How Pole Photography Works

It's All in the Angles!

Point of View + Field of View

It's hard to imagine how being just 16 feet off the ground can make such a HUGE difference in photograph of a home. But real photos and a digram tell the story. The photos below show a home with a ridge behind it. The ridge is about 300 ft higher than the house and about 1000 feet behind it. With the ground level shot, the home completely obscures the hillside, and you have absolutely no idea that the lovely setting is there. By getting the camera up off the ground on a pole just 16 feet, the ridge comes into view as well as the trees. The diagram shows how the angles work, and the photos show the results. So, just a little bit of height can make a huge difference.

If you are photographing homes, then you may have some experience with helicopters. Though helicopters are great, you have to stay above 750 feet typically in residential neighborhoods. This means that to get the same angle as you would from the 16 foot pole in the diagram above, your helicopter would have to be nearly 50x further away. This is shown in the following diagram.

Of course, if you are fifty times further away to get the same photo, then you have to be shooting with a high powered telephoto lens. And, if you decide to get closer, then the picture will change pretty dramatically. In the case of photographing homes, you will end up seeing a lot of roof tops.

Here's an example of a photo of some homes taken from about 800 feet up from a helicopter. As you can see the home does not take up the entire field of view, and a lot of photo is roof tops.
This is why pole photography can give you the best of both worlds for taking photos of homes, people, and events. It gives you the awesome field of view and detail with being close to the subject, but the point of view of being up in a helicopter!