Aerial Photos - Cool!

A Different Perspective!

Show surroundings in architecture, or get above the crowd.

There are many ways to get your camera up in the air and above the crowd. Many people have been using poles, kites, balloons, and remotely piloted vehicles. Over the years, we've tried almost all of them, and now we take 99% of our aerial photos with the Pole Pixie and our poles. Reason: Poles offer the greatest balance of of cost, photographic control, and ease of use. Here's a comparison grid based on our experience:
TypeBenefitLimit
Pole PhotographyLess than $100 cost, easy to set up and adjust, easy to use, flexible location, can handle DSLR cameras, easy to control, slow exposures possible, high safety factorGenerally limited to less than 35 feet without support systems (e.g., car mounts, large tripods, support wires, etc.).
Kite PhotographyCan lift camera several hundred feet, can shoot straight down, great for open spacesRequires steady breeze, must have kite with good lift, hard for precise neighborhood shots, more setup/takedown time
Balloon PhotographyCan lift camera many hundreds of feet, can shoot straight down, can carry heavy camerasExpensive equipment, expensive to operate, more setup/takedown time, possible HOA issues in some neighborhoods, affected by wind, precise photography requires remote monitoring/control equipment
Remotely controlled
helicopters
Flexible camera positioning, great height rangeExpensive equipment, possibly dangerous except in hands of skilled pilot, camera weight limits, windy area limitations, limited flight times for battery powered units
Remotely controlled
blimps
Flexible camera positioning, great height range, safe for people & propertySlow moving, camera weight and quality limits, windy area limitations, somewhat expensive
Photography from
helicopters/planes
Excellent camera control, very easy b/c photographer just takes photos, safe, high altitudes possibleExpensive hourly rates, no low altitudes in neighborhoods, requires good telephoto lenses, photos of homes can show a lot of roof
If you are surveying land or conducting a scientific biodiversity grid study, balloons or kites might be the best solution. But if you are taking photos in crowded places like neighborhoods, then poles are probably the best fit. Pole photography also has very fast setup and takedown times, meaning that time/labor cost is reduced. Overall, pole photography is flexible and low cost, lending itself to many applications both outside and indoors. Within the realm of pole photography, there are many kinds of poles, including carp fishing poles, painter's poles, linesman's poles, and specialized tripod-mounted and car-mounted telescoping poles. For more information on why painter's poles work so well, see our page on Why Painter's Poles.
 
Pole photo of Standley Park Tot Lot from Painter's Pole
Pole photograph of Seaside Market in Cardiff California