Elevated Photography

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Elevated photography is the process of taking aerial photos using a telescoping pole or mast, or other aerial or elevated support systems.

Basic Equipment

The four main components of a mast or pole photography system are:

  • The telescoping mast or pole
  • A high resolution digital camera
  • A remote control system for controlling the camera
  • A powered pan/tilt head for pointing the camera


  • 6m to 17m in length
  • More than 12m needs a stable platform like a van of a trailer
  • The masts can also have guy-wire attach points for use in strong winds
  • Ideally made of aircraft grade anodized aluminum alloy
  • Must include a compressor/pump (to raise the mast) with Teflon hose, pressure gauge and release valve
  • Needs an aluminum dowel that connects the tilt/pan head unit to mast
  • Optional level and/or wind speed indicator


  • Advantage of using an SLR is that you have the ability to use interchangeable lenses
  • A point and shoot will only get you a single shot
  • Ideal lens is a wide angle 10-22mm lens

Control Unit

  • The control unit allows the operator to pan, tilt, zoom and frame the subject all from the ground
  • Wired system vs. a wireless system refers to the means in which an image is transmitted from the camera to a monitor
  • Tripping the shutter is always done wirelessly using the built in features of the camera
  • Wireless video is necessary for heights above 6m (maybe)
  • A 6m mast is short enough for a cable to the monitor
  • You need a monitor to see what you're shooting from the ground
  • Transmitter/receiver and battery packs to provide live image
  • Battery charger for transmitter battery
  • An electronics junction box

Tilt Head

  • Wireless tilt and pan head unit and radio that allows a complete 360 degree rotation and tilt

Other Names

  • Telescoping Mast photography
  • Pole photography
  • Mast photography
  • Arial photography
  • Low level aerial photography