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Camera Settings for Aerial Photography

edited April 2013 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
I've been asked to take some aerial shots of particular landmarks. Can you recommend the camera settings I will need? Also, I only have the 18-55mm kit lens. Will this work okay? There will, of course, be no time to focus or change settings and my greatest fear is that the shots will be blurred or I will miss them!


  • @jowil - Are you flying in a plane or helicopter? What time of day will you be shooting?
  • edited April 2013
    I will be in a small plane and I don't know what time of day. I'll be told when the pilot/plane is available on a sunny day (I'm not paying for the flight).

    I've Googled aerial photography and got lots of varied info. What I'm considering is:

    1. Shutter priority (S)
    2. ISO 200
    3. Shutter 1/1000

    Is that anywhere close? I'm really stressed about this!
  • edited April 2013
    @jowil - As long as you're shooting on a bright sunny day, then I'd start with the following settings...

    1. Shutter priority (S on the mode dial)
    2. Set the shutter speed to 1/1000
    3. Set your ISO to 100
    4. Enable Continuous shooting
    5. Set your focus mode to AI Servo AF

    With this setup, half-press the shutter to continuously autofocus. When ready, fully press the shutter button and hold it down to rattle of a series of shots in quick succession. This will improve your odds of a keeper.

    Be mindful that the 18-55mm doesn't have a long reach, so from a small plane you won't be able to zoom in on specific landmarks or buildings. For that, you'll need a telephoto zoom lens like the Nikon 55-300mm. If you don't have the funds to purchase it, I recommend renting it, especially for a special aerial shoot.

    Happy shooting! :)
  • edited April 2013
    Thank you!
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