Aerial Photography North Carolina

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

-Elliot Erwitt

There is something fascinating about seeing ordinary places from a new angle, a new vantage point. That’s one of the reasons why aerial photography is so great- not just for reference and documentation, but also as a marketing tool. Anyone can drive by and see your building, park or development from the road or parking lot. But to see it from above? A bird’s eye view? That’s hard for the average guy to accomplish.

In our capacity as commercial photographers, we shoot a lot of high-quality, professional aerials in our home state of NC and across the southeast. In fact, we believe we produce some of the best aerial photography North Carolina has to offer. And we’re continually pleased with the “interesting somethings” that aerial imagery shows us- details we wouldn’t have seen from the ground.  We’ve been combing through our aerial archives over the past few days, and we thought we’d share a few of our nicest aerial projects with our blog readers.

Like the gorgeous, curving symmetry of this property- Sure, it looks nice when you are standing in front of it, but aerial photography offers us a chance to see its design in a much more complete and satisfying way. It’s impressive, don’t you think? (See the rest of this gallery here.)

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Or how about this bird’s eye view of a waterfront residential development? From above, we can see all the little inlets and coves, snaking in and out of the wooded lots. It shows the property’s natural beauty in a new and exciting light. (See the rest of this gallery here.)

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And look at this one. From the streets of this Cary, NC subdivision, you might see a few pretty trees, but from above, you can see that this community is actually nestled in a literal forest. (See the rest of this gallery here.)

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You can find all of our galleries of aerial photography in North Carolina here. And if you’re looking to find those “interesting somethings” about your shopping center, apartment complex, industrial park, or any other type of property, contact us for more information about our aerial photography services.


Catalina Island Photos

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As photographers, when we go on vacation, we’re looking for more than fun and relaxation. Of course, relaxing and having fun are nice- and we do plenty of that, too- but we always keep our eyes open for dazzling scenery, begging to be captured by our lenses.

So it was when we visited Catalina Island, off the coast of California. We visited the island as part of a Carnival Cruise vacation, and the scenic, natural beauty of the island blew us away. We saw (and photographed!) the morning mist blanketing the rugged cliffs, stately sailboats at anchor in the harbor, and bright blue water rolling away into the horizon. We even photographed a few bison!

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The Catalina Chamber of Commerce purchased a few of the shots for this year’s Catalina Island vacation guide. Click over to see the lovely panoramic view of the harbor that we made by taking several shots with our Nikon D800 and stitching them together. We are really pleased with this collection of photos. They are just stunning.

We highly recommend a visit to Catalina Island if you ever get the chance. We really enjoyed our time there. To see more gorgeous Catalina Island photos, visit the gallery. Of course, all of our photos are available for purchase as stock. And if you need professional quality photography to market your vacation destination, contact Clear Sky Images today!


Our Commercial Photographers Make Walmart Look Amazing

When most people think “beautiful photography”, a Walmart shopping strip probably isn’t the first subject to come to mind. But the truth is, even a shopping center can look awesome with a nice background and one of our talented commercial photographers behind the lens.

Take Entrada De Oro Shopping Center in Arizona, for example. Its major tenant is a Walmart. And, like shopping centers all across the country, it features well-known retail and fast food options, as well. To the untrained eye, this location might seem like nothing special; perhaps even unworthy of professional photography. But at Clear Sky Images, we know how to draw the beauty out of a strip mall and capture it on film. With just the right timing, framing and equipment, not to mention a sharp eye for the perfect image, we can create pictures like these:

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This is great news for property owners, developers and contractors. When you’re marketing a property or bidding on a contract, you don’t want to a portfolio full of lackluster pictures that look like they were taken on someone’s iPhone. You want the imagery to be attractive and impressive. You want photos that reflect the property’s true potential.

If you’d like, you can view the rest of the photos in the Entrada De Oro gallery. While you’re there, you can use the search function to find all of our other shopping center galleries. There are over thirteen pages of galleries to browse through!

If you’ve got a “boring, run of the mill” property that you want to sell, like a shopping center, warehouse, office building or similar, you definitely want great photographs to aid you in your marketing efforts! And in order to get great photos, you need great commercial photographers. So if you’re in the market for amazing marketing imagery, contact us today for a quote.


Touchdown! (With Monthly Aerial Photographs)

Monthly aerial photographs are an excellent way to record the progress made on big construction projects. The resulting photography is an outstanding marketing tool for architects, contractors and property owners.

We recently did a series of aerial photographs to highlight the progress of an exciting project here in Charlotte. As you might know, North Carolinians love their pro football, and Charlotte is very proud of its NFL team, the Carolina Panthers! And as it happens, the Bank of America Stadium (where the Panthers make their home) has gone through some extensive renovations as of late. Needless to say, we were ecstatic for the opportunity to shoot monthly progress aerial photographs of the renovations for Turner Construction, the contractor in charge of the $65 million project.

The sweeping improvements made to the stadium over the course of the off-season include new scoreboards (2.5 times larger than the old ones), four new escalators and new wraparound electronic graphics in the seating bowl. You can see how much work went into these renovations in the progression of aerial photographs below.

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This shot was taken in March 2014, early on in the stadium renovation process.

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This one was taken in May 2014. You can see some transformations beginning to take place.

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This image is from July of 2014. You can see that the changes are almost complete!

The finished renovations look great, and we were able to get a few really nice skyline shots at a recent Panthers game.

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To learn more about the renovations to the Bank of America Stadium, check out this article.

By the way, if your company is working on an important construction project, don’t let all your hard work go undocumented! Chronicle your headway with aerial photographs. If you would like to discuss monthly progress aerials for your project, contact us today!



Baseball Comes to Uptown Charlotte


In case you haven’t heard, Uptown Charlotte is now the proud home of minor league baseball team the Charlotte Knights, as well as a gorgeous new baseball park! The Knights moved here from Fort Mill, SC, and just completed their inaugural season here in the Queen City.

So… where does Clear Sky Images come into all of this? Well, we got to shoot the last game in Fort Mill, and actually landed with a helicopter on the field! We had a blast with this project, as you can probably imagine. The mascot, Homer, dug up all the plates and took them to the new BB&T BallPark in Charlotte, where we were able to photograph the bases being brought to their magnificent new home.



The new BB&T BallPark is creatively and efficiently designed, and it has surpassed all expectations, becoming the most attended minor league baseball stadium in the country. It’s so cool to have the Knights uptown. People pack out the games, and a whole neighborhood of pubs, restaurants and apartments has sprung up around the ballfield and the next-door Bearden Park.

We were so excited to have been a part of this historical move! What a cool project, and a great addition to Uptown Charlotte! To read more about the Knights, the team’s history, the years-long struggle to get the park approved and built, and the economic impact of having baseball in Charlotte, see this article.

You can see more of the pictures from the last game in Fort Mill here. And there is also a gallery of images from the rehoming of the plates. And, as a special treat, here is a sample of our gallery of fireworks photos from the Fourth of July at BB&T BallPark.




Architectural Photography in Charlotte, NC

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Here is yet another example of a beautiful property that sold, due in part to great architectural photography in Charlotte, NC!

The Cielo is a 205-unit apartment property in the Montford neighborhood of Charlotte. We photographed it back in February of 2013 and it sold to Weinstein Properties in September of 2013 for $41.5 million. That’s over $200,000 per unit!

We really enjoyed photographing this property. The Cielo features a clubhouse, fitness center, business center, swimming pool and even a small movie theater. With excellent staging and attention to detail, we were able to capture the true character of these amenities. And as you can see, we got some really nice shots of both the exterior and interior of the building.

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To learn more about the sale, check out this article. Or, to see the rest of the fabulous images that came out of the Cielo shoot, click over to the gallery.

Early fall is the perfect time of year to give your apartment property a glamorous photo shoot!  Clear Sky Images can produce images that truly highlight the great qualities in your property that renters and buyers are looking for. If you are in the market for great architectural photography in Charlotte, NC or elsewhere, contact us for a quote! And if you’re curious about the work and staging that goes into making a property like this shine prior to the shoot, check out our handy guide to preparing for a real estate photo shoot!


Amazing Aerial Videography

Looking for great aerial videography in North Carolina? Want to make your marketing soar? Clear Sky Images has what you need! Meet the Quadcopter.

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The Latest Technology in Aerial Videography

This beauty is the Matrix by Turbo Ace. It has a 1.2 meter wingspan and the most advanced and effective navigation and stabilization hardware on the market. Plus, the Matrix is capable of extended flight times, up to triple that of our competitors’ platforms. One of the coolest features of the Quadcopter is its GPS based auto-navigation, which enables us to fly the same exact shot every single time: one week, six months, or even five years later! And with the drone, we can easily reschedule in the case of inclement weather, and we still offer you the fastest turnaround for aerial videography and photography.

Smooth and Accurate

Check out this video we captured of the New Red Ventures facility, built by Choate Construction. Notice how smooth and jitter-free the footage is. This kind of detail and imagery composition is not achievable with traditional aircraft. It is made possible by the Matrix’s highly sophisticated gimbal, which ensures the smoothest possible video and full control of framing. Plus, the instant air-to-ground video link guarantees absolute accuracy. Only this system allows us to use cinematic techniques to create such high-quality video!

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Take a look at one of our recent galleries of aerial real estate images. This gallery contains photos of the gorgeously landscaped Lake Pointe Center. Notice how the Quadcopter and its professional grade camera and lenses were able to capture incredible detail with no distortion! You certainly won’t get results anywhere near this good with a $200 GoPro!
Contact us today for more information on how to get the best aerial videography in North Carolina (and elsewhere… we have been known to travel!) working for you!


How to Prepare for your Commercial Photo Shoot

So you’ve scheduled a photo shoot for your real estate property. You want to get the best images possible, in order to attract potential renters or buyers. But how can you make sure that the photo shoot will go as smoothly as possible? And how can you make the most out of the shoot?

There are a few things you can do prior to the shoot to ensure your property is at its most photogenic. This guide will help you get the highest quality photographs possible.

Preparation is an essential element for great imagery. Follow these simple steps to stand out from the ordinary. Not all of these items will be applicable to your site, but any help and foresight will make photo shoot day go smoothly.


Prior to the Shoot

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1. Have your lawn maintenance done no more than two days before, preferably the day before the photo shoot.

2. Remove dead plantings around your clubhouse and signage.

3. If nighttime photos are included in your photo package, please ensure that all exterior lighting at the front and rear areas of the clubhouse and/or pool are working and able to be illuminated before sunset or one hour before sunrise, depending upon when the photographer has decided to shoot twilight photos. This may mean relocating solar cell sites so that they may be triggered early or adjusting any timers.

4. Check all exterior light fixtures and replace burned out bulbs and locate switches.

5. Check out all clubhouse and model lamps/fixtures and replace burned out bulbs.

6. Replace or repair any damaged equipment/nets in the amenity areas.

7. Ensure that all pool furniture/umbrellas are in proper working order.

8. Alert residents to the possibility that the pool and other amenity areas will be closed for several hours the day of the photo shoot. Please also request residents to remove items such as towels and clothing from balconies and if possible to do a general straightening of their balcony or porch area.

9. To ensure your interior spaces look their best, make sure all of the lighting is in the same temperature rating. On the back of most light bulb boxes is a temperature rating in Kelvin (K). We recommend that all indoor lighting fixtures have a 5000K to 5500K bulb to represent a fairly close match to natural daylight. One of the easiest ways to manage this is to ask a lighting specialist at your local home improvement store. For highest quality, this means every light: kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, hallways, dining room, ceiling fans. If you choose to go with a warmer temperature (yellow: 2500K to 3500K), your photos may be a little less true than a natural look. The most common problem we find to disrupt the positive mood of a model apartment is improperly balanced lighting. It is a simple fix and perhaps the single most important thing you can do to establish a pleasing feel to any space in the mind of your customer.

Day Before the Shoot

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1. Remove all temporary exterior signage or paraphernalia related to leasing information such as balloons, flyers, banners, etc. from the clubhouse and/or/monument signs.

2. Remove seasonal decorations from clubhouse, model and entrance.

3. Temporarily remove any inoperable pool furniture. Take time to stage the pool area such that all chairs, chaise lounges, tables, umbrellas, etc. are nicely arranged and consistent in appearance.

4. Vacuum and fill the pool.

5. Freshly rake volleyball courts and sand areas on the playground.

6. Deactivate sprinkler systems the day before the photo shoot to prevent pools of water or water stains from appearing in the photos.

7. Vacuum, dust and clean windows in the model, clubhouse and amenity areas.

8. Be sure all bedspreads and curtains are fairly wrinkle free.

9. Rope off exterior parking spaces in front of the clubhouse or place utility cones to prevent resident parking on the evening before the photo shoot.

10. Remind residents about amenity closings and removing items from balconies.


Day of the Shoot

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1. Blow off the clubhouse entrance walkway, common areas, and any amenities such as tennis and basketball courts in the morning.

2. Skim the pool for any floating debris.

3. Prepare a property map and key fob to grant access to all areas of the property.

4. If nighttime or twilight photos are a part of your package, arrangements will need to be made with the photographer to have interior lights left on and all blinds open in the clubhouse. This may involve sending someone back to turn things off at dark or leaving them on overnight for a dawn shoot. Firm arrangements can be discussed with the photographer upon arrival.

5. We will try to make this easy for you on the day of the shoot. Escorts are not necessary. Usually a quick meeting with the photographer upon arrival to discuss your property specifics and access to all the areas is all that will be needed.

And that’s it! Follow these simple steps and your photo shoot will go smoothly, and the resulting photographs will be stunning! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.


Reserve Your Real Estate Photo Shoot for Fall!

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Outdoor real estate photography turns out so much nicer when there’s still some color in the trees and on the lawn! It’s September now, and our schedule is getting PACKED for fall, but we do still have some time slots available. If you’ve been putting off a professional quality real estate photo shoot of your property, now is the time to schedule!

Late summer and early fall images are perfect for promotional purposes. Plus, there tend to be less postponements due to weather this time of year.

Don’t wait until the landscape turns brown to make your decision! Act now! Contact us today to reserve your slot! And don’t forget to check out this post about how to get the most out of your real estate photo shoot. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Commercial Photographers in Charlotte’s EpiCentre

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Have we mentioned that we really love being commercial photographers in Charlotte? Especially when we hear news that one of the multimillion dollar properties we’ve shot has been acquired. We can’t help but feel a little flush of pride when that happens.

Yet another of the Charlotte NC landmarks we’ve had the chance to photograph has sold! The EpiCentre, on South College Street, was purchased in May 2014 by CIM Group, a Los Angeles based real estate firm that also owns uptown Charlotte’s BB&T Center building.

The 305,000 square foot complex features 255,512 square feet of retail space and 49,336 square feet of office space. It was 94% occupied at the time of the sale. Its tenants include Gold’s Gym, Studio Movie Grill, Strike City and sixteen restaurants.

If you live in Charlotte, or have ever visited its uptown, you are probably familiar with the EpiCentre. For one thing, it’s enormous, with indoor and outdoor shopping components, as well as event space. It’s one of those buildings that give Charlotte its southern-cosmopolitan look and feel.

We were very excited to have the opportunity to shoot this site. And we think we were able to get some great images! With an eye toward lighting and timing, we were able to expertly capture both the architectural features and the unique ambiance of the EpiCentre. See the results for yourself…

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If you would like to view the rest of the photos in this collection, visit the Charlotte EpiCentre gallery. For more information on the sale of the EpiCentre, see this article from the Charlotte Business Journal.  And if you are looking for professional, commercial photographers in Charlotte or elsewhere, please contact us! We’d be happy to give your property the multimillion dollar photography treatment!