Altitude Matters

HELICOPTERS can take care of views at all altitudes from as low as 50 ft. over the ocean up to high altitude. We use them to shoot when a variety of views and altitudes are asked for, from low close-ups to wider/higher angles that show relationships to freeways or commercial centers in the distance. Therefore, helis are ideal for shooting commercial real estate, business centers and malls. Also, they’re best for shooting along freeways, over/around high-risers and near airports. They are most efficient and really cost effective if you have multiple projects to shoot.

AIRPLANES are limited to fly above 1000 ft. but can also shoot close-ups albeit at a steeper angle than helis or drones. Planes are the way to go if you need to show properties with multiple buildings and the space between them is important to show, like schools and universities or large ranches. Plane aerials can give you large area coverage showing how neighborhoods and cities relate to each other.  They are cheaper than helis, if you don’t mind not showing the horizon in close-ups. They are also the way to go for large area verticals over 3/4 mile across or for sites a long distance away. Monthly construction photos by plane remain a cheap way to show off your progress, especially if they are too large to be shown fully in a drone view.

DRONES can get you those low level angles, can eliminate ladders/boom lifts on architectural shoots, can fly at tree top height and in areas too low for helicopters up to 400 ft. Some angles cannot be seen any other way; some video motion cannot be recorded any other way. They are ideal for shooting residential real estate, architecture and construction sites when the buildings’ vertical dimensions are the focus. Great for bridge/tower/roof inspections and legal documentation of areas just out of reach. Limitations apply; please visit the drone regulations page for legal info.

The 2 images below show sample limitations: 400’ altitude limit and the distance limited by the adjacent property and necessary line-of-sight from ground to drone:


500′ with helicopter


400′ with drone



Airplane or Helicopter


Helicopter only


Airplane or Helicopter


Airplane or Helicopter


Airplane only


Airplane or Helicopter

Legal limitations for Drones