While you’re flying high on your personal tour of the clouds above the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, you’ll want to make sure to check off one crucial to do: capturing the best possible photo for marking the occasion on Instagram.

There can be a lot of added variables than make your Instagram game harder to nail. The wind can whip loose hair or clothing in your face, the noise of the chopper blades can distract or you might simply come underprepared.

Whether you plan to immortalize your helicopter tour with a smartphone or want to bring a quality camera rig out for a commercial shoot, here are a few suggestions for taking your best shot from the seat of a helicopter.

 

Dress Secure

Clothing suggestions might seem strange when you’re planning pictures, but we’ve already shared a key reason why this is so important: loose hoods, straps or scarves can blow in the way of your perfect shot at exactly the wrong moment.

Wear form-fitting layers without a lot of extra cloth (we talked a little about this in our Primer for First Time Helicopter Passengers).

Also be aware that you’ll want to keep any photography device, whether it’s your phone or a DSLR, secured to yourself as well as possible. Consider using a pop-socket on your phone, and for cameras, keep that strap settled firmly around your neck.

 

Plan Your Shots

Part of success is envisioning what you want ahead of time. Do you want mostly landscapes? Direct shots down? Pictures that include parts of the helicopter? Certain landmarks? Having a plan in advance will help you frame the picture perfect moment as the helicopter maneuvers through the air.

 

Pack Light

Helicopter cabs tend to be fairly cramped for space, so you’re unlikely to be able to fit those five extra lenses you might have wanted to try. Instead, opt for smaller essentials like an extra memory card.

If you really want to use more than one lens, it’s ideal to bring two camera bodies so you don’t have to risk switching lenses mid-flight (and potentially losing gear out the door in the shuffle). Lenses frequently used in aerial photography include telephoto and wide angle lenses

 

Be Aware of the Blades

Especially if you’re using a wide angle lens of any kind (which includes most smartphone cameras), you’ll want to be paying careful attention to the position of the blades and the struts.

You might actually want to capture them for effect in some shots, or you might also be aiming for an unobstructed landscape view. Either way, being aware is a good step towards being in control of your end result.

Helicopter blades can also cast shadows, so pay attention to the positioning of the blades relative to the sun, especially on takeoff and landing.

 

Raise Your Shutter Speed

If you’re shooting with a camera that has manual capacity, you will want to be shooting with a high shutter speed and a high level ISO. Because of the helicopter’s speed, occasionally turbulent flying pattern and the strong winds that can buffet your camera, a faster shutter speed will help compensate for all the motion in order to get that perfect, crisp shot.

With the shutter up high, raising the ISO (which refers to a camera’s light sensitivity) makes sure your camera can still take in the right amount of light. For that same reason, you’ll likely want to choose a low f-stop (opening up the aperture) to keep your images bright but still sharp.

Now that you know what to do, it’s time for takeoff! Contact us to get your flight on the calendar.