The bird’s-eye views that drones allow us are enthralling to behold. And as the devices themselves become more accessible, more of us are taking to the skies to capture the world from up high. Here, we talk to some of Instagram’s most talented aerial photographers for some inspiration and advice for beginners.


Instagram profile of @skeye_photoDANIEL REUBER (@skeye_photo)

Home country: Germany

Last flight location: Southern Norway

Been practicing aerial photography for: A year and a half

What drew him to aerial photography: “It’s a way to create new perspectives. I started with photography around seven years ago and was intrigued by capturing landscapes. But aerial photography has given me a whole new approach. It allows me to see things that I usually can’t.”

Most inspiring flight: “One of my most remarkable flights was in Norway, over a glacier. The structures of the giant icebergs I saw there were out of this world.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Fly safe. It is the most important advice I can give. Always calculate the risks and try to keep your flight as short as possible to get your shot. Also, I find the secret to good editing is underexposing your shots. When you do this, you can work with exposure-bracketing (if your drone offers it) to get a good dynamic range in your shots in post-production.”

Where he wants to fly next: “I would love to go to the Faroe Islands — such a small place with so many awesome locations. Also, I need to go back to Thailand and drone, as I used to live there during my studies but haven’t returned since. Seeing my ‘second home’ from the air will be a great experience.”


Instagram profile of @kendallmartinKENDALL MARTIN (@kendallmartin)

Home country: USA

Last flight location: Isle of Skye, Scotland

Been practicing aerial photography for: Three years

What drew him to aerial photography: “Aerial photography opens up the possibility to capture potentially unknown views and angles of a place.”

Most inspiring flight: “One of my favorites was a local flight near where I live on Mt. Tam. The area is known for its low fog and amazing sunsets, and I had the opportunity to fly through a killer combination of the two.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Be confident in your maneuvers, and have soft fingers when shooting video.”

Where he wants to fly next: “As I write this, I’m heading out the door to get some content for a launch video. Today, I’ll be filming along the coast of California.”


Instagram profile of @karl_shakurKARL NDIELI (@Karl_Shakur)

Home country: Nigeria

Last flight location: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Been practicing aerial photography for: About a year

What drew him to aerial photography: “Shapes and patterns — really any leading lines and interesting forms that capture the viewer’s attention and can not be perceived from ground level.”

Most inspiring flight: “Flying across the azure waters of Bora Bora. Beautiful swaths of aquamarine and cobalt dance around the island — it’s really a beautiful sight to behold.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Don’t be afraid to send the drone up. It sounds pretty trivial, but I remember not flying on various occasions because I was scared of crashing my drone. But the only way to become a better pilot is to fly more often.”

Where he wants to fly next: “I’m looking forward to flying through some caves in Alabama over the course of the fall. It should make for some very interesting imagery.”


Instagram profile of @blondeshooterSHAY COOPER (@blondeshooter)

Home country: Australia

Last flight location: Bondi, NSW, Australia

Been practicing aerial photography for: One year

What drew him to aerial photography: “I love the unique aerial aesthetic that drones offer — it’s unlike any other form of photography.”

Most inspiring flight: “The morning I flew at Seacliff Bridge in New South Wales. Everything was perfect and the journey there was as good as the flight!”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Practice, practice, practice. It’s the only way you can get better and develop your own unique style. Besides that, take the time to really get into Adobe Lightroom — it’ll help you get the most out of your work.”

Where he wants to fly next:
“I really want to fly at Hyams Beach in New South Wales. It has the whitest sand in Australia, making it wonderfully picturesque. My next flight will be at Bronte Beach. The Rockpool there just re-opened after being worked on for many months!”


Instagram profile of @intohimoniMICHAEL SCHIRNHOFER (@intohimoni)

Home country: Austria

Last flight location: Iceland

Been practicing aerial photography for: Six months

What drew him to aerial photography: “Seeing things from above totally changes one’s perspective. Once the drone is in the air and I can see things with a bird’s-eye view, something incredible happens. It’s magical.”

Most inspiring flight: “Definitely my flight in Iceland where I piloted my drone over the Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. I had never seen anything like it in my life. It was simply overwhelming.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Go out and explore, and try as many things with the drone as possible. You never know how things can look from above. That being said, do be careful where you’re piloting your drone, and always respect the flight restrictions you might encounter.”

Where he wants to fly next: “I’ll be in the Dolomites in later this month and will try to capture some aerial footage there, so stay tuned!”


Instagram profile of @morgyloveMORGAN SHANNON (@morgylove)

Home country: USA

Last flight location: Telluride, Colorado, USA

Been practicing aerial photography for: About eight months

What drew her to aerial photography: “It provides me the opportunity to capture interesting compositions of the world.”

Most inspiring flight: “My first flight ever was in the Azores, Portugal. It was my favorite because I was somewhere I had never been before, trying something I’d never tried before. There was a steep learning curve, but I had plenty of fun practicing!”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “I still consider myself a novice, but my advice would be to read and learn as much as you can. I’ve watched a ton of videos and tutorials, but honestly, constant practice has proved to be the most effective method for me.”

Where she wants to fly next: “I’d love to fly somewhere in the Pacific Northwest — it’s my favorite place!”


Instagram profile of @highaboveviewsJOSHUA WELCH (@highaboveviews)

Home country: Canada

Been practicing aerial photography for: Three years

Last flight location: Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada

What drew him to aerial photography: “The ability to show people a location that they may have commuted, hiked, or passed by a thousand times from a completely different angle, one that may forever change the way they think about or look at that place.”

Most inspiring flight: “It was easily flying at 16,700 feet (5,090 meters) in the Andean Mountains of Peru around a glacial lake between mountain peaks. Although, I will say that the hike up was not quite as inspiring — it was a struggle, to say the least.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Don’t be afraid to push your own limits for the shot you want. Often, the best shots aren’t from people playing it safe. That said, always remember to make sure that you have the juice to bring it home safely.”

Where he wants to fly next: “Soon, I’ll be off on a four-month European travel adventure, during which I’m excited to be flying in Sweden, among other places.”


Instagram profile of @benmack_BEN MACKAY (@benmack_)

Home country: Australia

Last flight location: Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

Been practicing aerial photography for: Five years

What drew him to aerial photography: “At first, it was the unique bird’s-eye view, but now it’s the sheer amount of different compositions of low and high angles that you can create in such a short period of time. It’s so easy, and sometimes you capture shots you didn’t even plan for while on the ground.”

Most inspiring flight: “My first time, from a moving boat in Fiji. I was flying between the country’s beautiful small islands and landed miles away from my starting point. It was well worth it, though.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Just keep learning. I am constantly surprised by the new tips and tricks I pick up from other photographers.”

Where he wants to fly next: “I’ll be traveling in New Zealand next, which is a landscape that’s very different from what I am used to. I’d also love to fly in the Maldives or Bora Bora one day — the water there looks incredible!”


Instagram profile of @yoanguerreiroYOAN SANTOS GUERREIRO (@yoanguerreiro)

Home country: Portugal

Last flight location: Baleal, Peniche, Portugal

Been practicing aerial photography for: About three years

What drew him to aerial photography: “The freedom to be able to see the world from such an extraordinary perspective and to take photographs that would otherwise not be possible. It’s always been a great desire of mine to be able to fly — this is as close as I can get right now.”

Most inspiring flight: “I’d say flying over the Vasco da Gama bridge in Lisbon at the end of the day, after a great rain shower. It was on this day that I took what I think is my best aerial photograph.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Get a cheap drone, learn how to fly it (safely), and then venture out on higher flights and slowly get a feel for how incredible it can be! But never put the safety of other people at risk. Always fly responsibly.”

Where he wants to fly next: “Soon, I will be flying over the amazing landscapes of Southeast Asia.”


Instagram profile of @arranwithefordARRAN WITHEFORD (@arranwitheford)

Home country: U.K.

Last flight location: Penzance, Cornwall, England

Been practicing aerial photography for: About two years

What drew him to aerial photography: “Capturing places from completely unprecedented angles, ones that make a person think, ‘Wow… I need to visit this place!’”

Most inspiring flight: “Definitely sunset at Durdle Door. When I visited, I was the only person there, and I flew in some of the most insane fog that I’ve ever seen. To this day, I still think about that flight.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Just get out there and start shooting as much as possible. Discover what and how you like to shoot, and then keep perfecting your practice.”

Where he wants to fly next: “It’s been a dream of mine to see New Zealand, Hawaii, and the Azores.”


Instagram profile of @chrisbeethamCHRIS BEETHAM (@chrisbeetham)

Home country: Australia

Last flight location: Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Been practicing aerial photography for: One year

What drew him to aerial photography: “The distinct perspectives you can capture from the sky, particularly of the ocean. Also, the ability to change up the composition of the shot with ease, compared to being stationary on the ground with a camera and subject in front of you, creates so much new potential for photographers. No flight is ever the same!”

Most inspiring flight: “My favorite flight was either when I was flying over Iceland, or on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The landscapes both of those locations looked out of this world, especially from above.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Just get out there and fly. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll be in the sky. Also, try and go for shots or compositions that are different from just the standard top-down angle.”

Where he wants to fly next: “My dream location would be Western Australia. Places like Esperance and Rottnest Island — with their crazy coastlines, clear turquoise waters, and white sand — would be amazing to shoot. My next flight will be at my local beach, capturing surfers doin’ their thing.”


Instagram profile of @jordhammondJORDAN HAMMOND (@jordhammond)

Home country: U.K.

Last flight location: Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida, Indonesia

Been practicing aerial photography for: About a year and a half

Most inspiring flight: “Flying over the karst peaks of Zhangjiajie National Park was probably one of my favorite flights to date, as the scenery is just phenomenal.”

Advice for budding aerial photographers: “Practice somewhere local first so you get the hang of it, be confident, and buy a polarizer!”

Where he wants to fly next: “I’m heading to the Gold Coast in Australia this month, so I’m looking forward to trying out the drone there.”

 

 


If you want to read more about aerial photography, check out our guide on How to Shoot Abstract Aerial Photography and stay tuned for our Beginners Guide to Shooting Aerial Photography with @dirka.

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Alistair Hornsby
Alistair Hornsby was born and raised in Luxembourg but currently resides in the UK. He likes to keep himself busy with practicing photography, art, and design. He’s no stranger to travel, two of his favourite journeys having taken him around-the-world, and across the U.S. He currently works on the Editorial Team at Passion Passport, helping to bring impactful stories to the world. You can follow him along his way at https://www.instagram.com/alstiar/ or check out his upcoming photo journal, Saudade, at https://www.saudademagazine.com/.