Behind the Lens

See how this photographer captures incredible new views of Austin

When you see a stunning aerial image like this, do you find yourself wondering how in the world it was captured? CultureMap caught up with Austin photographer Mike Holp to learn how he uses a remote-controlled drone to capture the city's best angle — from above.

Holp shares some of his favorite shots and thoughts from behind the lens.

Holp, a former software developer, turned his passion for photography into a business about two years ago. He was inspired by Austin's old-guard aerial photographers, like Christopher Sherman of Over Austin.

Holp's aerial shots range from sweeping skylines to skyscraper close-ups. He also shoots luxury real estate, concerts, events, and headshots, but "aerial photography is becoming my bread and butter," he says.

"I love this city and the people in it, and it just felt like it would be a great subject to photograph," says Holp. "One of the things I like about [aerial photography] is seeing things from a different perspective."

So what goes into capturing a moment like this? "The most important thing is picking out key locations and having a vision for where to fly it," says Holp.


Drone photography is certainly an investment; Holp's Phantom 3 Standard from DJI costs around $800. He suggests starting out with something cheaper, as a crash is bound to happen.

Other tips include registering with Federal Aviation Administration; flying below 400 feet; and being aware of no-fly zones, such as Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and the Capitol building.