Photography Cheat Sheet: Capturing the City from Above

Been wanting to get into aerial photography but aren’t sure where to begin? We have a quick photography cheat sheet just for you.

Aerial photography has become one of the most popular photography genres as of late, thanks to the widespread availability of drone cameras. With the latest innovations in drone photography, aspiring aerial photographers and videographers can now create stunning, pro-quality photos and footage. But, as with all kinds of photography, it can be confusing for beginners to figure out what camera settings to use. Today’s photography cheat sheet addresses just that.

The cheat sheet below, by Digital Camera World, is a quick and simple guide to the camera settings beginners can start with while familiarizing themselves with the craft. It works for both drone cameras or photography aboard a helicopter, making it a handy resource for those who want to try both approaches to aerial photography.

Shooting aerial photos for the first time? Try the settings recommended in the cheat sheet above. For the exposure mode, set your camera to Aperture Priority so your camera will choose the shutter speed for you. For the AF setting, choose Single Point, and for the aperture, set it to f8. Finally, use a standard lens of around 50mm and you’re all set.

The cheat sheet also includes a bunch of simple tips to make sure you get the best shots possible. Make sure you get as high as possible to capture sweeping views, with the camera angled down at 90 degrees for a nice bird’s eye view. Also, the time of the day you shoot will affect your results. Shooting during the midday sun will produce a flat-looking image, but if that’s your intended look, it’s totally fine. You should be able to capture some clean and straightforward shapes and patterns with that look. But, if you want to play with some shadows and perspectives, it’s best to do it during the Golden Hour – early and late in the day.

We also recommend checking out the works of some talented aerial photographers to provide some ideas and inspire your next practice.

Meanwhile, if you need more photography tips and tricks like this, go ahead and check out our growing collection of photography cheat sheets!