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How to take stunning photographs from a balloon

01/10/2015 Jo Bailey Hot Air Balloon Rides

A balloon flight enables you to take great aerial photographs, and as such, they’re really popular with amateur and professional shutterbugs alike. Aerial photographs can be hard to pull off, so it helps to be aware of what you need to do.

The advantages of a balloon

To take photographs from the air requires two things: a camera, and a means of flight. You can take pictures from a moving aircraft, but the movement of the aircraft could mean that your photos have motion blur if you use a long exposure. You can attach a remote camera to a drone, but then you risk damage to your camera if your device crash lands. You also don’t have too much control over what you’re taking a picture of.

A slow smooth ride in a balloon is the perfect way to take beautiful aerial photographs, especially if you are flying over Bristol or Gloucester, with its stunning natural landscapes.


– A high quality SLR camera is preferable to a lower quality phone camera. Make sure that it has a strap that fits around your neck to prevent you from accidentally dropping it. The lens cap also needs a strap that tethers it to the neck strap.

– You should take a spare battery in case you run out of power.

– The ideal lens is a telephoto zoom one with at least a range of 50-200mm.

– A polarizing filter is useful to cut down on haze.

– Bring a lens cloth in case the lens gets dirty or steamed up.

Use a checklist of equipment before take off to make sure that you remember everything. Once airborne, you cannot go back for something that you have forgotten!

What to photograph

The gas burner operating can feature as a dramatic take off picture, and once fully airborne, you can take shots of the ground and sky from over the edge of the basket. Pictures can be more dramatic if part of the basket is in frame.

Usually, balloon flights start early morning. Depending on the season, you have the opportunity to take beautiful pictures of the sunrise.

If ballooning with friends, hand your camera to a third party or the pilot for a record of all of you having fun on the flight. If more than one balloon takes off, then take images of the other balloon set against the landscape below. When the balloon lands, take a picture of the canopy being folded up.

If you are a keen photographer then balloon flights are a great way to add beautiful photos to your portfolio.

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