Basics to Aerial Photography by Toby Harriman


One of the first things to consider when booking an aerial experience is the planning that goes into your flight. There are lots of things to think about.

From what type of light you want to capture, what time of day you want to fly, what camera, what lenses will be the best fit and even what you wear, especially if you are shooting with the doors-off. When working in urban environments, like San Francisco or any city for that matter, I personally tend to lean towards booking a custom doors-off helicopter experience with a local provider.

Over this guide I will go over the basics to help get you started and better your aerial photography experience. This is a guide to help you get started and are just my personal recommendations from what I have learned over many hours of flying and shooting.


Knowing what type of budget you have, will be extremely helpful when choosing your helicopter or airplane package.

When I am flying by myself I tend to book a Robinson R22. It’s a two seater (Pilot + 1 Passenger) and will be the most cost effective helicopter when flying solo. Booking a Robinson R44 however, gives you four seats (1 Pilot + 3 Passengers) which can also be cost effective as it will allow you you split the helicopter cost 3 ways. Beyond those two helicop