Aerial photography is one of the most specialised forms of commercial photography and, as such, requires high quality photography courses or degrees from schools in Perth to become a professional. Aerial photography is pretty much as it sounds; it’s taking pictures from an aerial position, usually airplanes and helicopters but also hot air balloons, parachutes, cranes and poles. Aerial photography is used in several fields, including construction, real estate, surveillance, cartography, movie production and weather and environmental studies, not to mention art. Even paparazzi use aerial photography to grab pictures of celebrity weddings and supposedly restricted events in Perth.
Professional aerial photographers seem to favour taking photos from helicopters rather than planes because helicopters can fly lower, the doors open and there are no wings to get in the way. That’s not to say that planes don’t have their place, but it depends entirely on the type of photos you’re after. If you need to get photos of real estate property, construction sites or fish swimming off the coast of Perth then photography courses recommend using a helicopter. An important benefit is that helicopters can hover if required.
For cartography purposes or any other situation where being above, say, 1000 feet isn’t an issue then an airplane is the way to go. Bear in mind that the type of plane you choose will affect the quality of your photos. You need a plane that is relatively slow and that has windows that won’t have too great an impact on your photos. Philip Greenspun recommends high-wing Cessnas, especially as they have wide windows that you can open.
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If you’re a commercial photographer and a developer hires you take photos of a new real estate project in Perth you can’t wait around for weather conditions that are best suited to aerial photography, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have some control over your photos. Choose a time of day when the sun is less likely to cause glare, this usually rules out midday and sunrise and sunset. Sometimes all that’s required, however, is a stark picture of progress, in which case it doesn’t matter if you go out in the middle of the day.
For artistic photos though, you want to avoid absolute brightness. In this case, semi-overcast conditions might also be in your favour as the clouds cut glare and can provide interesting shadows, contrasts and shapes.
Photography courses will tell you what camera equipment is best for taking photos of Perth’s skyline, its landscape, its sports events and its oceans, depending on the time of day, light, season and location (helicopter, plane, crane, etc). For example, photography courses will include information on which lenses to use, whether film or digital cameras are best, and whether you need gyro mounts or filters to best capture the essence of Perth from the air.
If you’re not yet a professional photographer but are looking to open your own studio and establish a flourishing career you can join the Perth Centre for Photography, which was started to promote and support photo art in Western Australia via exhibitions, shows and competitions. The Perth Centre for Photography also offers workshops and seminars as ongoing education and development that will add to and complement any photography courses for which you may be registered.
You might also want to consider joining various photography clubs in Perth so you can network with fellow aerial photographers as well as other professionals, such as wedding or portrait (family, schools, corporate, newborn and children) photographers who will be able to provide you with life lessons that you won’t get from any formal courses.
TafeCourses.com.au offers a range of photography courses in Perth, including short courses, online courses and classes for professional photographers and hobbyists who just like taking landscape photos.