Virginia Aerial Videography – Not A Typical Workday

In the event you’ve been wondering what a typical workday is like as we go about the business of aerial photography, the answer is simple. There is no such thing as a typical workday.


An Office Job is not Always a Desk Job

To serve you best, we deal with a great many variables, from specific clients’ requirements, to weather, to flight plan and flight time restrictions in and around the greater Washington DC, Northern VA area. Most of our aerial photographers and videographers work out of two offices; one is on the ground and the other is in a cockpit.

In the world of aerial videography, there are two options. The person taking the videos can be escorted to and from the site by a pilot, or the videographer can double as a pilot. The latter approach can sometimes work when taking still shots, but to provide the quality photos and videos our clients expect, we let the pilot do the flying and we do the shooting.


Weather is a Factor as are Time Restraints

Weather is often a factor. Even when it is possible to fly in inclement weather, it may not always be possible to take high-quality photos or videos. Even experienced camera operators can experience motion sickness while looking through a viewfinder when an aircraft is in motion. When turbulence is present, it can only make matters worse.

Time can also be a challenge. In the Washington DC area there is a restricted area that is essentially a no-fly zone. It is sometimes necessary to take aerial photographs in that restricted zone, and permission can be granted, but the flight plan must be strictly adhered to, and the time allotted to get the necessary work done is usually not restricted as well. Restrictions are sometimes eased on a temporary basis when the federal government or the DC government is the client. Even in non-restricted areas it is usually necessary to take the photo or video in a single pass, especially over urban areas.

Lighting is One of the Major Challenges

The photographer not only has to make adjustments for light conditions, but also has to produce quality results when taking shots at a subject that is some distance away. Anytime a building or some other structure is more than 1,000 feet distant, which in aerial photography is most of the time, lighting conditions can be difficult, even on the brightest and clearest of days. The photographer has to know his or her camera well, as well as having advanced knowledge in the field of photography, coupled with more than a few years of actual experience.

On one day, a photographer may be assigned to take videos of construction in progress in the Arlington vicinity. The next day may take our photographer deeper into Northern Virginia to provide data for a land developer. Later in the day, photographs of a residential area may need to be taken for one of our real estate sales clients. In each of these situations, flight plans have to be prepared and followed, a pilot has to be available, and the weather has to cooperate. No matter what the challenges are, our staff considers each and every one of them to be all in a day’s work. As our past and present clients will tell you, we are willing and able to overcome most challenges that arise.