Nerdspiration: How to Photograph the World From Above

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How to Photograph the World From Above

Most people with a love of technology tend to have several passions in life, whether that might be gaming, VR, or photography. If you enjoy taking photographs of the world around you, have you ever wondered what it would be like to do so from the world above?

Aerial photography is a pastime that more people are taking up each year, and if it’s something that interests you as well, how can you get started? The following are some top tips you can follow to help you capture amazing shots from the air:

Photo by Carlo Yuen Image Source

Buy a Decent Camera

Seems like the most obvious directive, but the first item to check off your aerial photography to-do list is buying a premium quality camera. Yes, anyone can take photographs on any camera. But, if you want to capture stunning imagery from the sky, you need to have the right tools for the job.

You’ve got a vast choice of camera equipment on the market, so you should set yourself a budget and then work from there, shortlisting the best cameras that you can afford. Don’t forget that you don’t necessarily need to buy a brand new camera.

It’s possible to purchase excellent camera gear on the secondhand market for a fraction of the cost of new ones. Just make sure any used cameras you consider are working well and consider buying brand new batteries for them if they come with the originals.

Aside from buying a camera, you’ll also need to budget for lenses appropriate for the types of photographs you want to take and accessories such as memory cards, a carrying case, and some tripods. You should also think about getting a remote control for your camera.

Check out this excellent camera and lens buying guide from to help you get started on your quest.

Buy a Drone

If you don’t plan on hanging out of planes to capture some aerial footage on your camera, it makes sense to purchase a photography drone, such as those found at websites like

Drones are straightforward to pilot from the ground, and if you’ve ever played with remote control cars as a kid, you’re going to love flying your drone! Of course, that’s not the only reason why you’d buy a drone.

Many of today’s drones come with built-in cameras that are capable of recording HD and even 4K-quality images and video footage. Some models have advanced features such as image stabilization.

You should keep in mind that you must be aware of any relevant laws in your area regarding piloting drones. For example, you may need to register your drone with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or apply for a special license or permit to use it.

Before you dive in with taking photographs and video footage with your drone, it makes sense to get accustomed to piloting it firstly. That way, the likelihood of damaging someone’s property or crashing into people will be slim.

Learn How to Use Your Camera

It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to use an ordinary digital SLR camera or the one built into your drone. You must learn how to use the camera to its full potential so you don’t end up wasting time and money with your photography pursuits.

Reading the camera’s manual is an excellent place to start, as you can familiarize yourself with the different functions and settings available to you. However, it might make sense to sign up for some photography lessons.

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Due to COVID-19, you might need to participate online. In any event, professional photography lessons will significantly enhance your knowledge and skills when it comes to photography.

Check out for some online photography courses if it’s not possible to participate in offline classes in your area. If you’re new to photography, it could be the best money you’ve ever spent, and you’ll bolster your photo-taking skills!

Practice Makes Perfect

Once you’ve got the right camera equipment and you’ve taken some professional photography courses, it makes sense to start taking aerial photographs with your feet firmly on the ground.

What that means is taking photographs from places like observation towers or the top of a mountain range, for example. Taking photos when you’re in motion (i.e., flying or piloting a drone) can be challenging to say the least.

It’s worth taking photographs while you’re not flying or piloting a drone because you will learn the best techniques for capturing specific images. For instance, you might prefer to take panoramic photos instead of landscape ones.

You’ll likely find a high vantage point in your area where you can start practicing your aerial photography skills and master the right techniques to use in your future work. 

Have a Photography Checklist

When you’re ready to start capturing scenes from a height while flying in a plane or piloting a drone, it makes sense to have a photography checklist. Here are some points to consider for your checklist:

Knowing What to Photograph

Let’s face it: if you don’t know what to photograph, you won’t have much to do! With that in mind, you should think about what you’d like to capture during your aerial photography session.

For example, do you want to take photographs of a city skyline or a remote location away from civilization? Perhaps you’d like to focus specifically on certain monuments or points of interest?

Choosing the Right Time

Next, you need to think about when you’d like to start taking photographs. Day and nighttime photography have their pros and cons, so you need to consider which setting is most appropriate for your needs.

You’ll also need to take into account the weather. Poor weather can hamper visibility, irrespective of whether you fly in a plane or helicopter, or you pilot a drone controlled from the ground.

Prepare Your Camera Equipment in Advance

Lastly, you should always prepare everything you need in advance. That way, you can quickly switch between camera bodies without running out of time during your flight. If you’re piloting a drone, you could ensure you have the necessary equipment to clean your drone’s lens.

One or two spare fully-charged batteries will also help if you’re piloting for long periods.

Good luck – and most importantly, have fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously.

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