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Top 7 helicopter photography rookie mistakes to avoid

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Helicopter photographs are a great perspective to give your shoot extra pizazz but they are also expensive, so to avoid any mid flight meltdowns let me show you the top 7 tips for helicopter photography success every time.

I have flown in many, many helicopters; sometimes over crocodile infested waterways and other times to places so secret I had to be blindfolded so as not to discover the exact location of my subject!


At around $2000 an hour to hire a helicopter the extra pressure of cost can take your photographic anxiety to a whole new level!


I’m going to make an assumption here that you are commissioning the chopper flight for your shoot as this gives you more creative control rather than tagging along on a tourist group flight - so without further ado;


Top 7 tips for Helicopter Photography success:


1) Confirm if you can remove the chopper door and organise its removal before take off


2) Don’t have any loose clothes or articles on you; especially if the doors are coming off. This could cause an accident and possibly kill all on onboard so to avoid an early death - no scarves, hats, beanies, ponchos, sunnies etc.


3) Have the cameras and lenses sorted (wide and long ) before taking off to avoid having to rummage through your camera bag and have something go flying out accidentally.


4) Shutterspeed is the big secret to success set the Shutter speed high and LEAVE IT only adjust the aperture or ISO. Its a bit of a dance really between shutter and ISO. Helicopters move around A LOT they are really quite bumpy so shutter speed is super important but if shooting at dawn or dusk you are balancing image quality with focus.


5) Use a polariser when flying over the sea and in bright sun.


6) Inside the chopper you will have a voice activated headset – use it! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want to get what you need.


7) Final point – If you get air sick or suffer generally from motion sickness you may want to prepare with your travel sickness medicine of choice beforehand.




Where to from here?

Have you had a good recent #helicopter #shoot? I would love to know!

If you want any trouble shooting tips I'm happy to help. Better to know beforehand than not know up in the air!

You can add tags (#vanessahunterphoto #helicopter #photography #aerial) or post me a comment with photo here. But more I love to see aerials of this amazing planet we all live on!! So go ahead and #helicopter #hashtag away!


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