel project is to return with a portfolio of images that depict a variety of perspectives, then getting up into the air is a no brainer. It will make an impact on your audience, whether it’s a travel brochure or a travel diary. It’s also a great way to see and understand the location you’re shooting, bringing together the relative landmarks and putting them into context. The aerial perspective remains interesting and attractive, despite the fact we’re all getting used to aerial photographs and video clips. Until we grow wings, this is likely to remain the case.

So, how do you get up into the air? The answer is simple if you have a drone and droning is permitted. Just getting up and above important landmarks will give you images with a different perspective.

Without a drone, you could look for a skyscraper or a tall mountain to give you an overview, but this advice isn’t particularly helpful in many locations. The remaining option is to hire a plane, helicopter or balloon. And while photographers love shooting with doors off, if you use a floppy lens hood, it’s possible to shoot through many aircraft windows and get excellent results. This will possibly keep the price of your flight down and certainly make your pilot happier (I’ve yet to meet a pilot who loves removing and attaching doors).

If possible, pick a good time of day to shoot. Often this is early morning and late afternoon, but to be honest, even midday photos from the air can look excellent – the weather is probably more a consideration than the time of day.


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