Andrew Holt is a London based aerial photographer, with over 20 years experience capturing unique images from the sky.
His varied work covers architecture and interiors amongst other aspects of the aerial photography niche, using a range of flight technology to capture the perfect shot.
Examples of Andrew’s work can be viewed on his portfolio website and his work can also be found on stock image website Getty.
During the interview, we spoke to Andrew in detail about aerial and drone photography and he offered some sage advice to budding aerial and drone photographers looking to break into the industry.
Why did you choose to become a photographer?
I have always liked the process of creating images which please me.
What was it about aerial photography that drew you to focus on it as your niche? Did you explore any other photography types, before settling on aerial?
I was interested in aerial photography because I was always interested in flying. I have at various times been qualified as a pilot in gliding, hang-gliding, paragliding, microlighting and powered-parachuting.
What equipment do you typically take with you on a shoot?
I choose lenses depending on the brief and the time of day. The Canon 5D4 is my workhorse. I may also be shooting video which requires stabilsation systems to counteract the shaking and rocking of a helicopter. I need the right kind of clothing and flying suit as it may be very cold in winter. I have a noise cancelling headset.
Are there any trends or changes to the industry that have affected the way you work?
Drone photography has offered an alternative but a drone can only be flown up to 400’. An aircraft flies from 800’ upwards so the perspective is less distorted and it is safer and easier to get permission to fly anywhere. I have a drone licence as well.
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What words of wisdom would you give to budding photographers looking to focus on aerial photography?
It is a very niche and expensive business as the hire of a helicopter over London may cost more than £1,500 per hour. I would advise trying to find clients in cheaper areas to fly over.
Why should budding photographers choose a career in aerial photography?
They should only do so if they have a passion for flying, a good head for heights and no chance of being airsick.
Are there any specific tools or tricks you tried out to develop your aerial photography skills?
You need to be aware of the horizontal and vertical lines when your aircraft is banking steeply and affecting your usual means of judgement.
What are the biggest challenges for you as an aerial photographer?
Balancing client deadlines with weather forecasts and pilot and aircraft availability, as it is difficult to get them all together concurrently. It is also a challenge to keep work coming in and to ensure that the client gets what they want. Re-shoots are very expensive!
What’s the most enjoyable part of being an aerial photographer?
Seeing the world from a very different perspective and operating in a risky environment.
We’d like to extend our thanks to Andrew for providing this invaluable insight into the aerial and drone photography niche. If you’re interested in finding out more about aerial and drone photography, or other popular niches here in the UK, visit the Peli UK Photography Hub for some in-depth information.