Aerial Photographer Tommy Clarke

Tommy Clarke is a British aerial photographer who started working as a fashion photographer in Sydney until he started photographing the beaches and landscapes around him, and this developed a new passion. Today, he is one of the most recognize aerial photographer, his photographs have appeared on the cover of many magazines, and today we bring you guys a nice interview about her career

When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?

I was 16 and had broken my back snowboarding a few weeks before the rowing season started. So I took my mum’s camera to the regattas to take some photos of the school teams in action whilst I was sidelined. The enjoyment I got from showing my teammates a few days later, after I’d had them developed, was addictive. I’ve been striving for that feeling ever since.

How did the idea of aerial photograph start?

I was working as a fashion photographer in Sydney around 2010 but was finding myself spending more time on the beaches than actually working! I ended up photographing the beaches and landscapes around me, and it took over as a new passion. It wasn’t until a tourist helicopter was buzzing around over my head whilst I was surfing at Bondi beach that I thought, wait a sec that would be a pretty amazing view from up there!

What is most important at the moment you take a picture?

For me, it’s important to make sure there is no blur in my photos, they need to be as sharp as possible. So a correctly exposed photo with a fast shutter is vital.

From where you get your inspiration

I travel a lot now so am always seeing new parts of the world, new colors, textured landscapes, etc but also apps like Instagram and travel magazines give me ideas too.

How do you look for the perfect spots?

I use satellite imagery a lot now, to scour the world from the comfort of my gallery in London. I’ll maybe see an image of a beautiful location on Instagram then I’ll find it on there and search the surrounding area for possible shoot locations.

Describe a typical shoot.

Early wake up to test all the cameras, lenses, memory cards. Get to the heliport usually an hour or so before taking off. Get the harnesses on and lifejackets if needs to be. Brief the pilot on the areas I want to shoot. Then, I get a safety briefing. Then we strap in and go for it. Time goes very quickly when you’re up there so 2hrs can fly by. Then when I’ve got enough, we head back to the helipad and I start to back up the photos.

Were you educated in photography or are you self-taught?

Self-taught! I study sports science at university!

What camera do you use most of the time?

A range of Nikon cameras, currently the D800e, but also some film and Polaroid ones.

Which photo are you currently most proud of?

I took a photo of some boats moored off a beach in the south of France that became my first cover of Conde Nast Traveller. As that magazine was a huge influence on me growing up and inspired me to see the world and travel more, it was a proud moment to get the cover.

Comparing where you are now with where you are when you first started, what could you have done differently to get to where you are sooner?

It’s actually been a pretty speedy rise for me, especially in a world of drones! I would have been more proactive in contacting publications and places where my photos could have been seen sooner.

Favorite photography book?

Massimo Vitali – Landscapes with Figures


To know more about Tommy, please visit: Tommy Clarke

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