General Tips for Aerial Photography
Both DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras can work fine for aerial shots. However, DSLRs allow more options for adjusting shutter speed, aperture, white balance, etc. A zoom lens will ofter more versatility and quality in the pictures. To get the best images when using a point-and-shoot, be sure to use only optical zoom and not digital to prevent shakiness caused by the buzzing aircraft.
Look for sunlight depending on the time and the kind of effect you need. Overcast skies will give you soft light and shadows, while clear skies at noon will give you brighter light with lesser shadows. This usually takes some practice before you can judge when the daylight will be optimal to shoot the object in the way you like.
Filters are rarely needed for aerial photos as they just tend to reduce picture sharpness. Use a fast shutter speed (1/1000 to 1/500 sec) to minimize the effects of the aircraft vibrations. A wide angle fast lens (f/11 to f/2.8) will help keep the ISO to 100 or 200, thereby increasing the quality of even those photographs which have movement.
If you plan to use airplanes, your best option would be a craft with high wings, without struts, as you will get an unobstructed view. However, helicopters are slower, and give you more time to observe any object before you take the shot. Also, your pilot will be able to help you plan your excursion, and can advise you about the atmospheric conditions to expect.
Reflections While Taking Aerial Shots Through Windows
Almost all airplanes have the issue of windows which are either grimy or reflect excessive light, making it difficult to get a good shot. Your best option would be to ask permission and clean the windows before the flight. Also, to reduce glare, make sure that the lens of your camera is as close as possible to the window. Alternately, for images without any obstructions, you can use helicopters with open doors.
Using Drones For Aerial Photographs
Cheap drone cameras, while good for still photos, don't give good quality images in less than ideal conditions or with movement. If you are serious about drone photography, you can look to spend at least 600 USD or more, for high quality images. They give good stability and even a good digital downlink, which is important for first-person views. Look for cameras with professional gimbals if you can afford it.
Most drones can fly for a period of 20-25 minutes before needing a recharge. Use this time to check out the object you want to photograph, from different angles. This will help you to find the best view and get some really beautiful images. Just remember, greater height can give wider views, but that does not necessarily translate to great photos.