Company Updates

COVID-19 and its impact on us

Posted on 03/24/2020 by Lance Roper in Company Updates

Update: We've resumed fulfillment of all our products.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we’re making some important changes to ensure the safety of our employees and suppliers.

Effective immediately, all printed products such as Canvas Wraps, Photographic Prints, and Framed Prints will be temporarily unavailable for purchase. This is a drastic measure for us, but we’re certain it will help reduce the spread of this virus by eliminating the kind of person-to-person contact required to manufacture these products.

We promise to fulfill any orders that have already been placed for printed products, although there may be minor delays as suppliers and carriers navigate these unprecedented conditions.

Digital Files will continue to be available at a heavily discounted price of $129 until we’re able to safely resume normal operations. With your support, we can endure this difficult time and continue the important work of preserving historic content.

We remain committed to providing a safe working environment for our staff. Most of our small team will be working from home, while others are working in accordance with CDC workplace and social-distancing guidelines.

We wish peace and safety to you and your loved ones, and may we all emerge from this tragedy stronger than before.


The Vintage Aerial Team

Evolving the Vintage Aerial Brand

Posted on 07/18/2019 by Lance Roper in Company Updates

In the early days of Vintage Aerial, we were eager to begin unveiling our collection to the world. Constrained by limited resources, our founding members used their knack for agile development to build a website that accomplished our most basic objective – to display online photographs that had been trapped in analog rolls of film for nearly 50 years.

We’ve spent the ten years of our existence converting analog film to digital images, and creating architecture that catalogs a vast and complicated collection while making it easily accessible to all. We have done that, and so much more, in furtherance of our mission to collect and present aerial photos of rural America in a way that evokes personal, family, and community memories and that encourages the sharing of our common history.


When searches get difficult

Posted on 10/12/2018 by Lance Roper in Company Updates

We’re kicking off a short series to provide some pro-tips for identifying photos in our collection. To begin, we’ll talk about where these photos came from and the various factors that come into play when some users experience difficulty when searching for a specific photograph.

Way Back When

In the early 1950s, cottage aerial photography businesses began to form around the country. Their goal was to photograph rural homes and farms and sell framed enlargements door-to-door. They started by hiring pilots to take photographs of areas they thought to be ripe with prospects.

The pilots created flight path maps and marked their location mid-flight each time they took 35-37 pictures, or consumed a roll of film. As soon as their film was developed, a salesman could begin peddling framed enlargements using the map as a reference to the location of the film.

A snippet of an original flight path map.

Vintage Aerial at the National Center for Nature Photography

Posted on 03/14/2017 by Nathan Lewis in Company Updates

The Center for Nature Photography at Secor Metropark, Toledo, OH

At Vintage Aerial we are passionately committed to sharing our archive of more than 20 million aerial photographs of rural America. Whether you want rediscover your past or learn more about your family history or just see your part of the world in a new way, we want to help you make those connections. So we were thrilled when the Toledo Metroparks asked us about participating in the aerial-photography exhibit at the National Center for Nature Photography, located at Secor Metropark in western Lucas County. We learned that the Center wanted to create an exhibit that would showcase the power of contemporary aerial photography, using developing drone technology to provide new and intriguing perspectives on familiar landscapes. And we knew right away that our historical aerial photographs, representing more than a half century of our nation’s rural history, could enhance the exhibit by providing depth and historical perspective on the parklands and surrounding areas the Metroparks wanted to feature.

So of course we said yes. Working with the park systems’ expert staff, we explored the locations in and around Toledo that they wanted to highlight. Once we had those locations, we used our state-of-the-art geo-location system and our associated technologies to identify within our vast collection exactly the right pictures that would help tell this wonderful story - how the rich and varied spaces and the accompanying ecologies of our region have changed over time; how buildings have appeared and changed; and how, throughout it all, the Oak Openings region has survived and thrived as a place for healthy and natural living. We donated photographic prints to the exhibit to ensure that the Metroparks achieved its artistic and educational goals of showing visitors something new and beautiful about the past, the present, and the promising future.

You can see the results in the pictures we display here. And better, you can see the whole exhibit at the National Center for Nature Photography at Secor Metropark,10001 W Central Avenue, Berkey, OH 43504.

The Center for Nature Photography at Secor Metropark, Toledo, OH in 1970 (left) and 2017 (right) photographed via drone by Toledo Aerial Media

A Landmark Moment for Vintage Aerial

Posted on 02/01/2016 by Fritz Byers in Company Updates

This is a landmark moment for Vintage Aerial. We are excited to share it with you, and we want to tell you a little bit about it.

After seven years, we are finally able to share our vast collection of historic aerial photographs with you in the way we’ve always intended – by making them available to you directly, allowing you to enjoy, study, and share them in the ways you want to, whenever you want to. And if you want to own a photograph – a print or a digital file – you can buy directly from our website using a streamlined, hassle-free online process. We’re here to help if you need it, in any way we can – ask for help, share your stories, join our communities, lend support in identifying photographs and enriching knowledge about the stories they tell. But now, and into our future, all of the choices will be yours.

This is the company we have wanted to be since we began in 2009. In that time, we’ve been busy. We’ve built from scratch a unique, robust process for converting our millions of film photographs to digital images, geolocating them with speed and precision, helping you find them with whatever historical information you may have, and displaying them to you. And we’ve converted more than 10 million of our 25 million pictures so they can be accessed through this process. Of course this has taken time, and we still have lots of work to do – converting another 15 million images (along with other collections we’re busily tracking down) geolocating them through our internal process to ensure we present them to you as accurately as possible and in the most accessible way.

As you may know, until now we’ve not had enough of a full-service digital library, and enough accompanying software tools, to be able to make our collections directly available to you in the ways we’ve dreamed of. So, while we’ve been building the company, we enlisted help from many trained outside Librarians who helped you and others find photos and navigate our process. You may have worked with a Librarian, and, if you have, we hope that in all ways your experiences were rewarding. We honor all they’ve done for us, and we’re grateful. But from the start, our vision has been to remove the barriers – human and technical – that stood between you and the photos you want to see.

We’re far enough down the road now to act on that vision. So, beginning today, all of your connections with Vintage Aerial can be directly online. If you want to see photographs that are meaningful to you, visit us and begin looking. Large swaths of our collection are directly accessible now through our automated search functions. Enter your information, and the site will find them for you and display them. If the photo you’re looking for isn’t yet part of the fully functional online archive, leave us a quick request, and we’ll get on it immediately, and we’ll promptly let you know by email that the pictures you’re looking for are ready, and we’ll send you the link.

Of course, if you want our assistance, we’re here to help in any way we can.

So, we are thrilled to be able to offer you an online collection of aerial photographs, available to you 24/7. That’s Vintage Aerial as we’ve always dreamed it.

Responsive Redesign

Posted on 07/08/2015 by Kevin Marsh in Company Updates

After months of hard work I’m proud to announce the new!

In addition to looking and working great on mobile phones, tablets, and desktops, this redesign also has a few new features that show you more of our collection and why we think it’s so important.

Mobile and Tablet Friendly

When we launched Vintage Aerial more than 7 years ago iPhones, iPads, and Android didn’t exist. Today, more than 50% of our traffic comes from these devices.

Every page has been redesigned to fit small mobile screens, tablets, larger desktop screens, and everything in between. There have also been a few thoughtful touches to make navigating more friendly on mobile and tablet devices.

Decades of Change

A lot has changed over the past 50 years. We’ve gained a lot of technological innovations that make all this possible, but we’ve also lost a lot of history. Only 50% of farms in America from 1960 remain, and the rest have undergone dramatic change.

That’s why we created Decades of Change. Our homepage now features just a few farms with photos from the 1960s, ‘70s, and ’80s showing just how much of our rural landscape has changed. We’ll continually add new photos here from our collection of millions.

Featured Stories

We’ve always thought our photos are a catalyst for memories and we love hearing your stories. We’ve redesigned our featured story pages to showcase more of our photos that are bigger, sharper, and look amazing on retina displays.

Our photos, your stories, together with that of your neighbors paints a rich picture of what rural America really was like.

More to Come

This is just the beginning. We have plans for even more ways for you to explore our collection, and we’re excited to share them with you.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for how we can continue to improve, please leave a comment below.

Digital Images

Posted on 07/11/2014 by Lance Roper in Company Updates

A beautiful example of one of our photos containing a round barn.

Over the past five years, we’ve helped thousands of people recover important pieces of their family history through our massive collection of historic aerial photographs. These photographs, once identified, have been preserved digitally and made available as archival-quality prints. As we’ve always said, our prints are family heirlooms the day they arrive.

Find Your Historic Aerial Photograph

Posted on 01/24/2014 by Lance Roper in Company Updates

Steps for Searching Our Collection

Here at Vintage Aerial, we receive hundreds of requests each day to find historic photos of family farms and rural homes. It is our desire to offer the highest quality of service on those requests, therefore it’s important to understand exactly how our process works.

We currently have an archive of over 25 million photographs. Digitizing, mapping, and indexing this collection is a momentous challenge. We insist on the utmost care at each stage of the process, to insure that each irreplaceable photograph is captured and preserved as perfectly as possible. This process is a work in progress.

To insure that you find the photo you are looking for, we offer the services of our Vintage Aerial Librarians. Our Librarians are experts at taking your information, searching our collection, and presenting you with a small pool of relevant photos.

Christmas Delivery

Posted on 11/19/2013 by Lance Roper in Company Updates

The holidays are fast approaching and the shopping chaos has already begun in many places. We all work hard to make this a special time of the year for our families, but sometimes we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything.

Unforgettable Gifts for the Upcoming Holidays

Posted on 11/02/2011 by Lance Roper in Company Updates

We often receive stories from our customers when they give one of our photographs as a gift. Every story seems to focus on how the recipient reacted when they saw the photograph. Here’s a great example of what I mean:

“When Dad opened that box, the expression on his face was amazing. Here was a big, rough and tough farm boy, staring at it with tears in his eyes. He couldn’t thank us enough. Later, we asked Mom if she thought he liked it. She said “He only took it in and out of the box about 10 times!” We cannot thank you enough for helping to make this great man’s difficult year much more special!”