Of all the elements that make up a great photograph, lighting is probably the most important. Especially in aerial photography.
Like event booking, coordinating an aerial photo shoot can be very stressful if you’re not properly prepared. Often times, weather and time of day can really spoil your chances at a great photographic opportunity. The following guidelines cover the best possible time for booking your next aerial photo shoots to ensure a high return on investment.
Climate Alters Aerial Photos
Arizona is extremely fortunate that we have a higher average of sunny, nice days for flying aerial photo missions than other areas around the country. However, predicting weather for a photo flight is not always easy. Summer is definitely Phoenix’s most unpredictable time of year and creates the most challenges for the pilot and photographer alike.
With outdoor photography, you are completely reliant on natural light. Without the right quality of light, you run the risk of flat and dull imagery. The time of day and angle of the sun can dramatically affect the quality of your aerial photos. The Golden Hours, which are around sunrise and sunset, remain the best time of day to capture epic aerial photos.
The light at these hours is often times softer and diffused. This softening produces less contrast and longer shadows, which accentuate the details of the ground and add depth to the image. Whereas extreme contrasts that occur with midday sun can create blown-out highlights and harsh shadows over your target subject.
During the Arizona summer monsoon season, planning early morning photo shoots can be challenging. With re-developing storms and high winds, the turbulence created during these storm conditions impacts the ability to capture the image, as well as the best vehicle for the photo flight. Fixed-wing airplanes and drones are more vulnerable to high wind conditions than helicopters so an aerial photographer must plan ahead and stay flexible.
In other areas of the country, no other season has a greater dramatic impact on aerial photographs than winter. Winter is deemed the golden season to take aerial photographs. The cold of winter creates crystalline skies and an unmatched clarity in photos.
After all, image noise decreases with decreasing temperatures. Noise is a random variation of image density, and every camera has a built in image noise reduction system. The amount of image noise is very important if you are planning to take photos that will be printed and enlarged. The presence of noise gives an image an uneven grainy look; so the more noise you have the less detail of a photo.
When it’s cold, you not only have less noise, but less water vapor, meaning less haze. Less haze means more flight visibility. A thick haze, in contrast, can lead to flight delays and/or cancellation, which can be devastating to mega-projects with tight deadlines. Low haze also provides less obstruction between the camera lens and your subject. The clearest conditions are usually right after the rain stops. All of the colors and textures seem richer, city lights and streets are amazing, and gray skies provide a dramatic background for pictures.
Additionally, the water table of most soils generally rises in winter, which promotes shallow root growth. The shallow soil levels create a contrast in tones, making features beneath the surface appear darker and ground features easier to spot. Objects also cast much longer shadows in winter. Together, these conditions help emphasize land ridges, hills and valleys, truly making land features pop through the camera lens.
However, there is no substitute for the amazing backdrops and long hours of light provided by summer.
Handling unpredictable weather and adapting to time shifts
Aerial photography requires an incredible amount of attention to detail just like a project plan timeline. To ensure your photo session goes smoothly and to avoid flight delays, plan locations ahead of time. With advance planning, your professional aerial photographer will help you navigate Mother Nature’s unpredictability to capture eye-catching aerial photographs.
At Desert View Aerial Photography, we are well versed in meteorological methods and have the tools needed to make a good forecast. We can help you plan around high ROI projects to guarantee you book the most optimal flight time and date. Using a creative brief, we can align your business objectives with our creative strategy to maximize the exact purpose of your photos. We will let you know the many elements to an aerial survey that must be considered to ensure no features are missed and each photo taken serves as excellent data source for your project. Elevate your marketing, make the switch to Desert View Aerial Photography.