Aerial Photography

Professional photography at its best

Golden Gate Helicopters got its start in 1999 specializing in aerial photography, so we know the business inside and out. Today we count dozens of Bay Area professional photographers among our regular clients, and we work hard to keep them coming back. Our pilots are experienced at getting in close for the perfect shot. We make every effort to meet your location requirements within our tried-and-tested company safety rules. From video footage on Alameda, to scheduled survey photographs for large area projects, to widescape action photography for Bay Area watersports, GGH will make your aerial shots picture-perfect.


Schedule your shoot as far in advance as possible for best availability. Even if you have a range of dates, call and discuss your project with us, and we’ll make some preliminary plans to make sure you get the best time of day and weather. We understand that weather is often unpredictable, so we make every effort to accommodate our regular clients at the last minute. Call us during office hours (M-F 9-4, S-S 10-4) to schedule, and leave a message if we don&’t answer; we also routinely check messages late evening and early morning.

Service area and rates (per hour — 1 hour minimum)

Our service area for photography flights is 2 hours roundtrip, or the most distant point of 75 nautical miles in the R22 (photographer only) and 120 nm in the R44 (can accommodate up to 2 additional passengers) or the Bell LongRanger (up to 5 additional passengers). From our two locations in San Jose and Hayward, we cover the entire Bay Area. We can schedule longer flights and more distant destinations, but we may require a landing and refueling for safety reasons.

Please note that, for your safety, the R22 is not available for night operations or extended over-water shoots. The R44 or Bell LongRanger, all with pop-out emergency floats (required for photography sessions requiring more than 10 minutes over water, or at the pilot’s request after reviewing the session plan) are available.

Price list available upon request. We offer service from both San Jose and Hayward in a variety of aircraft, and can arrange pickups at any Bay Area airports. Please call us for trip planning.

Weight restrictions

The R22 supports a maximum of 240 pounds in the passenger seat, which includes both photographer and photography equipment. If the total weight of you and your equipment exceeds this limit, you must rent the R44. If more than one passenger is required for the shoot, the R44 can accommodate 2-3 passengers up to a total weight of 540 pounds, including equipment, for a maximum of 1 hour of flight time. The Bell can accommodate up to 6 passengers, with club seating for 5 in the rear, and additional seating for 1 beside the pilot.

GGH imposes strict monitoring of weight limits, and if Dispatch or your pilot has a question about weight, we may ask you to step on the scales in the office.

Account privileges

GGH accepts cash, check, and credit cards. You may pay with check in advance or leave a credit card on file if you are flying before or after office hours. For first-time clients, we require a credit card to reserve your flight time. We have a 24-hr cancellation policy except for weather. No-shows and late-cancellations will be charged a 1-hr minimum.

Mounting your equipment

Equipment mounting is not available in the R22, due to the dimensions and weight limitations of the aircraft. You may mount equipment in the rear seat of the R44 following our equipment guidelines.

We are happy to remove doors on any aircraft at your request.

More resources

See our Partners page for suggestions on finding a photographer or renting professional photography equipment for your project.