5 Tips on Shooting from a Helicopter
1. Book the right tour!
Before you even start shooting make sure you book your flight that allows for doors off for photography and film. Some companies even have tours specifically for photographers and allow you to coordinate where you want to go and where the pilot positions the helicopter. Many tours will be quick and you’ll be continuously moving too fast to put your camera out the door.
2. Dress warm
Regardless if it is 90 degrees that day you want to bring a jacket. The rotors on the helicopter and the speed you travel makes it pretty chilly way up there.
3. Bring an extra camera or lens
I always try to bring an extra camera body with me and if I can’t I always have a 16-35 and a 70-200. This allows you to make sure you can get details with a telephoto and get the wide landscape shots as well. Be careful when switching lenses that you are being safe and controlled. Not only can you lose your gear but anything that flies out of the door can hit the back rotor and that means that flight is gonna be cut short.
4. Keep your shutter and focal length in mind
For the most part you are going to be traveling at high speeds and will want a shutter speed that can handle that. Anything from 1/1250 and up will make sure every image is sharp. If you are shooting wide you don’t have to worry as much about a super high shutter as the focal length will compensate a bit. But if you’re shooting with a telephoto that focal length is going to require a faster shutter speed.
5. Enjoy the ride!
This might be the most important tip. You can easily be lost in your viewfinder and always changing settings or looking for a shot. But realize you got the best seat with the best views and live in that moment for a bit and enjoy it. Take a tour with some friends and share the experience. There’s no sense of taking photos if those photos don’t relate to that moment of being up in the sky.