Aerial Photography

By: Daniel Owen

Aerial photography is the art of taking photographs an in elevated position from the ground. Aerial Photography is usually the term that is referred to when the images taken from the camera are not supported by any type of ground based structure. Aerial Photographs may be triggered remotely, they may be triggered automatically or they may be taken by photographers, the cameras can be hand held or mounted. There are many different types of platforms for Aerial Photography, some og these include:

  • Fixed Wing Aircraft

  • Balloons

  • Kites

  • Helicopters

  • Dirigibles and Blimps

  • Rockets

  • Parachutes

  • Poles

The History of Aerial Photography

Gaspard-Felix Tournachon was a balloonist and photographer from France, he was the first person to practice Aerial Photography. He was widely known as 'Nadar' in Paris (France) 1858. It was on April 24th 1909 the first use of a motion picture camera was used, this camera was mounted to a heavier-than-air aircraft and was used over Rome. It was used in 'Wilbur Wright und seine Flugmaschine the 3:28 silent short film.

Some of the uses of Aerial Photography

Aerial Photography has many different uses, and is becoming more and more popular today, as technology gets better, the images and ways they can be taken in an aerial sense also improve. Bellow are some examples of what Aerial Photography is used in today:

  • Cartography uses Aerial Photography; they are particularly relied upon in Photogrammetric Surveys. Photogrammetric Surveys are often the basis for Topographic Maps

  • Commercial Advertising - The camera is usually mounted on a plane or helicopter allowing a great range of movement and speed to achieve the required photography.

  • Surveillance - This is performed similarly to the Commercial Advertising but will use very high tech equipment, that can take many shots in a short period of time, the image quality will be great zoomed in aswell

  • Archaeology

  • Movie Production - This type of Aerial Photography will be like Surveillance, also high tech equipment but also accompanied with video footage.

  • Conveyancing

  • Environmental Studies

  • Artistic Projects - Aerial Photography will tend to focus on landmarks and great views above land.

GIS systems are often what are used to process Aerial Photography. Property Analysis (Phase Environmental Site Assessments) heavily use Aerial Photography in the United States.

Low altitude Aerial Photography is now possible by radio control due to advances in today's technology (Radio Controlled Models). The camera equipment is mounted on to radio controlled equipment like (planes and blimps), Blimps are usually the preferred choice as they are easier to control at low speeds. Real Estate advertising has greatly benefited from this, this is because a full manned aircraft by law is prohibited from flying at low altitudes above populated locations. Therefore small scale model remote controlled models which are allowed to fly above populated areas open up the possibilities for better Aerial Photography. These small planes cannot replace a full size aircraft tho as they only have short fly times. Lower altitudes and can carry less equipment.

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About Author:
Daniel Owen writes about Aerial Photography. To know more about Aerial Photography at

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