We recently got a chance to talk to an Alaska photography club member who is also an unbelievable airplane photographer. Along with his vast experience with Alaska photography, he was able to help us with some photography tips that will take your aviation photography to next level. Here we will talk about how to do the best aircraft photography from the ground.
What’s so cool about aviation photography is that it’s so open. There are flying shows with stunts all over your head. You just require a single camera and a couple of lenses to catch some staggering pictures. Aviation photography is a matter of stability of your hand, and proper hand-holding techniques will be able to give you great results with comfort for your hand. Holding the camera in an improper way will lead to blurry images with your hand paining soon.
There are two exposure modes you need to use. For high-speed jets, aperture priority works best. We at Alaska photography like to shoot at f/5.6 to f/8 and let the camera manage shade speed. For propeller planes, we set to shutter priority with a speed of 1/25 second to 1/125 second so the props blur and the aircraft appears as if it is flying, not dangling from a string.
If this is your first time at a flying show as an airplane photographer, think about your first day as training. On the second and third day, definitely observe a great improvement in your photography skills. To have an awesome first day, practice before you head for the show by clicking your dog running in the yard or your children riding their bicycles. Simply pan and shoot—it’s fun and it’s profitable.
Some of the ground-to-air photographs look like air-to-air pictures. Frequently the planes performing in aviation expos are around 90 feet above in height, and because they’re so low and they keep turning, which makes it look like I’m sharing the same space with the pilot of the airplane. When the pilot’s turning his wing to make a sharp turn, we can get a shot that seems as though I’m shooting into the plane from above. One of the best aircraft photography is to pan with the plane, basically, bend your body at the trunk, and keep following the plane in the viewfinder until the shutter is done with its job.
Ground-to-ground photographs, which you may call portraits of the planes, are about light and time. All that you’ve learned about the fresh light of early morning and subtle light of late evening applies to aircraft, so appear early and remain late. Step up to a social media platform and get some answers concerning the flying shows before you go. Would you be able to arrive before the show starts and use the light? Would you be able to move around freely, maybe meet the pilots and owners? Many aviation expos have early hours for photographers; use that.
We hope that these best aircraft photography can make you another member at Alaska photography as an airplane photographer.