Photographing Your Experience with Hot Air – with Instagrammer Emily Schreck

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Emily Schreck is a well know Instagram poster and artful social blogger, here she shares some tips with us and taking photos on a hot air balloon ride.

Fluent in both English and Mandarin and hailing from Atlanta Georgia, Emily spent nearly a year in Cairns in 2013 exploring Green Island the Great Barrier Reef and the Tropical North, also taking side trips upon the invitation of Tourism Tasmania and Tourism North Territory Emily gained solid reputation as an expert instagrammer and with a solid following on Instagram and her Weibo Chinese webblog and great eye for an Insta-typa picture !  Towards the end of her stay we were lucky enough to take her ballooning a couple of times with us here at @hotairballooncairns and she took some beautiful Instagrams that you can find @beijingemily

Emily Schreck @beijingemily gives Instagram tips for your Hot Air Balloon experience

Emily Schreck @beijingemily gives Instagram tips for your Hot Air Balloon experience

Here is some of her tips and ticks of the trade

Photographing Your Experience with Hot Air, By Emily Schreck (instagram: @beijingemily) November 2013

Riding in a balloon with Hot Air Cairns is a picture perfect experience.  The amazing views of Mareeba from the air make it simple to take a great photo, but I’m here to give you a few tips on how to get fantastic photos that really capture the beauty of your flight.

The first thing that you’ll notice about the morning that you take your balloon ride is light.  You’ll be watching a fantastic sunrise over the peaks of the Great Dividing Range.  Don’t miss an opportunity to snap shots of the sunrise (I mean honestly, how often do we really get to get up and enjoy the sun?).  Make sure that you’re focusing not just on the sun itself, but also take time to examine the way that the light changes and plays off of the clouds, and the land as it changes.

This brings me to another bit of photography advice, look around.  It seems obvious that you should examine breathtaking the landscapes all around you, but make sure that you’re looking up into the balloon (this makes a great shot!), and to the left and the right of the balloon, and even have a look down and see what sorts of interesting things you may see, such as a flock of cockatoos in flight, wallabies bounding around or cattle waking up for the day.  Make sure that you take in the full experience of everything around you, because the scenery is constantly moving and changing as your flight goes on.  There are also lots of great photo experiences while you’re on the ground.  Departure and landing preparation make for a great snaps and memories of your full experience and are often the best time to get a photo of the balloon that you travelled in.

One of the most important things to think about when you’re taking a photo in a balloon is the horizon.  The best way to make your photos look clean and professional is to get a level horizon.  If you’re photographing with a smart phone, I suggest turning on the grid option in your camera settings, it makes it much easier to line up your horizons.  Also, while you are on your flight, it’s very likely that there will be other balloons in the air at the same time.  This is a great opportunity for a beautiful picture that really captures the full power of your experience and gives you a great photo that shows what is going on while you’re in the balloon.  I have found that it’s good to take photos of the balloons when they are at lots of different levels in the horizon, but the very best perspective is when the balloon is floating just above the horizon, because it gives someone looking at the photo the idea of lift, lightness, and, well, floating!

Emily Scheck @beijinemily gazes whistfully upon the beautiful sunrise and a hot air balloon over the Atherton Tabelands

Emily Scheck @beijinemily gazes whistfully upon the beautiful sunrise and a hot air balloon over the Atherton Tabelands

After your balloon flight, you’ll probably want to edit your photos to make sure that you’ve gotten exactly the shot that you want.  First, go through your camera and weed out any flubs, for instance if you have a blurry photo.  Then, choose some of the best shots from the day and take the photos that you’re happy with and put them through your favorite editing program.  If you’re using a smart phone, probably you’ll be posting your photos on Facebook or Instagram.  Instagram has a lot of great filters that you can use to make your photos instantly pop, and is an easy way to edit.  I have found that the bright lighting of sunrise often looks better when filtered though some of the softer filters, such as “Rise”, “Mayfair”, “Valencia”, or “Seirra”.  However, the ultimate editing process is your own personal choice, and I’m sure that your photos will be fantastic.


Remember, ballooning is about the full experience, so take great photos that capture the memories, but remember take time to enjoy your flight.  Don’t stress too much about getting the perfect shot, any photos that you take during your day will be a fantastic reminder of a unique experience in a fantastic setting.  Happy travels!

from the team at Hot Air …..Emily also shared that she thought it important that fellow travellers offered to take photos for others,  there’s some awesome moments to be captured and whilst selfies do it do,  asking someone next to you in the basket to take a picture that you have pre setup, and the reciprocating by offering to take their picture is an act sure to gain a friend for the rest of the trip and break down barriers.

Thank you to Emily for her #intsagramtips !! Please take time to visit the Emilys Schreck Instagram portfolio @beijingemily and be inspired to start your own Instagram account and snap away with those smartphones

Hot Air Balloon flight across Atherton Tablelands North Queensland Australia

Instagrammer Emily Shreck captured this aura and light around a Hot Air Balloon while on her ride from Cairns, in Queensland, Australia