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What are 3 secrets to great aerial photography

Whether you need to show off a beautiful piece of real estate, document legal property boundaries, highlight your business, capture footage for a motion picture, or chronicle a special event, aerial photography is a fantastic way to capture a stunning bird’s eye view from the sky. Choosing the Los Angeles area’s industry leader for helicopter photography and cinematography is the first step to ensuring your vision becomes reality.

Our pilots have extensive expertise working with professional and amateur photographers and cinematographers on every type of shoot imaginable. They will work closely with you to plan the timing, route, and strategy of your flight. Here are three of our top tips to achieving great aerial photography!


For the best results on a photography flight, you should have a complete knowledge of your lenses and be prepared to adjust rapidly as your pilot navigates the areas you are shooting. A wide lens may be perfect for an exquisite shot of the setting sun over the Malibu shoreline, but you may need to quickly switch to a narrow lens as your helicopter soars over a dramatic rocky outcropping.

Altitude and airspace limitations for helicopters in some areas may require you to change to a zoom lens. Knowing your lenses and their capabilities is important, and we recommended some forethought about how your lenses might come into play at different points during your shoot. Your pilot will communicate with you every step of the way to help you prepare for the next “million-dollar” shot.


Modern cameras offer a multitude of settings options for optimal performance in almost any conditions. For aerial photography, it’s crucial for you to understand and master everything your camera can do so you’ll be ready to capture your vision on film. Even when hovering, helicopters are creatures of vibration, so you’ll want to experiment ahead of time to determine which settings you’ll need to employ for sharp, in focus results.

From panoramic mode to sports/action mode and everything in between, your camera is ready to get the job done, and you should be, too. Know how to set your camera for the different lighting conditions that may occur during your flight. Explore the aperture and shutter options. The more knowledgeable you are about the capabilities of your camera, the more successful your shoot will be.


While knowing how your camera works is helpful for great flight photography, knowing how your pilot works is essential! Being ready to communicate effectively with your pilot can mean the difference between a so-so shot and the shot of a lifetime. Your pilot will conduct a thorough pre-flight briefing and will ask a lot of questions to make sure they understand exactly what you hope to accomplish. We also want to be sure you understand what is achievable and what is not. No, we can’t land on Paula Abdul’s front lawn! Of course, your safety is always our foremost priority.

Once airborne, clear communication is vital. We use the hours of the clock for direction, and add high/low to clarify positioning. Understanding “pilot talk” greatly improves your chances of getting in the right place for that dream shot of the beautiful Los Angeles area!