• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Getting started in Aerial Photography


Junior Member
Hi Everyone

Apologies for a long winded post but I was hoping the flitetest forums could guide me in the right direction. I live on a small Island in Thailand and part of our business is looking after holiday villas and part of this is to get nice photo's to list them for rent(including aerial shots and videos). There is only one company that offers this service on the island and cost runs to about $500 per villa for daytime photo's only(no video).

As I had no other choice I got them out to one villa and was surprised to see the guy flying a stock DJI Phantom with a Go Pro 3 and fatshark FPV system(I race RC cars ofroad and onroad so I have seen these products in the shops and was looking at this setup before to take some nice racing videos at our track but never pulled the trigger on a purchase). It took him 1 pack to get the shots and he left.

Although I admire his business acumen I feel for $2000(to do the other villas) I am better off getting my own system and at least get a new toy out of it as well :).

So my questions are:

1. What is a good platform to start off with, I will need something that can do FPV, carry a camera capable of good day and night shots and good video would be a plus.

2. What radio/electronics systems are good enough for this platform(I use Tekin/Futuba for my cars but not sure who is the best for multirotors)

3. I have a a Gopro Hero 3 in my car for recording, is this sufficient to start off with?

4. Any multirotor Simulators that you can suggest?

5.Total Budget between $2000-$3000 is this realistic?( I learned the hard way when getting into RC racing that better to get good equipment from the start)

6. Is it possible to have a gymbal that is controlled by another controller using FPV? This way my partner can snap the photo's while I fly.

I have limited flight experience with Helo's and multirotors mostly just flying friends ones and generally I am a quick learner and I have a big enough field to not hit anything to practice on :)

Any feedback would be appreciated and if this has been asked before I apologize.

Last edited:


New member
I can't answer all your questions, but to start with heli-x is a simulator for quads. Pretty simple to setup and get running.
Your go pro will get good shots, if you're happy with its quality for photos, videos, in the day and night then I'd say stick with it. If you really want to go high end pro you'll want to look at shooting with a dslr camera, which means you need a bigger copter to carry the extra payload, you might need to look at a hexacopter or an octocopter. The bigger your payload the shorter your flight time.your regular radio you have should work for flying a multicolour, unless they are those car controllers that have you steering with a big wheel. If its the standard type with 2 sticks, then you should be fine. Seeing as you already have most of the stuff I'd say you can get away for heaps under $2000. If you want to start off, a simple fpv setup is $300, you can build a cheap tricopter for about $150. That will get you started and let you do some filming with your gopro. Then once your comfortable flying then you can spend the rest of your $2000 budget on some really bad ass toys ;)

Just my thoughts, I'm not into aerial photography myself... Yet...


Junior Member
I have recently purchased a dji f450. They have a arf kit with the naza light flight controller for ~$310 then you only need a battery and tx/rx and you are flying. The naza makes it a breeze to learn. There are a multitude of mounting options for a gopro and many other cameras as well as extension landing gear so that you can mount a gimbal. If you want something al little more high end you could get the Dji f550 with a naza m which has more features. It also comes arf with motors and escs. It can carry even some bigger cameras such as a nex 5. Now that I mention it the f550 is probably what you are looking for. Since you already have a transmitter you coudl probably spend 630 (http://www.helipal.com/dji-flamewheel-f550-combo-2-naza-v2-legs.html). Then a fpv system you will want a 5.8ghz since you are not going to be flying miles away. You could go cheaper and get these fatshark goggles (http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_22_227&products_id=1129) ~280 or you could get some skyzone goggles (http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_22_227&products_id=2322) and a matching transmitter(http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_30_33&products_id=1483). Btw do not use stock antennas. Get mushroom or clover antennas for both the transmitter and reciever.
As far as your partner doing the shooting. You would simply get a gimbal with a control board and then pug it into different reciever that is bound to a transmitter your partner has.
I hope this helps. If you ave questions about anything please ask. It awsome when people get to have their hobby as their job.