How to Become an Aerial Photographer


Aerial photography is an exciting and rewarding profession. If that’s where your passion lies then you simply must read this article for valuable information about how to become an Aerial Photographer.

The first thing we’re going to talk about will be the educational requirements. Secondly, we’ll discuss the duties and work environment of an Aerial Photographer.  And we’re going to wrap it up by examining the career opportunities in this profession.

Educational Qualifications

While most career paths in photography are considered glamorous, few are as spellbinding as aerial photography. It also has the added benefit (if you care to call it a benefit) of possessing a much higher barrier to entry in that many jobs require the photographer to qualify as a pilot.

In addition to flying credentials, you can make yourself more competitive by earning a college degree in one of the following or related programs:

  • Art/Art Studies, General
  • Commercial Photography
  • Digital Arts
  • Photography
  • Photo Journalism

Work Environment and Job Responsibilities

An Aerial Photographer will often find that he or she is required to work in helicopters or airplanes. As such, the photographer may also be required to be the pilot as well.

If spending a lot of time in the sky sounds exciting to you than aerial photography may be your ideal career choice. As an Aerial Photographer you’ll be required to snap photographs of people, landscapes, buildings and other targets of opportunity utilizing film or digital cameras and other sophisticated equipment.

Although most aerial photography is done using digital cameras, you may occasionally be required to develop negatives. However, the vast majority of your work will involve the use of computer software to finish digital images and prints.

Job Opportunities

In addition to government, corporate, and nonprofit photography positions, a great deal of the employment opportunities available to aerial photographers involve freelance work. Owning your own airplane as well as being a licensed pilot will give you a distinct advantage.

Nationally, aerial photographers provide mapping services for federal, state and local governments, in addition to private industry.

Job growth for photographers as a whole is not expected to exceed 4 percent from 2012 to 2022. This growth rate is slower than most other occupations in theUnited States. The slower than desired rate of growth for photography jobs is blamed on the increasing availability of low-cost digital photography equipment that allows consumers to produce and access their own pictures. However, the requirement for piloting skills and perhaps even owning an aircraft gives the Aerial Photographer a significant competitive advantage over the average photographer who works at the median wage of about $13.70 per hour.


Are you ready to pursue your photography career? Get information on programs in your area and online using our photography degree finder at the top of this page. 


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