In 1858, gaspard-félix tournachon attached a camera to a hot-air balloon tethered some 262 feet over Petit-Bicêtre (now Petit-Clamart), just outside Paris, and captured the first successful aerial photograph. Technology has changed dramatically since the man more commonly known as “Nadar” got started, but the need to see the world from above remains the same.
It is no different with golf photography. Gone are the days of literal flyovers, when photographers had to hire helicopters to hover over holes; the drone era reigns. Drones have democratized golf photography, giving so many more aspiring shooters the opportunity to capture beautiful images.
But it is no longer enough to simply fly a drone over a golf course. The art and skill required to create truly stunning drone photographs is no different from that needed for handheld cameras. Swedish photographer and digital artist Jacob Sjöman is on the forefront of this movement and is regarded as one of the best drone photographers in the golf world.
“I started using a drone in 2011 to mix it up with ground photography,” he says. “I had captured some photos from a helicopter, but it was crazy expensive, so I bought a drone.”
Sjöman, who mainly uses a DJI Inspire 2, has shot golf courses in every corner of the planet; clients know his distinct style will put their property in the best possible light.
“I believe direction of light is very important in all scenes,” Sjöman says. “My goal is to find the best angles on the unique features of each course and find that perfect scene.”
An admitted “gadget guy,” Sjöman, like Nadar and so many others before him, is still looking for what’s next in both technology and the scene in front of him.
“Even if I am standing on the ground, I get excited to see these beautiful and fantastic landscapes from air on a screen,” he says. “I like what this technology holds and can achieve.”