Changing Perspective: Jason Lindsey and Creating Aerial Content
Living in 2023 as a photographer means adapting and learning the influx of technology that has become available. Since the transition to digital photography, there have been major advances in technology and being able to grow with the technology is imperative for our artists. One area of technology that has gained prominence in recent years is aerial photography using drones.
Jason Lindsey’s interest in using drones to capture aerial photography comes from his strong sense of resourcefulness and the ability to think outside the box. He has learned throughout his career to see problems as questions and opportunities for creativity, evolving his artistry into new territories and technologies.
So, it’s no surprise that he was drawn to aerial photography as a way to drastically change an image’s perspective. And as someone who loves to explore creativity, he jumped in headfirst, learning the different ways to capture our world from above. Keep reading to learn more about how Jason trained to get his drone pilot’s license, why he thinks aerial photography can improve a shoot, and how he uses aerial photography in commercial and fine art projects.
How did you first get interested in aerial photography?
My interest began through landscape photography, something I have shot for years. I would return to the same location for many years shooting them from the ground. Then, I started to shoot the same landscapes from airplanes and was awestruck at how different the imagery could be from the air, the unique perspective blew my mind. Then, as drones became more accessible, I started incorporating them into commercial projects. I found that clients loved the versatility of drones for both stills and video. So, aerial photography using drones became a significant part of my work.
How does using a drone enhance commercial projects?
It opens up the door for much more complex shots. We can get wide swaths of land easier and the way that drones work now, you are able to program them to fly the exact route over and over again. So if you wanted to capture something at different points in the year and get the exact same location, you’re able to do that with precision. I also like using drones for lifestyle work, you can get really cool shots with people using drones. These shots are relatively rare, and the creative process of directing talent to achieve a specific vision adds a unique aspect to my work.
What training did you complete in order to be able to fly drones?
You have to get an FAA pilot’s license which involves a lot of reading. You have to learn all of the air laws so you can fly safely. And one of the reasons I decided to get my license is because while there are plenty of talented drone pilots out there, I noticed a gap between the technical skills of pilots and the creative vision I had in mind. So when drones started to become more accessible, I knew I wanted to be able to fly them myself so when I had a specific shot in mind, I was able to capture it exactly as I imagined.
What's your camera setup like, and how does the whole process work when you're capturing images and video from the sky?
Now, in 2023, drones come equipped with integrated cameras. These cameras offer control over settings, focus, and the ability to capture images in RAW format, exactly like my professional cameras. In my current setup, I use the DJI Inspire 3, which features a 35-megapixel camera with an astonishing dynamic range and 8k video. It's as good as my professional camera, allowing me to shoot high-quality images and video. Choosing from 5 lenses allows me to capture my creative vision. The system is highly efficient and user-friendly, eliminating many of the limitations I faced in the past when I had to attach my own camera to the drone.
Do you have any favorite moments from your aerial photography work? Anything that stands out as particularly challenging or rewarding?
We used a lot of aerial photography during the Wyoming Tourism Project. One memorable moment was capturing a shot of a person walking in snowshoes from above. It was an intricate shot to pre-visualize and plan, as it required specific conditions and timing. Preparing, executing, and achieving that shot was particularly satisfying. It's the combination of pre-visualizing a challenging shot and then making it happen that really stands out to me.