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Discovering Unique Locations for Aerial Stock Photos

One of the most exciting things about drones is that they allow us to see things from a whole new perspective. Creative photographers can get truly unique and beautiful aerial imagery. However, it can be more complex than flying your drone straight into the air and taking pictures. To get the best aerial photography, explore this guide to learn how to find the best locations for your next piece of drone photography.


What are the Uses for Drone Photos?


Before getting started, it’s useful to think about what you plan on doing with your drone photos. The types of buyers that you hope will purchase your stock photos may affect the shots you take. Here are some common applications for aerial stock photos:

  • Promotional tourism images
  • Marketing for outdoor products
  • Decorative photos for wall art
  • Supplemental imagery for articles
  • Aesthetic images for graphic design

Find the Best Resources for Picking Drone Locations


Though satellite photogrammetry is less detailed than aerial photography, it can still be a good way to find photography locations. Other aerial photographers like to use personal knowledge or databases from other drone photographers.


Google Maps


Thanks to the highly detailed Google Maps and Google Earth projects, drone pilots have access to satellite footage of almost the entire planet. All you need to do is go to a location and scroll through the maps for exciting footage.




This open-source project combines satellite and aerial photos. It’s very easy to use because you can explore the map for general ideas or search for specific locations. Though OpenAerialMap is less comprehensive than Google Earth, it has the benefit of including some more detailed drone shots.


How to Create Stunning Aerial Imagery


The best drone locations offer a combination of these visually appealing elements.




Try to choose areas with strong colors that complement each other nicely. Options like fields of flowers or bright blue rivers are frequently featured in aerial photography. Color is still important if you plan on shooting in black and white. Pick an area with many light and dark shades that strongly contrast your image.




The best aerial photography often reveals shapes we cannot see from the ground. Look at potential drone locations to see how lines and blocks of color interact and intersect with each other. Strong circular, triangular, and rectangular shapes result in striking photos.




Texture adds a lot of visual interest to any image. Though smooth, flat planes of color can work well in some shots, most people naturally prefer shots with more texture and detail. Things like waves of sand, windswept water, or spiky foliage can all create fantastic photos.




Symmetry is naturally pleasing to the human eye. Try to look for areas that can be framed to create symmetrical, precisely composed shots. Consider surprising ways symmetry can interact, such as a curve of a road that mimics the curve of a river.


Save Time By Researching Before You Go


It can be incredibly frustrating to plan the perfect shot, travel to the location, launch your drone, and then realize you can’t get any usable photos. To save time, you should look into the location beforehand.


Timing and Weather


The intriguing image you saw on Google Maps was probably taken a while ago. Things can change quickly over time, so you need to pay close attention to several things:

  • Which level of sunlight will create the best image
  • Whether tides or flooding will obscure certain landmarks
  • How the changing season will affect vegetation
  • Whether man-made items might be moved around
  • What the weather report looks like



Any time you fly a drone, you must ensure you aren’t in restricted airspace. Depending on where you live, there might be regulations about flying near airports or government facilities.


Permission From the Owners


Drone photographers usually are not allowed to take photos of any private land where the owner could reasonably expect privacy. To avoid legal challenges, contacting the property owners beforehand is best. Make sure to get their permission in writing, and be sure to include a release form that lets you use the images for commercial use.


Once you find photography locations, you also need expert pilots and quality equipment to get the best shots. For all your drone photography needs, Aerial Innovations Southeast can help. Our expertise makes elevating your drone photos and capturing stunning imagery easy. Contact our team to learn all about our services.