Types Of Aerial Photography And Their Applications

types of aerial photography
types of aerial photography

Aerial photography is the science or process of obtaining pictures from the air using various methods. It is also the process of taking pictures from an elevated position using airborne craft such as airplanes, rockets, hot air balloons, and drones. 

For a picture to be regarded as aerial photography, it must be taken with a piece of equipment that is not on the ground. Also, it is not the same as air-to-air photography where pictures of other planes or airborne craft are taken. By the way, I recommend Glenn Hester Photography as the best aerial photographer around.

Below are types of Aerial Photography and their applications. 

There are different types of aerial photography categorized into three main bodies viz; Camera Axis, Scale Of Image and Films Used. The choice in the usage of each is based on the subject matter and the purpose of the imagery, they are majorly used for study purposes such as studying geological and archeological landscapes. 

Camera Axis 

Under the camera axis, we have; 

  • Vertical Photographs 

In this type of imagery, the camera is in a vertical position.  There is a reduction in the quality of the picture taken and it is always square. Vertical photography is most often used for mapping. 

  • Low and High Oblique Photographs 

In low oblique photographs, the camera is tilted more than three degrees in such a way that the horizon is not shown in the image taken. While for high oblique photographs, the camera is tilted to 60 degrees covering a larger area and show the horizon. This degree of tilt produces a great level of relief, which allows you to identify both manmade and natural features in the image.

Oblique photographs are used in unstable or turbulent conditions and are used to reveal the topography in the relief. They are used to identify geological and archaeological features. 

Image Scale

In image scale, we have two types of aerial photography which are 

  • Large Scale Aerial Photographs 

Large-scale aerial photographs are taken when the airborne craft is in a lower elevation. The picture taken will cover fewer areas but will show great details of the information. Large-scale aerial photographs are used for mapping land features or measuring the size of objects. 

  • Small Scale Aerial Photographs 

Small-scale aerial photographs are taken when the aircraft is in a higher elevation. The area covered in such pictures is always large but the size of objects in the picture is not relative to the dimension on the ground, they are always smaller. Small-scale aerial photographs are used for studying the features of a larger area without the need for the size or measurement of such features. 

Films Used 

Below are the different kinds of aerial photographs under the auspices of film and filter aerial photography. 

  • Panchromatic Images 

These are the types of photographs that capture all visible wavelengths of energy. The image is usually in grayscale, most often use for map study. 

  • Color Photographs 

This is the usage of color films to capture various visible bands distinctively. These types of photos are used to interpret objects in a study area. 

  • Infrared Imagery 

This is the usage of infrared film that only records or captures infrared energy. These types of aerial photographs are used for studying vegetation and bodies of water in an area. 

  • Color Infrared Imagery 

This is a combination of color and infrared film. These types of aerial photography are used for studying vegetation, mapping water bodies, and other urban applications such as landscape, infrastructural development, and expansion of urban centers. 

  • Thermal Infrared Imagery 

This type of aerial photography capture both infrared images and temperature variations. This type of imagery is used for temperature studies. 


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