What Time of Day Is Best for Aerial Photography?

Photography is the perfect way of presenting something in a good light and attracting people when it comes to marketing. Aerial photography takes things a step further and helps in capturing the beauty of popular locations and tourist places from a higher perspective. It is usually done with the help of drones, helicopters or hot air balloons to take landscape photos from a height.

They are perfect for the travel and tourism industry in order to promote traffic in a particular geographical location. But even if aerial photography is extremely beautiful to look at, there are many things a photographer needs to keep in mind. In this article we will be talking about the intricacies of aerial photography and discussing which is the best time of the day to click photos from a bird’s eye view.

The Golden Hour

We will begin with the most obvious steps that are recommended to photographers. The golden hour is the moment after sunrise and before sunset. The sun throws soft lighting on the features of the land and creates a beautiful scenery to look at. It also becomes the perfect backdrop for locations that are close to the ocean.

A location will be shown as more welcoming and open if it has the warmth of the reddish-pink glow of the Sun. Warm colours work to create an illusion of softness, without using any extra equipment. The lighting is perfect during the golden hour and the photographer does not need any external help apart from the sunlight to click good photos from multiple angles.

One thing to keep in mind is that the golden hour changes face very quickly. In the morning the light will keep on increasing and becoming more harsh. In the evening the light will keep on decreasing until it is time for twilight. So while we call it the golden hour, all you will have our few moments to click the perfect shot.


The Blue Hour

In complete contrast to the golden hour, the blue hour is right before sunrise and write after sunset. These moments are when everything is clearly visible but there is no warmth to the light. It is perfect to capture the city in its silence and present the night without actually needing extra lighting.

The automatic interpretation of photographs from the blue hour indicate that the location is silent and peaceful. It shows comfort and peace which is exactly what one might need from a tourist destination. Locations with low temperatures and snowy trains work well with the blue hour. Water bodies also provide a good reflecting surface to experiment with.

Rather than natural locations, cityscapes favour the blue hour the most. Urban areas might look to Harsh and vibrant during the golden hour but offer serenity in a more sombre lighting. It is perfect for showing the nightlife of a city and having it contrast with the yellow hue of the street lights.



Afternoons are perfect for photos that require capturing of every little detail. If you are specifically using drones they are best for taking aerial shots as well as shots closer to the ground near to the houses, trees, and buildings. Make sure that the afternoon is not too sunny because an overcast sky offers enough light to create a good frame.

Try not to choose the time at high noon because the sun is directly overhead. You do not want harsh shadows, especially with popular tourist destinations. A bit of diffusion is expected after noon-time has passed or before noon-time comes. If you want to hire a professional for aerial photography services, you can check out the services of

Each day might present different challenges with respect to the sun’s positioning. So, one has to be very careful in choosing the time if they want complete brightness. One can later on add warm undertones to the photos but the shadows and the lighting should be somewhat adaptable.


High Noon

High noon is only favourable for Ariel shorts when it comes to photography cityscapes and urban areas. One needs some drama to give essence to the photo of an urban area which is possible at high noon when the sun is directly overhead. It helps in taking clear pictures of the reality of life.

Aerial photos might not work well during high noon for any other backdrop but urban landscape is made for it. An additional equipment like a reflector can help in portrait photography to a great extent. High noon is not frequently favourable but depends on personal preference.


One might think that the blue hour is more than enough to present night in all its glory. The all encompassing darkness of the night adds character to the photography that the blue hour might not be able to do. Night photography works in urban landscapes especially with roadways and traffic.

Aerial photography will always also be good for capturing photos of Cruise ships or runways with good shadow details. Night photography will require some experts from the photographer to adjust the settings. It can give great effects with natural light coming from the moon or nearby street lights.

You can try shooting RAW for better results. Adjust saturation and contrast to get adequate colour in the photo. Equipment for adding light to the frame can also be used but they are not always necessary. Night will show life in the city and how vibrant it can be. Natural landscapes can be shown as serene during night time.


The Takeaway

We have written about different times of the day that are perfect for aerial photography of different kinds. Depending on the subject, one can easily choose the golden hour or the blue hour for breathtaking shots. High noon is only chosen for cityscapes for better definition and dramatic environment. Night time is used for urban areas with manual adjustments and based on what the photographer wants to present.

About Courtney Corbett

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