Platforms for aerial photography include fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or "drones"), balloons, blimps and dirigibles, rockets, pigeons, kites, or using action cameras while skydiving or wingsuiting. Handheld cameras may be manually operated by the photographer, while mounted cameras are usually remotely operated or triggered automatically.
Aerial photography typically refers specifically to bird's-eye view images that focus on landscapes and surface objects, and should not be confused with air-to-air photography, where one or more aircraft are used as chase planes that "chase" and photograph other aircraft in flight. Elevated photography can also produce bird's-eye images closely resembling aerial photography (despite not actually being aerial shots) when telephotoing from a high vantage structures, suspended on cables (e.g. Skycam) or on top of very tall poles that are either handheld (e.g. monopods and selfie sticks), fixed firmly to ground (e.g. surveillance cameras and crane shots) or mounted above vehicles.