DSLR Aerial Obliques

DSLR Oblique Aerial Photography

This page is the practical part of a successful flight for aerial photography with Oblique hand held camera(s) from an aircraft.

Job and Flight Planning

Camera Preparation for Flight

In Flight Operations

Post Flight Photoshop


Job and Flight Planning

Setting up the location in Google Earth

Planning the flight altitude

Determining suitable weather

Determining suitable time of day

Setting up the location in Google Earth

Planning the Flight Altitude

Determining suitable weather

Determining suitable time of day


Camera Preparation for Flight

Setting up the Nikon D800(e) for an aerial oblique mission

Camera Settings

Shooting Mode(Manual/Shutter Priority/Aperature Priority)

Battery and Memory Cards


In Flight Operations

Aperture and Shutter Speeds

Getting all your Stuff into the Airplane

Securing your Camera

Radio Communications

Flight Procedures


Post Flight Procedures for Photoshop work on Nikon Aerial Oblique Images


As soon as practical, copy the images from the camera Compact Flash (CF) card to the hard drive of the computer you are going to work on.

All of the files should be copied to a new file folder named with the date and Nikon Obliques. Example: Year-Month_Day (YYYY-MM-DD)

2016-06-16 Nikon Obliques

Within this file folder, make additional folders for each job flown that day.

For Example:

2016-06-16 Ruscilli AEP Trans

2016-06-16 ClayCo Etna South


Place all images from each job in their correct folders that was just created.


The Nikon cameras will name each file with a user defined 3 letter prefix and a counter number. And the cameras are set to save a NEF (Nikon Electronic Format) raw file and a JPG compressed file. You should have both file types in main job folder you just created for each job.





Create 3 folders in each job folder which will contain each file types. One for the Original JPG files, NEF files, and one to contain your Final JPG files that will be sent to the client.


2016-06-16 ClayCo Etna South JPG (contains the final files after photoshop)

2016-06-16 ClayCo Etna South NEF (contains the NEF files as shot)

2016-06-16 ClayCo Etna South Original JPG (contains the Original JPG files as shot)






Load one of the images from either Adobe Bridge or Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop. This will serve as the image to create the action. You need a starting point.

I have a Photoshop Action “Set” called “Nikon Obliques” that I place all actions created to make the final jpg files.

Within this set, click on the bottom action to highlight. This will put the new action immediately below the highlighted action.

Click on the “Action Menu” button  which is in the upper right of the Actions Panel to bring up the following menu

Click on “New Action

This will bring up the following dialog box. The name will default to being highlighted so that you are ready to name the action by simply typing.

Enter the name the same as the job file folder

Click Record to begin recording your action.


This will create the action and will engage the recording function as indicated by the red circle in the Action Controls at the bottom of the Actions Panel.

At this point, anything that you do this the open image will be recorded. That means all photoshop functions that you engage on the open image can be applied to any other image either individually or as a batch through Adobe Bridge.

The typical actions at this point are:

  1. Change mode to 8 bit as sometimes ACR is set to output in 16 bit.
  1. Reduce the image to 1/2 resolution over the original when using the Nikon D800. This does two things. First it makes the file sizes a bit more manageable for the client. Second it standardizes the file size if there was any straightening (which crops the image) in ACR or cropping withing Photoshop after the file has gone through ACR. The final size to use is 7360×4912 pixels.
  1. Save it as a jpg in the file folder you created in the initial image copying and management.


There are a couple other corrections that can be done which are better in Photoshop than in ACR which can be done but are not part of the action. If additional corrections are to be made, then you will not be able to run a batch in Adobe Bridge, you will have to work with each file individually and then run the action which is simply resizing and saving.

Change mode

Click on Image, then Mode, then 8 bits/channel

Image Size

Set for 1/2 resolution for the Nikon D800 from 7360×4912 pixels to 3680×2456

Since the length and height is linked, you only need to change one, the other dimension will automatically be calculated and entered.

Click “OK” to accept



Navigate to the file folder in which you want to save the file. This will be the folder you created with the project name and ending with JPG.

Select JPEG Format

Select an image quality of 10

Click “OK

Close the file

When the dialog box shows up for saving changes, click “NO

Stop recording by clicking on the red circle at the bottom of the actions panel