Aerial photography or airborne imagery is the taking of photographs from a flying object such as an aircraft or a drone. Aerial photographs are taken from a lot of different flying objects such as aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, hot air balloons, rockets, etc. There are many ways to take an aerial photograph. Mounted cameras with remote control or timed control are generally used to take airborne images. Aerial photography produces beautiful images of landscapes and is best known for its aesthetic value.
The first known practice of aerial photography is by French balloonist Gaspard-Felix Tournachon known as Nadar, in 1858 over Paris, France. The use of aerial photography increased a lot during World War 1. Surveillance aircraft, or more famously known as reconnaissance aircraft used aerial photography to capture high-level images of opposition countries. This had lead to an epidemic of surveillance and spying by foreign countries all around the world. Germany was the first country to adopt an aerial camera for surveillance in WW1.
The first aerial photography company was Aerofilms Ltd. in the UK. Two world war veterans started it. Since then, many such companies have evolved around the globe and produce stunning pictures for various purposes. Aerial photography has become an art form unto itself over the years and has evolved with modern flying machines such as drones. Nowadays, it is fashionable to take pictures from a drone. Although even now aerial photographs are considered by some countries, they are very less. The International Space Station (ISS) also takes pictures of the earth regularly although not all consider this a part of aerial photography.
Aerial photography is used in cartography to create maps, land-use planning, movie production, surveillance, and many other places. Even in movies, aerial cinematography is used frequently, which is derived from aerial photography. For aerial photography, the lighting must be seen from different angles as there is not much room for control. As aerial photography is done outdoors, the sun is the main source of lighting and it is used accordingly to produce different moods. Aerial photographs are also used for advertisements by various companies.
Aerial photography uses many platforms such as aircraft, remote-controlled model aircraft, UAVs, etc. There have been regulations passed by many countries regarding the usage and capturing of aerial photographs. This is mainly for national security reasons. Since world war 1, the number of regulations on aerial photography has increased drastically as drones taking pictures from the air are frowned upon by the general public. The US, UK, and Australia have strict regulations regarding aerial photography, and many countries have followed their lead. There are different types of aerial photography such as oblique, vertical, panoramas, etc. Aerial videos are more popular nowadays because they are employed in many films and use sophisticated equipment. Aerial photography is still popular all around the world and is known to produce some stunning imagery. It is also handy for mapping and knowing the geographical landscapes of various places.