How Has Aerial Photography Changed Through The Years – Remote Pilot 101

So aerial photography actually
dates back to around 1860, when the first surviving aerial photo
was taken from a hot air balloon over at Boston. Ever since then, we’ve looked for
innovative and new ways to get our cameras up in the air. Hey, everyone! Jason Schappert here of with another little sUAS update and just some great insights
into aerial photography. Today, we’re going to start by looking at
how far, honestly, aerial photography has come and what you want to look for
if drone photography or photography with your drone
is your main goal. Techniques for great drone photography, some results as well, and what some of the best drone
photographers out there are actually up to. One of the biggest appeals to drones
is their ability to give us a bird’s-eye view of the world without the
high cost associated with flying, say, a helicopter or an airplane. But how did we even get here to start? So after the photo taken of Boston
from a hot air balloon, hot air balloon photography quickly gained the
interest of the Union Army to actually spy on Confederate troops in 1862. Aerial photography continued to evolve
with kites developed to hold photography equipment. And in 1882, a meteorologist
managed to use a slow burning fuse to propel a kite
through the air and take photos. The next big leap in technology,
came in 1907, when the Germans started using pigeons to carry cameras. The Pigeon Corps, it was called and assisted the Bavarian soldiers with intelligence collection. Aerial photography then grew leaps and bounds during the World Wars 1 and 2, driving a
need for better quality photography equipment. Smaller, faster planes employed for
surveillance meant that photographs need to be taken at higher
altitudes and at faster speeds. By the mid-1940s, a sub-orbital rocket
took a photo 65 miles from Earth. By the 1960s, we had
a view of Earth from the moon. Now, we can’t get our drones up more than 400 feet AGL or 400 feet from a structure here in the United States. But the views we still have
from our drones are stunning our friends, certainly on social media,
adding new dimensions to visual storytelling. Let’s dive into what it takes to
get those eye-catching images that are helping change
the way we see the world. So what should a photographer
look for when selecting a drone? There are many different technical
specifications to choose from. We’re going to focus on
three things to consider. Image quality, portability and cost. If you have other things to
look for you want to share, please let us know in the comments. You can make an exhaustive list
in the comments if you so desire. My personal favorite though
for drone photography right now is the DJI Mavic 2 Pro because it has one of the larger sensors, it travels very well and is fairly friendly for a pro-quality tool when it comes to price-wise. Now, we also fly with an Inspire 2
like you see back there, but we usually have to
send a full team into the field in order to actually use it. We’ll have an operator working the controls, a couple of visual observers, a director of photography will operate
the cameras on the second remote. There’s a lot of coordination
to film with our Inspire 2. Now, talking about quality. Sensor quality is going to be
a key factor in determining what your image quality
will actually look like. Larger sensors have greater capability
and will get you a higher resolution image, depending on how sharp of
an image you wish to capture. A sensor may or may not have
a significant impact on the results you’re striving for. Now, many sensors in drone cameras
are now about roughly one inch. Image resolution or how many pixels
you can fit into a frame is also worth considering. Your photography goals may be
satisfied actually with lower resolution. It just depends on what you wish to accomplish. Now, just as important as resolution
is the format of the file. Raw images are much more flexible than
highly-compressed images like a JPEG, for example here. Depending again on what you wish
to do with your drone photography, portability will also affect whether
you can take your drone with you and what you want to do. If you’re taking a commercial flight
somewhere and are limited by luggage size, an 11-pound drone may not be the
best choice for your drone photography. Trust me. We’ve carried this on an air … checked this on an airliner before
in a big Pelican case and everything else. It’s not the easiest of travelers,
just to be honest with you. Grabbing that Mavic Pro makes life
just so much easier because it can fit in a suitcase. Now, beyond technical specifications,
perhaps the leading factor in determining what kind of drone
is right for you is honestly, what can we afford? Now, you can step up to a heavy lift drone
carrying a medium-format Hasselblad shooting 100-megapixel stills for
about the cost of a small condominium. But that’s if budget is
truly of no concern here. So there are plenty of small,
affordable drones out there that can be fun, but don’t offer
what some of the higher-cost drones do like longer flight time, higher image quality. As a drone photographer,
you want to bring back great results. The rules of photography
apply to drone photography. So consider the rule of thirds
as you frame shots to add visual interest and adjust variable settings for the
conditions that you’re actually shooting. Timing your shoots during golden hour
when the world gets gold, rosy lights that makes the images glow,
can enrich the colors that you capture. Typically, this is the last 45 minutes
before sunset and after sunrise. Beyond the basics, one tool that can help you identify
great locations is actually Google Earth. Scope out places with interesting
texture, symmetry or contrast. Perhaps one of the best features of
drone photography is that you can take a bird’s-eye view shot where the camera on
the drone can point actually straight down. This perspective really shows why
drone photography can be so attractive. It’s a new angle that we wouldn’t get
or couldn’t get regularly with most of our photography
that was done from the ground or even an airplane, honestly. Now, one way to improve your
skills at anything is to look at what people are already doing well. Drone photography has been around a
long enough time that we have the drone equivalent of the Oscars,
the Drone Awards which started in 2018 And of course, if we’re talking about
photography, we can’t leave out Instagram. The top three drone hashtags are of course,
all drone related, followed by #dji and #dronephotography. The fourth most popular drone hashtag is #dronestagram, which is also a website where people upload
their drone photos and have them rated. Photography is certainly one of the most
compelling aspects of flying drones. They give us this perspective that is just
so different than what we could accomplish on the ground. We hope at RemotePilot101 that this video
gives you some history on how far we’ve come since 1860, a look at the
tools out there to get you started, some techniques to keep in mind and really,
taking inspiration from the folks who are out there wowing us all. So I would love to see
some of your photography. Let us know and post the links
or if it’s on Facebook, post it directly right there
in the comments. We’d love to take a look at it. Listen, enjoy the rest of your day. Remote Pilots, thank you for making
RemotePilot101 the most popular Part 107 course on the market. Can’t wait to read your comments. We’ll see you. RemotePilot101 is the most successful Part 107 test prep course
on the market with over 18,000 tests passed. It’s one price and you get our
updated initial and brand-new recurrent course for life. It’s two courses for the price
of one and it’s for life. See the actual test questions,
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13 Replies to “How Has Aerial Photography Changed Through The Years – Remote Pilot 101”

  1. Thank you for this informative video, Jason 🙂
    Here a phone I used Mavic 2 Pro:

  2. RAW format often offers higher bit value images which means more color gradations between full value and no value in each RGB channel. 8-bit means 256 colors between 0-255 in each channel or 16 million+ individual colors. In 10-bit color you are over 1 billion individual colors.

  3. I'm still learning, I started a year ago & got hooked quickly!
    My wife gifted me with Remote Pilot 101 for Christmas to study for my 107. Here's the link to our channel. ..

  4. New Company and New Student. Coming from the world of FPV, finally saved to add the Phantom 4Pro V2 to my fleet of tools to capture this beautiful planet. Possibly an Inspire but I really believe with my FPV rig and the Phantom I should have the tools to start up gigs eventually. But for now it’s just build a bit of a portfolio and start up some free gigs to get my name out. Any advice for someone starting new to commercial?

  5. Hi Jason, this is a nice little history lesson and drone photo and videography info. I love the perspective from above. I actually feel best images are below 250' AGL. Above that, it's like looking at Google Earth. My go to drone is the DJI P4p because it has the 1 inch sensor but has the mechanical shutter. Of course I am talking about prosumer drones and not the $100K drones that Trent Palmer flies. Thanks for sharing this Jason. I have lots of videos in the pipeline. I wish I could share a drone shoot where I did flight from inside a Pratt& Whitney Hanger for Collins Aerospace but its proprietary.

  6. This was inspiring (no pun intended) By profession I've been a videographer all my life. My interest in drones was initially a wish to shoot video from another physical perspective. I approached the drone as a boom or crane extension for my video camera and nothing more. It wasn't until I began noodling around with RAW photo files that I discovered aerial photography as anything more than an industrial art for real estate. Thanks for giving viewers an historic perspective to our hobby and for some our livelihood.
    Hopefully this will motivate drone enthusiasts to respond to the FAA request for comments on NPRM FAA-2019-1100 and rally in order to preserve our access to the skies in the future

  7. I shot this with a Phantom 3.

    I just upgraded to a Mavic Pro 2 and looking forward to the work that lies ahead and what I may capture.

  8. Thanks for this very informative video and I’m so looking forward to purchasing the part 107 study guides from remote pilot 101 actually my wife is getting it for my birthday. Thanks again have a great day.

  9. Great video, Jason! Looking forward to flying my Inspire 2. It is very high end for entry, but I am using our drone purely for scientific research. We will be monitoring nest contents of egrets and herons and documenting the locations of foraging birds on the ground in wetlands/lakes/rivers. Cheers, John

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