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What Are Photo Flights, and Why Not Just Use a Drone?

November 23, 2019 Leave your thoughts

Photo flights are common among people who enjoy nature and landscape photography, as they allow for a unique vantage point of the land—high up above, and the ability to see for miles. But what’s the point of going on a photo flight in Montana when you can just use a drone? Wouldn’t that be a whole lot easier and cheaper and allow you to get some of the same shots?

It’s not quite that simple. While drones do allow for the potential for some great shots from unique vantage points, they are also only able to stay in the air for a limited amount of time, whereas you can spend quite a bit of time up in a helicopter or small plane to get the kinds of shots you want. In addition, because of the light weight of drones, you can have quite a bit of difficulty getting the shots you want if the wind is gusting hard on that particular day. In addition, drones are not allowed to go above a certain altitude without approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, which can be very difficult to get.

The amount of time you’re able to stay in the air with a helicopter or airplane combined with the ability to exceed those altitudes and the aircraft’s ability to manage the heavier winds makes photo flights a much better option for photographers who are serious about aerial photography. While drones are useful and certainly have their time and place, there’s no replacing actually being up in the air yourself to get the shot you’re after. Plus, it’s a much more enjoyable and unique experience!

What to expect out of a photo flight in Montana

We recommend booking photo flights well in advance so you can properly prepare yourself and your equipment. Depending on the time of year, private flights may book up quickly, especially during the tourist season.

Photo flights will generally start off with a briefing on the ground between the pilot and photographer. The pilot will go over all safety issues that the photographer should know, including the kinds of equipment available on the flight and the methods of communication that will be used while in the air.

This briefing is your chance as a photographer to discuss with the pilot what kinds of shots you want to get, and the vantage points you want to get them from. You can plan out your photo flight in advance and adjust them as needed once you’re in the air, but it’s important that you emphasize the most important shots you want to get, particularly if you’re shooting video.

The briefing is also an opportunity to save some money, as you’ll be able to make more efficient use of the time you have in the air if the pilot is aware of the shots you want to get before you actually take off.

For more information about the benefits of booking photo flights in Montana, contact the pros at Rocky Mountain Rotors today.

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