The History, Present and Future of Aerial Photography in India and The Rest of The World

Aerial Photography refers to capturing shots with the help of an airborne camera. A sea change has been witnessed in the field of Aerial Photography during the course of over 14 decades of its glorious history. Back in 1858, a French photographer named Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, for the very first time, succeeded in carrying out a session of Aerial Photography with the help of a hot air balloon tethered at the height of 80 meters. Unfortunately, none of those priceless shots has survived to this day. Two years later, in 1860, Samuel Archer King and Wallace Black captured Boston from a height of 630 meters. Fortunately, this aerial photo has survived, and it now goes by the name of Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It.

Initially, Aerial Photography was carried out with the help of pigeons, kites rockets and balloons. In 1897, Alfred Nobel became the first human being in the world to succeed in capturing an aerial photo with the help of a rocket-mounted camera. Nine years later, in 1906, George Lawrence captured San Francisco before and after the infamous earthquake. Lawrence succeeded in carrying out this session of Aerial Photography with the help of a 49-pound camera mounted to the height of 2000 feet with the help of a train of as many as nine kites. L.P. Bonvillan, in 1908, captured the very first aerial photo from an airplane. During the first World War, detailed maps were prepared with the help of Aerial Photography.

Fortunately, the professionals did not take a long time in making pigeons obsolete in this regard, but the use of kites and balloons for mounting the camera to the desired height continued, and a few professionals still use it for the same purpose. However, manned planes and drones, these days, are the most popular carriers of aerial cameras.

Drones are preferred by most of the professionals over their manned counterparts owing to the ability of the former to capture equally good shots without involving a whopping amount of money.

The lighting conditions in the area that needs to be captured with the help of a drone should be perfect. In this context, ‘perfect’ refers to reasonable light. Contrary to popular belief, too much of sunshine isn’t healthy for drone photography. According to most of the professionals, the best time for carrying out Drone Photography is just before the sunset. The quality of the concerned lens should be superlative since it invariably plays a vital role in deciding the fate of each and every aerial shot. It is highly recommended to refrain from using drones for photography on days when it’s raining, snowing or windy out there no matter how advanced the concerned drone may be since the results will, almost always, be disappointing.

Drones are popular not only popular because of the reasonable cost involved with them but also because of their versatility. The duration for which a drone can stay airborne varies from model to model, and a drone either comes bundled with or without a built-in camera. So, coming across a drone that fits the bill no matter how specific the need may be is always easy.

The use of gimbals in drone photography is recommended since they enable the drone-mounted camera to capture stable footage. These days, there is no dearth of drones that can capture footage in 4K and this is one of the reasons why the concerned shots are detailed in nature.

These days, filmmakers in all parts of the world have started to use drones for capturing stunning footage that looks great on the big screen. So, the reliance on land-based cameras has now started to witness a decline in filmmaking that isn’t drastic, but reasonable won’t be an inappropriate word to use for the same. Such a decline is also being witnessed in many other fields.

One of the most important applications of Aerial Photography is in the field of Disaster Management. Drones can easily capture clear footage of any area that is difficult to access via foot. The same drones also facilitate the rescue operations by capturing the areas that are severely hit by natural disasters like earthquake and flood. Drones, these days, are also being used for monitoring the construction of any illegal structure to ensure that they can be demolished as soon as possible.

Most of the builders in all parts of the world have started to use drones for coming across the most conducive sites for carrying out the intended construction.

For carrying out Aerial Photography in any part of the world, you need to comply with the guidelines laid down by the concerned authority and India is no exception to this fact.

The most important guidelines laid down by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for carrying out Aerial Photography in India are as follows:

1: A drone flying in India needs to stay in the Visual Line of Sight.

2: Drones in India are prohibited from flying in controlled airspace.

3: It is mandatory for all the operators in India who want to fly a drone at/above 200 feet above ground level in the uncontrolled airspace to have an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit issued by DGCA.

4: A drone flying in India should have a Unique Identification Number issued by DGCA.

Visit the official website of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to make yourself aware of all the concerned guidelines in detail.

For carrying out Aerial Photography in Australia, the operators need to have a certificate as well as a license issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. In Australia, drones that weigh under 2 kilogramme can be used for commercial reasons.

In the United States of America, the Federal Aviation Administration only allows the operators who are licensed pilots to fly a drone. The operators should always keep the drone in the Visual Line of sight and ensure that everyone in America stays unharmed with such operations. Visit the official website of the Federal Aviation Administration to acquire the awareness of the detailed guidelines.

The United Kingdom is considering to come up with reasonable laws for the individuals who wish to carry out Aerial Photography, but as of now, there are just a few guidelines that need to be complied with for carrying out the same. Currently, anyone in the UK can buy and fly a drone that weighs less than 20 Kilogramme. The drone should always be in the Visual Line of Sight that refers to the height of 400 meters. For flying a drone beyond the 400-metre mark, the operators need to have the formal permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. The drone should maintain a distance of at least 150 meters from any area that is flooded with people. A drone in the UK can’t be used for commercial purposes. Visit the official website of the Civil Aviation Authority to know about all the guidelines in detail.

In Ireland, the operators need to register all the drones weighing over 1 Kg with the Irish Aviation Authority. While flying, all the drones in Ireland should always maintain a distance of at least 5 Kilometres from each and every aerodrome. A drone is prohibited from flying in a civil airspace or an airspace controlled by the military. Visit the official website of the Irish Aviation Authority to know about all the guidelines in detail.

In India, Aerial Photography doesn’t date back to many years in the past, and therefore, it isn’t as popular as it is in a few other parts of the world, but the awareness of this acclaimed method of capturing shots is now spreading at a gradual pace. A considerable number of Indians have now realised that Aerial Photography is better than its land-based counterpart in many ways and this is the reason why they are now more interested in the former than the latter.

Aerial Photography is playing an important role in the growth of India’s tourism sector by tempting millions of people across the globe to pay a visit to a large number of monuments, shrines and many other tourist destinations in India at least once. The growth of India’s real estate sector also owes a lot to the impressive shots captured through drone-mounted cameras since they have proved to be successful in encouraging the potential buyers towards the piece of land that has been put on sale.

An impressive number of business houses across India have now started to use the aerial footage for advertising their products and services, and they are happy with the results.

Aerial Photography in India is expected to witness a surge in the number of takers in the future because the number of service providers in the concerned field is increasing and consequently, the cost of availing Aerial Photography services is expected to come down to the point when most of the Indians will call it affordable. Currently, despite being interested, a lot of Indians can’t afford to opt for Aerial Photography.

7 Great Benefits Of Using Photo Effects

A lot of people don’t agree with the use of photo effects, but even the most renowned specialists know that there are photo-shots that absolutely need such effects. The idea is not to completely change the photo-shot, but to add an element, remove an element or highlight one in order to transform a very good photo into a perfect one. Here are 7 reasons why the use of photo effects is a good idea.

1. By using some cool photo effects, the photo will be enhanced.

Every photograph lover can be described as being a perfectionist. You can’t be a photograph lover if you are not a perfectionist, so there always is a small detail that doesn’t look good in your vision and that you want to change. In order to do this, you have dozens and dozens of effects to your photos, so start using them. They’ll help you be proud of your work by helping you enhance the photos you so much love.

2. The errors can be concealed

It is a pity to waste an excellent photo-shot just because it has a small error. Those who choose to add effects to photos can remove the error and can make the photo look much better than it did at the beginning. By concealing the area in the photo that doesn’t look too good, you can cheat the eye and impress people with a photo that is as real as possible, but that had a small error that was preventing the image from being perfect.

3. The cool photo effects can emphasize the subject

Every photo has a subject and there are numerous cases in which that photo would look much better with a more highlighted focusing on that subject. By using certain photo effects, the focusing can easily be obtained. The subject won’t be ruined and it won’t be changed, so there are no reasons for ignoring the effects.

4. The photo effects can give a photo-shot a special touch

When you take photos out of pure passion and when you want to use them in order to transmit a message to the world, you need that special touch that will impress the viewer. This is the reason why using the photo effects is such a good idea: they can help you obtain that unique and original touch that will surely impress the people who will see your image.

5. The photo will look professional

By adding, removing or highlighting certain elements, the photo will look professional. All those who make a living by taking image use special photo effects.

6. A simple photo is transformed into an art work

The role of image effects is to transform simple photos into art works. A splendid shoot can be transformed into a unique work of art and the photographer can gain a lot of popularity thanks to this.

7. The effects offer added beauty

A simple photo has the power to tell a story, but the story can be more interesting, exciting or dramatic thanks to the effects used.

Wedding Photography Lenses That Every Photographer Can’t Do Without

There are generally four kinds of photography lenses that every wedding photographer should have in his or her gig bag:

  • Wide-Angle Zoom
  • Wide-to-Telephoto Zoom
  • Image-Stabilized Telephoto Zoom
  • Prime/Portrait Lenses

Wide-Angle Zoom

Wide-angle zoom lenses are one of the most important photography lenses that every wedding photographer should have, typically 17mm to 35mm in length with a fixed aperture of f/2.8. They provide a large depth of field, making it simple to have foreground and background in focus. They are an indispensable wedding photography equipment which allows versatility in confined areas such as a small banquet room or crowded dance floor. While shorter photography lenses allow you to capture more details, wide-angle zoom lenses allow you to capture more reactions and atmosphere to tell a richer story.

To elaborate further, wide-angle zoom photography lenses allow you to shoot a wider perspective of moments happening around the major subject, hence providing a bigger picture of the entire event. For example, wide-angle photos have the capability to tell “stories within a story”, allowing you to reveal more of the story behind the shot. This is essential for a good photojournalistic wedding photography. As events surrounding weddings are so time sensitive, good photography lenses will allow you to capture as many actions or emotions in the quickest time as possible.

When used in a venue such as the church or ballroom, wide-angle zoom photography lenses also magnify the grandeur and spaciousness of the area, which encapsulates the creative feel for a photojournalistic wedding photography.

However, you need to be selective of the scenes or actions using wide-angle photography lenses, as a caveat to shooting wide is that it creates some body distortion, particularly when a subject is photographed close-up. Generally, people tend to look heavier and shorter on the edges, while arms can look huge. The last thing you want is to have the bride cursing you for making her look like she has put on 10 pounds! To get around this problem, you should as far as possible avoid putting the bride and groom at the edges of the wide-angle distortion. In addition, wide-angle photography lenses might also introduce distracting or unwanted elements into the frame, which would otherwise ruin a picture perfect moment.

Wide-to-Telephoto Zoom

Wide-to-telephoto lenses are the single most important photography lenses that a wedding photographer cannot do without. They should ideally be lenses that cover somewhere around the 20-70mm focal length range with an aperture of f/2.8. This ideal range lets you get wide enough to take a group photograph and close enough to capture facial emotions in your candid shots or a three-quarter portrait of a couple without the undesirable effects of wide-angle perspective distortion. They also double as good lenses for portraits. Given just this lens, you would be able to capture most of the shots needed for a wedding decently well.

Image-Stabilized Telephoto Zoom

Image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses are also essential items in your wedding photography equipment checklist. The 70-200mm focal length is an important range for wedding ceremony photos. It allows you to give your subjects more space in situations where you don’t want to get in the way. As you will often be photographing down the aisle from the back of the church, image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses will come in very handy. 200mm is long enough to be able to take 3/4 length images of the bride and groom exchanging their vows while staying at a reasonable distance away from the action and 70mm is wide enough to take in the bridesmaids or groomsmen as a group without switching photography lenses.

A good point to note is that when using such photography lenses, nice blurred background can be achieved with maximum wide apertures of f/2.8 and long focal lengths of 200mm or 300mm, whether you are using a full-frame or a small sensor body. This allows you to isolate the subject from its background, and to focus attention on the image as the main subject you want to portray. Such photography lenses are especially useful for shots where you are unable to get in close and for intimate and private moments, where you want to be an unobserved stranger at a distance. Some examples include a stolen glance, a mischievous grin, a kiss – the details that are effectively conveyed by the emotions. Image-stabilized telephoto zoom photography lenses hence play an important role in capturing such moments.

These image-stabilized telephoto zoom photography lenses aren’t only good for blurry backgrounds or shooting events from a distance. They could also be used to photograph stunning facial close-ups from creative angles above or below the subject that don’t exhibit the normal distortions of large chins or shrinking heads that come from wider photography lenses.

Yet another advantage of such photography lenses is that you can use the small-sensor camera’s 1.5x crop factor to your favour. The 200/2.8 long end of the standard zoom effectively becomes 300/2.8, a lens that would cost $4000 for a full-frame camera. The effective 300mm length allows for more creative photo angles than shorter photography lenses, such as tightly cropped images of the groom’s hands lifting the bride’s veil or the bride and groom’s hands while they put rings on each others fingers.

The obvious disadvantage of image-stabilized telephoto zooms is that in many cases, long photography lenses tend to disconnect the subject from the main scene and there might be little to no context as to why the subject may have had expressed how they were feeling, the whereabouts of the subject and who else was there.

When using a small-sensor camera as your primary or backup body, the other disadvantage of image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses is that neither Nikon, Canon or Sony make an f/2.8 lens that gives you an effective 70-200mm focal length. Hence, you would have to pay the high price and carry the weight of photography lenses designed for a full-frame camera.

Canon’s Image-Stabilization, Nikon’s Vibration-Reduction and Sony’s SteadyShot INSIDE systems are indispensable in allowing you to hand-hold these large and heavy long photography lenses, especially in low light situations. Every wedding photographer should ensure that the image-stablization and vibration-reduction features are available on their long lenses. You might also want to consider using a tripod to ensure continuous, accurate subject placement and sharp photos. Such telephoto zoom photography lenses are huge investments and if you have a budget constraint or an amateur just starting out, you might want to consider rental instead.

Prime Lenses

Prime lenses are essentially photography lenses with fixed focal lengths, as opposed to zoom lenses, which have variable focal lengths of say 24-70mm or 17-55mm. Prime lenses generally have a better optical quality than zoom photography lenses, and usually come with wider maximum apertures such as f/2.8 or f/1.8.

Good prime lenses are must-have photography lenses for any wedding photographer, as they are excellent for taking good portraits. Although you will be adequately equipped for a wedding shoot with the three zoom lenses in your lens kit as discussed above, it is worth including two to three fast prime lenses in your bag as well. These photography lenses are compact, light, and fairly inexpensive and would probably be needed in about 10 to 20% of a wedding shoot.

Faster prime photography lenses are ideal in situations where f/2.8 aperture is not enough to get the motion-stopping shutter speed or shallow depth of field desired, whether for artistic or technical reasons. For example, an image that requires a 1/20th of a second shutter speed at f/2.8 will only require 1/60th of a second at f/1.8, forming a distinction between a sharp image and a blurry one. Many professional wedding photographers actually include prime lenses in their gig bags as an economical backup to their zoom lenses. Not many people could afford to purchase an additional 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens as a backup and you also want to prevent a frantic situation whereby your photography lens fails on you during a crucial moment.

There are many prime lenses available on the market but most photographers would include a 28/1.8, 50/1.8, and 85/1.8 in their prime photography lenses kit to be used on a full-frame body. The 28mm is wide enough to cover most ceremony locations and confined spaces, the 50mm is good for small groups or a priest blessing a couple, and the 85mm is long enough for ceremony vows and exchange of rings. A wedding can be successfully photographed with just these three photography lenses.