Check out our promotional video. Special thanks to Keith Craig from Divine Entertainment for making this video for us.
Two of our aerial pics were used in a recent article about the Seaside Park Boardwalk Fire. Special Thanks to Editor Alan Tu. Check it out at the link below
1) Take a look through their portfolio which should be listed on the company website. The portfolio doesn’t have to be extensive….just a few aerial photographs to give you an idea of the photographer’s work product.
2) Does the aerial photographer belong to any professional associations? Most reputable aerial photographers belong to the Professional Aerial Photographers Association otherwise known as PAPA. This association provides up-to-date information on tips and techniques as well as educational conferences to participating photographers. You can visit the PAPA website at www.papainternational.org and do a search by City for aerial photographers who service your area.
3) Find out if the photographer will be using a plane or helicopter. This will have a huge impact on the cost of the photo mission. Fixed wing aircraft are much cheaper to operate per hour, and in most cases, a fixed wing plane will achieve the same results as a helicopter. Yes a helicopter can get down to a lower altitude but with the different lenses on most professional cameras, the altitude is usually not an issue.
4) Will the copyrights to your photos be turned over to you? This is important!!! Make sure that all of the photographs and copyrights are turned over to you when the job is complete. Some aerial photographers will charge an extra fee (copyright fee) to burn the photos to a CD. After the photos are taken, they belong to you. That is what you paid for. Make sure that this is negotiated before your hire your aerial photographer.
5) Find out where the aerial photographer is based out of. The closer that the aerial photographer’s home airport is to your site, the lower your estimate will be. The key to getting the best rate is to get the plane to your site and back as quick as possible. If you live in Southern NJ for example and you hire an aerial photographer based out of Manhattan, NY, you will pay for the flight time to your site and then back to Manhattan. Putting a plane in the air is not cheap, so the closer your job is to the aerial photographer’s home airport the better.
6) Is your aerial photographer also a pilot? Despite what you might think, there are many aerial photographers who are not pilots. Rather, they rent a plane and hire a commercial pilot fly to them to their photo missions. There is nothing wrong with this and there are many great aerial photographers who are not pilots. However, an aerial photographer who is a pilot will be able to schedule his/her own flight and evaluate weather favorable to both a safe flight and crisp/clear images. In addition, an aerial photographer who is also a pilot will usually have a quicker turnaround time due to flexibility of planning his/her own flight.
For photo missions, we use two different types of fixed wing aircraft, a Cessna 152 and a Cessna 172 SkyHawk. The little 152 has a 150hp engine and it seats two people. The 172 seats 4 people and it has a little more kick with a 180hp engine. As you can see from the pics below, both planes have high wings which allows for excellent views of the ground. The only part of the plane that can sometimes be in the way when taking aerials are the wing struts. However, this view obstruction can be easily managed by performing a maneuver with the plane called a slip. A slip will angle the plane in such a way that great pics can be taken without the strut being in the way.
When circling the area of our photo shoot, the plane is slowed down to about 70-80 knots. This equates to taking pictures while going about 80-92 miles per hour, depending upon the wind, which is why it is important to use a fast shutter speed while taking aerials. The faster shutter speed helps to prevent image blur. It can be dangerous to fly a fixed wing plane any slower while at such a low altitude. This is why the airspeed is maintained at about 75 knots when taking aerial pics.
During normal flight in the 172, we cruise at an average of about 115 knots, depending upon our heading in relation to the wind, which is about 132 miles per hour.
At Shore Aerial, we do not offer aerial video services, only custom photographs. However, this morning we took an early morning flight along the New York coastline of the Hudson River. Check out this video that was taken as we were flying by the Freedom Tower. We were at an altitude of 900 feet when the video was taken. To put things into perspective for you, the height of the Freedom Tower is 1776 feet. The Twin Towers were 1727 feet high. We flew north along the coast to the area of Yonkers, NY before turning around and flying the NJ side South past the Statue of Liberty to our home airport.
Overall, Google Earth is an excellent tool that will give you an aerial view of just about anywhere in the world. We even use it here at Shore Aerial to prep for photo missions to unfamiliar areas. Just be mindful of the date of the image, the angle of the shot and the purpose of the picture. Here are some of the differences.
Images can be outdated: Google Earth images are generally 1-3 years old depending upon the location. Well known locations, like NYC for example, are updated much more frequently by Google Earth than other areas. At the bottom of your Google Earth image, you can find the date of your image along with the latitude & longitude of your location.
Quality: Although the quality of a Google Earth image may look appealing on a computer screen, the same image would look horrible as a framed 8 x 10 picture hanging in your living room. On the other hand, aerial photographs are pristine high resolution pics of just your project that are intended to be blown up large and displayed. The reason for the quality difference is because Google Earth images are taken from thousands of feet above ground level, whereas, aerial pics are usually taken from 1000 feet above ground level.
Angle: Most experienced aerial photographers will take what is called “oblique” aerial photos. This basically means that the shots are taken at a 45 degree angle in relation to subject being photographed. This is what you are paying an aerial photographer for because it gives dimension to your project. The opposite can be said of Google Earth images. Those images are taken straight down which allows for excellent rooftop views but not much of the front and sides.
Clarity: Aerial photographers monitor the weather closely so that the conditions and position of the sun are ideal for producing a clear shot. If the weather is not close to ideal, the aerial photographer can simply schedule the flight for a better day. However, Google Earth images are taken without regard to weather which is why some Google Earth images look better than others. If you play around with Google Earth, you will see that some images are cloudy and others have dark shadows.
Remember if you are looking for real time photographs that can be used as focal points for your home, business or marketing……use an aerial photographer. For everything else, use Google Earth…..it’s free.