Aerial photography is quickly becoming more famous now thanks to the accessibility that reasonably priced drones for photography are widely available on the market. It can be an interesting and fun hobby to take up, and plus it has implications that are integral to most parts of our everyday life.
What Is Aerial Photography?
Aerial photography and video (AVP) is the taking of videos and stills of subjects on the ground from an elevated position. In most cases, the camera is not supported by any ground structures. Platforms include aircraft, helicopters, UAVs or quadcopters and drones with cameras, balloons and many others. Unmanned cameras, like those found in drones and quadcopters, can be triggered automatically or remotely, while hand-held ones are taken by photographers.
If quadcopters, drones, or other UAVs did not exist, the world of aerial photography would be so much different from what it is now. One of the biggest changes would be that photographers would be required to hold the camera taking the photos, which makes this, as a hobby, impractical if you want to shoot things from atop a flying object. The inclusion of drones into this area of photography made it easier and much more accessible to the masses; everyone with a drone that has an on-board camera can be an amateur aerial photographer.
Quadcopter photography is used in many scenarios. It is used for military and police surveillance, firefighters use it in situations hazardous to manned aircraft, and use is growing in the civilian commercial and private sectors. Cameras can be mounted on the aircrafts, and some quadcopters have built-in equipment that can film in high-definition.
Using a quadcopter for aerial photography opens up a whole venue of new options for both commercial and personal uses. Quadcopters, a type of unmanned aerial vehicle, are maneuverable enough to allow for photos and videos that have been impossible before now.
Since quadcopters are so versatile, they can be used to very creative effects in many different ways. You are only limited by your financial budget and how good your piloting skills are. For cost, there are increasingly more budget-friendly quadcopters available, and as demand continues to grow, there will be even more inexpensive options available for public purchasing.
Learning how to fly the quadcopter, however, is a matter that can only be solved through practice. Buy cheaper models, which may or may not come with cameras, to practice your flying skills. The turning of the craft is perhaps the most difficult part of flying these crafts, and you will crash a few times. Always be sure to follow safety rules and common sense when flying. it is very important that you always keep your quadcopter in your sight, as even a moment of lost control can result in severe property damage.
The commercial implications are very promising, as audiences are always eager for the beautiful vantage points that aerial photography can bring. The best thing about this method is it can be used directly in commercial endeavors, or it can be used to merely increase traffic to websites, blogs, or social media outlets. If you are going to use quadcopter photography for commercial purposes, however, you do need special licenses that will vary upon your location and what type of quadcopter you buy.
Quadcopter photography can suffer from the vibrations and shakiness of flight, but as you grow more adept at piloting your craft these vibrations will decrease. There are also certain technologies, such as brushless stabilizing gimbals, that help to lower the effects of flight. Special permissions are also necessary if you plan to fly and film at night, as there are special hazards that come with night-time use of an unmanned aerial vehicle.
The earliest record of aerial photography was by Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, a French photographer and balloonist. He took photographs while riding in a balloon over Paris, France in 1858. However, none of his work survived, so the earliest surviving aerial photograph is the one titled “Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It.” It was taken by James Wallace Black and Samuel Archer King in 1860 from a height of 630 meters.
From then on, kites began seeing use in aerial photography as early as 1882. Several developments and years later, a motion picture camera mounted on a heavier-than-air aircraft was first used to produce the German short film titled “Wilbur Wright und seine Flugmaschine.”
The further development of aerial photography is documented together with the rise of the use of UAVs and drones. It proved itself incredibly useful in terms of warfare reconnaissance, where constant mapping helped strategize both sides of the conflict and ultimately influence the tide of the war.
It was only in 1919 that aerial photography was fully realized for commercial use for the masses, when a company called Aerofilms, Ltd. was born. The company specialized in carrying out vertical photography for mapping purposes and surveying. The company was also notable for pioneering the science of photogrammetry, which is the science of mapping from aerial photographs.
It was not until drones were made commercially available that aerial photography picked up and became as easy as it is today. This in turn also widened its list of applications, whereas in the past, it was mostly used only for reconnaissance and land surveying. Today, this is extended to include recreational aerial photography, for both professional and hobbyist levels.
Implications and uses
Aerial photography has a list for its uses and applications, including, but not limited to: cartography, particularly photogrammetry which is useful for topographic maps; power line inspections; movie production; surveillance; advertising; environmental studies; and artistic projects.
Most artistic projects involving aerial photography involves wedding events or similar photo shoots of the same size. With the help of drones, documentation is a lot easier than it was before. Most professional photographers are seeing the benefits of knowing how to be an aerial photographer as well, increasing its fame to circles well beyond it.
Of course, the military implications of aerial photography are still in effect today. They are used mostly to decide locations of targets, survey the layout of possible mission locations, and generally, information gathering.
Growing consciousness in tandem with radio-controlled aircraft
Progress in terms of radio-controlled aircrafts have made it possible for UAVs to be useful in conducting low-altitude aerial photography. Most of the stills and footage that come from drone enthusiasts today are an example of what low-altitude aerial photography is. One of the direct benefactors from this set-up is the real estate industry; suddenly it was a lot easier to market houses when you can advertise them from above. However, certain regulations were passed to outright ban some larger models from directly flying over houses; this was solved by developing even smaller models to use explore previously restricted areas.
What this means for the drone industry is simple: Because of the endless lure of aerial photography today, there will always be a market for drones, no matter how small they are, just as long as they have a camera. This ever-growing enthusiasm for the activity as a recreation is telling of how influential the tandem between the two has proven. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a craft without a camera, and even if you manage to find one, they’re always the smallest, incapable of holding the weight.
Aerial photography and drones: What model should I buy?
If you, too, are excited at the prospect of aerial photography and you want to own your very own drone capable of such things, then it’s good to consider two equally points in buying the perfect one for you.
- Camera quality—Having a flashy drone is not the most important thing to consider. In fact, having a sub par one is better if that means that you’ll get the camera that is perfect for your needs. General rule of thumb, though: Drones with removable cameras are superior to everything else if you’re only in it for the aerial photography, seeing as you have greater control over the quality of the shots you’ll be taking.
- Budget—It’s called a budget for a reason. Stick with it and always look out for the quality. A bad decision is worth more than even the most expensive but right choice. Research what you’ll need ahead of time so once you go in and decide which one you should have, it will easily be worth it the first time.
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