Uses This

1213 interviews since 2009

A picture of Petra Leary

Petra Leary

Aerial photographer

in photographer

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hey, I'm Petra Leary. I'm from Auckland, New Zealand. This is my home town and home base.

For the last almost 4 years I've been working in aerial photography/video - this was something I originally began as a hobby and it soon became my full time career.

I've been very lucky to work with some pretty huge local and international brands over the last few years, and recently was the subject of a short doco produced for the 2019 New Zealand Loading Docs series, which profiles myself and my photography. It was an interesting experience to be in front of the camera after spending the majority of my time behind it, and was really exciting to see the final piece and the exposure it has been getting across the internet, and recently it featured on The Guardian.

Drone/aerial photography is something I love to do and am continually expanding on - it tends to lend itself nicely across a very large group of subject matter. I've worked on jobs for architecture companies, sports brands, skateboarding, travel and tourism, documentary, fashion, editorial, automotive, and product. Pretty much you name it, it's possible!

My work focuses largely of the topdown style of aerial photography - I love shooting from this perspective as it portrays an abstract and somewhat unseen vision of the world. It also reminds me a lot of old video games (I absolutely love playing video games) when viewing subjects from above and can give something a very new and fresh look.

What hardware do you use?

At the moment I'm using both the DJI Phantom 4 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Pro. I tend to use the Phantom 4 Pro mostly for my commercial work as the quality of the image and video is a bit better, especially in lower light or rougher conditions. I love my Mavic 2 Pro, but use this more for its portability if I'm travelling or when I want to just go walk or skateboard around as it compacts to such a small size.

I also use a variety of filters from the PolarPro Filter collections - specifics depend a lot on the conditions you are shooting in; if the light is harsh, the PolarPro ND Series are great for knocking down the brightness, especially when shooting video.

Not sure if this fits the hardware category, but for my gear side of things, I'm also using the PeakDesign Range for carrying my gear.

And what software?

I use a combination of Adobe Lightroom (for cataloging and organising, as well as a bit of grading) and Adobe Photoshop, for straightening, cropping, retouching, or effects/compositing. Occasionally I'll use Adobe Illustrator too - some of my work you can see is a combination of photography and illustration. I like the idea of people looking at the photos and then having to do a double take, like, is this real? What's going on here?

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup? I'd like to upgrade to the DJI Inspire 2 Premium, with all the available lenses to go with it. If I was going really big, though, the ultimate setup for me would be to have my own shot over camera and an aircraft/helicopter to attach to it.

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