A scenic tour over a favorite city or landscape is something you will want to remember forever. You will also want to share those memories with friends and followers on social media. You do not have to be a professional to capture high-quality images on your helicopter trip. Buy, borrow, or rent a reliable DSLR camera and follow these tips for a great result.
#1. Prevent Air Sickness
Prepare for motion sickness so you can concentrate on the scenery. Helicopter movements are different from what you will feel in an airplane or an automobile. Stay hydrated, bring peppermints to soothe the stomach, and visit the doctor for an anti-nausea patch. The prescription medication avoids drowsiness and works better than other remedies for some people.
#2. Take Proper Gear
Many people forget to check their camera battery. A fully charged battery and a couple of fresh memory cards will ensure you do not miss any photo opportunities. Bring along a polarizing filter as well. The filter helps to reduce glare when shooting through a window and it can enhance the light in the photos too.
The bumpy and potentially windy ride may make it difficult to keep items secure. A smartphone is too lightweight, and the device could easily slip away. A DSLR is a heavier option that includes a neck strap to keep it more secure. You can also attach hand grips to the camera for even more security. You may also want to attach a strap to the lens cap so it does not bounce or blow away when removed.
Invest in or borrow a zoom lens. The longer focal point enables you to get closer to the scenery. A shorter focal point enables portraits inside the cabin, as well as wider scenic photographs.
#3. Wear Appropriate Clothing
Wear fitted clothing that will not blow around and potentially ruin an otherwise great shot. Dress warmly if the helicopter doors will be off during the trip. Higher elevations are often chilly even on a warm day. Tie back long hair to prevent the distraction of flyaway strands.
#4. Map the Route
Know the route you will take before you leave to become familiar with the sites you want to capture. The familiarity of the trip makes it easier to prepare for the shots you do not want to miss. Relax between the desired locations and take some pictures inside the helicopter.
#5. Remember the People
Aerial scenery is amazing, but the best memories of a trip are of the people that share the experience with you. Get photos of your friends or family, as well as the pilots. Capture as much as possible of the unique background for a special keepsake.
#6. Plan Your Shots
A higher ISO/ASA setting helps to avoid blurry images when movement is impossible to prevent. Do not set it too high or the photos could look grainy. Shutter speeds also affect photo quality. Slower speeds keep the shutter open longer to allow more light in for a better-exposed image. Take a few test shots early in the flight for the perfect setting in the current lighting. Turn off the flash because it will reflect in the windows and is not useful for long-range shots.
You also want to have variety in the shots you take. Rotate the camera so you have images in both portrait and landscape. Set the camera bracketing to take multiple photographs, usually three images, at different exposures. Set the camera settings to continuous shooting so you will have three options for each photo.
Once you have your checklist and plan of action, book your flight. At Lite Flight, we offer chartered helicopter flights and tours over the most desirable locations in Los Angeles. If you want a flight geared for aerial photography, we offer that option as well. Contact us to learn more or to schedule your trip.