5 tips for a better aviation photo

1. Dare to go off center.

The first tip is to go ‘off center’. Take a look at the following picture. The plane is off center, but this makes it better than those I shot where it is centered.

In this example it’s not only about framing the plane differently, but also about including something in the picture that would otherwise be out framed.

constellation17-07-13_6groot2. Make use of lines.

Try to use lines in your pictures. These lines can be everything. The lines of the plane or literally the lines painted on the ground or on the airplane. Using lines gives a certain ‘flow’ to your picture. It guides the viewer to a certain aspect or point of the picture.

17groot3. Make use of reflections.

Reflections are a third way of making your pictures a bit more interesting. Reflections can be seen in water or canopies or sometimes in the airplane itself when it’s really shiny.

Reflections can ruin a photo, but they can also be pretty or functional and add an extra dimension to the picture. The picture below for example would tell a different story if it weren’t for the reflections.

sfeer16-03-14_1groot4. Use the weather to your advantage.

We’re all guilty of nagging about the weather sometimes. Certainly when you’re out for a day of shooting airplanes. Aviation is always dependent on the weather. Certainly when there is a flying display or an air to air shoot the weather can ruin everything.

But there’s sunshine behind the clouds! Just stop nagging and use the weather to your advantage. To be honest I prefer some threatening clouds to steel blue sky. The clouds give depth and they can give your picture that extra bit of drama.

Same for rain. Of course it’s not fun to stand in the rain for the entire day, but even the rain can give that extra dimension to your pictures.

Of course your pictures will need some extra editing to make them presentable. A bit of HDR might do the trick.

phantom28-08-13_17groot5. Don’t forget the people.

This fifth and last tip is the most important one for me. Aviation isn’t only about the airplanes. Without the pilots, ground crew, etc. it wouldn’t be the same. There is no reason not to include these people in your picture. You’ll tell a whole different story with your pictures.


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