What is aerial photography? A wide variety of aerial photography techniques make it an interesting specialty that professionals utilize for various goals. The practice of taking pictures from a high vantage point, frequently while using an airborne object, such as a rocket, an airplane, a hot air balloon, or more recently, a drone, is known as aerial photography.
You must capture the image using equipment that is not situated on the ground for it to be categorized as an aerial photograph. It also differs from air-to-air photography, in which photographers take pictures of other aircraft or airborne objects.
What is Aerial Photography?
You can snap these pictures by mounting the camera to a platform on an airborne vehicle, such as an airplane, helicopter, hot air balloon, or drone. Photographers have even employed kites with cameras attached to capture images of historical landmarks. The installed camera can then be remotely or automatically triggered. It is also feasible for a photographer to hold the camera while in an airplane or hot air balloon and capture the moment.
Different Kinds of Aerial Photography
While every image shot from an elevation can be categorized as aerial, other kinds of aerial images are distinguished by specific characteristics, such as the camera axis, the image’s scale, and the kind of film used.
According to the camera axis, there are three different kinds of aerial photos: vertical, low oblique, and high oblique. Each type involves tilting the camera to a given degree and covers a specific amount of space. When these considerations are taken into account, the outcome may be stunning.
- Vertical Photographs – Since the camera axis is vertical in this type of image, there is little to no relief and just a limited amount of space is covered. Vertical photographs are frequently utilized in mapping because they produce clear, overhead output.
- Low Oblique Photographs – You have to shift the camera axis by more than three degrees in order to take this kind of picture. In this situation, the final image won’t have the horizon visible, resulting in the image being a little deformed. These images can be used to take close-up pictures that need more detail, such as those for advertisements.
- High Oblique Photographs – In order to cover a greater region and incorporate the horizon in the final image, the camera axis is slanted here by around 60 degrees. This provides you with a better overall perspective of the area, enabling you to recognize geographical features and landmarks.
In general, vertical shots are better for mapping purposes, although they can be more challenging to take in erratic weather circumstances. In contrast, oblique photography is simpler to capture in a wide range of weather situations, which is why most photographers favor it. Oblique pictures are more helpful for topography, geographic surveys, and locating archaeological features since the final images they produce have a larger field of view.
Aerial images can also be divided into two categories based on the scale: large scale and small scale. Similar to photo styles based on axis, the scale can change in sharpness and detail depending on the aircraft’s altitude. In general, images taken at bigger scales cover small areas in more detail than those taken at smaller scales, which cover huge areas in less depth.
- Large Scale Photographs – photos taken from an airplane flying at a lower altitude, which results in a smaller area being captured by the camera but larger-sized items being visible. This kind of image is more suited for measuring precise objects or mapping geographical characteristics. They would more likely be employed for marketing purposes or to take a closer look at a property in order to check for damage or other problems.
- Small Scale Photographs – When the aircraft is flying at a greater altitude, tiny scale images are taken, allowing a bigger area to be covered in a single image. These photographs are regarded as a tiny scale because, despite the wider area covered, the ratio of any items’ size to the ground would be less. A bigger area can be studied using this type of image without the need for detailed mapping or feature measurements.
Aerial photography comes in a variety of styles that vary according to the film used. These include thermal, infrared, color, and panchromatic. Your choice of style will depend on how you want to use the photos.
- Panchromatic Photographs – These are grayscale photos where color is not significant. They are used for scouting or studying maps.
- Color Photographs – Similar to color photographs taken on the ground, color aerial photography can produce images in better depth and be useful for recognizing certain items within a broad region.
- Infrared Photographs – Only infrared energy is captured in these photos, which are typically used to examine flora, water bodies, and other topographical features.
- Color-Infrared Photographs – These are used for mapping, geographic research, and urban photography and combine color and infrared technologies.
- Thermal Infrared Photographs – These photos, which can be utilized for temperature research or mapping, capture infrared energy as well as temperature fluctuations.
- Radar Imagery – Generally used for meteorology and other scientific applications, this collects radar or microwaves.
- Spectra-zonal Images – They serve as mapping tools by capturing portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The various photo kinds can also be combined to create more sophisticated types, such as panoramas, stereo photography, pictometry, and orthophotos, depending on the intended use of the images. These vary depending on the particular methods applied to combine the photographs.
- Panoramas – These bigger images are produced by combining many photos taken from the same location at various angles or from other locations at the same angle.
- Stereo Photography – This is actually a variety of approaches used to produce 3D images from various shots of the same area taken from various locations.
- Pictometry – This method creates one vertical and four low oblique pictures that can be combined using five rigidly mounted cameras.
- Orthophotos – With the help of this method, perspective is taken out of vertical images, and the topography is adjusted. Images produced in this way are frequently used for mapping because they can be more precisely aligned with “real world” coordinates.
Aerial video is obviously a separate category since it uses moving images that can be made more directly for use in advertising and marketing campaigns or that can be produced with metadata included using GPS and synced with video mapping tools.
What Aerial Photography is Used For
One of the earliest types of remote sensing is aerial photography. Even today, it remains one of the more popular and economical ways for this purpose. Traditional photographers employed this technique before the invention of contemporary photographic techniques, among other things for remote sensing.
The quality, resolution, and platforms of contemporary equipment have increased, making this market more affordable and accessible than ever. The applications for this type of photography are numerous. Additionally, because it has been around for a while, it can give us a historical perspective on how the terrain has changed over time.
Map-making is one of the principal applications for vertical aerial photography. Aerial photographers use vertical and oblique images for film production, environmental research, archaeology, power line inspection, oil and gas surveys, surveillance, commercial advertising, and even artistic endeavors.
Different kinds of oblique and vertical pictures can be used to spot oil and gas pipeline breaks, detect water features, and pinpoint archaeological artifacts. Photographers use aerial photos to identify targets during combat. And the applications for this sector are expanding as drone technology progresses.
Comparing Aerial Photography and Satellite Imagery
Despite the fact that the terms are occasionally used interchangeably, aerial photography and satellite imaging are distinct from one another. Numerous tools, including drones, are capable of taking aerial pictures from any altitude. A picture needs to be taken by a device that is orbiting the earth in order to qualify as a satellite image. As a result, satellite photos are rarely employed in the private sector and are often mainly used for weather monitoring and scientific study.
While satellite images and aerial photography are both regarded as types of remote sensing, satellites offer a number of extra uses because of their special positioning far above the planet, such as detecting temperature changes. Obviously, initiatives that require extremely fine imaging or are centered on a smaller area have little practical value for satellite photos.
Issues with Aerial Photography
With the development of technology and the decline in the cost of high-end cameras and UAVs, aerial photos have become an increasingly important component of many types of scientific inquiry. However, the limitations of the medium make it impossible to use for surveying.
While aerial photography is excellent for giving a visual depiction of a place, the accuracy needed to plot precise coordinates, as is required for surveying, is not provided by the medium. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, coordinates can be misplaced or altered even with a vertical aerial image. Fully reliable measurements are difficult to come by since vertical aerial images also don’t accurately depict topography and depth. These problems will appear in images that are totally vertical. Because of this, a single aerial photo will only work if you don’t need to take precise measurements.
You’ll need to incorporate features provided by photogrammetry or another type of data sensor, like LiDAR or multispectral, to create maps that are ready for surveys.
The client’s demands determine the specific type of aerial photography employed for each project. Photos used to advertise a luxury yacht or a piece of real estate would be very different from those used to show the boundaries of a piece of land. An expert aerial photographer can take every detail into account to provide the highest-quality images or videos for each circumstance.
FAQs on What is Aerial Photography
What do you mean by aerial photography?
In its broadest sense, an aerial photo is any photo taken from the air. A highly accurate camera is typically used to take vertical air photographs from an airplane.
What are the characteristics of aerial photography?
(1) The earth’s surface is perpendicular to the lens’s axis. (2) It has a modest area of coverage. (3) A square or rectangle approximates the ground area’s form captured on a single vertical shot. (4) The ground is obscured because it is an aerial view.
What are the types of aerial cameras?
Aerial camera models come in a variety, but the majority can be divided into one of four groups: single-lens, multi-lens, panorama, and strip. The single-lens camera is the most popular among these four varieties for land use planning.