Today we are going to take a look at Aviation photography along with some tips and tricks. Aviation photography is a little bit challenging but if you have basic photography knowledge then it will be quite fun for you. Aviation photography is a mix between landscape and wildlife photography, you have to assume the plane as wildlife and the rest of the background scenery as landscape and then you will get a good aviation photograph.
Hold the camera in the right way
The number one and the most important trick is to hold the camera in the right way so you are not restricted on movement or being tired. When photographing aviation, you will use some big equipment, so make sure you have your monopod ready or some very large muscles.
Panning makes the best aviation photo
Panning is the best technique by which a photographer can capture photographs at the pace of moving objects. In this technique your camera will have a stable platform like a monopod previously mentioned and can move on a fixed axis. The more panning practise you do, when you come to shooting aviation whether it be at an airshow or your local airport, it will feel more natural with you being used to the weight of the camera also. A good tip would be to sit in your garden and take pictures of birds as they fly over.
Maintaining a good amount of light
Lighting is the life of every photograph, without a good amount of light a photograph cannot be stunning. As aviation enthusiasts, we know that flight operations can happen at any time of the day when visiting your local airport. Being aware of your camera settings, will ensure that when you get home your photos are not a disappointment. Be aware of where the sun is in the sky, whether it is cloudy or clear as this can affect the lighting patterns of your photo. Light can enter the camera from the front, side and back.
Ability to give motion effect to still objects
The thing which makes a photographer great is when you can make the photograph look different from the original scenery. You can take photos in such a way that it looks moving. For example, in the case of aviation photography whilst visiting an airport most of the aircraft you will see will be on the ground and not moving so why not take this photograph from a low vantage point because it makes the photograph look like it’s moving.
The reverse side to this is when you are photographing aircraft, you want to make sure they are looking at like they are moving in the sky. Here are some shutter speed tips to get the rotor blur that you dream about. Shooting with shutter priority, use these recommended shutter speeds:
- Fast Jets - High Shutter Speed. I normally shoot these about 1/1000 per second depending on the light. Of course if you want the motion blur, you can shoot these with a slower rate of say 1/600.
- Rotor aircraft like prop planes and helicopters - Lower shutter speed. When taking pictures of rotor aircraft, I normally have my settings on 1/350. This makes sure that I can get the blur of the rotors as I desire. A good panning technique and being steady with your camera is essential for getting that ideal shot.
Please note, these are only a guide to know where to set your camera too when you are starting out or beginning your day. Take photos, lots of them and work out what is best for you.
Clouds are the jewels of the sky
Photographers know it very well that clouds are the jewels of the sky. They make our photographs dynamic and splendid but sometimes if there are too many clouds high in the sky then they can affect your aviation photographs. Being in England, the weather is very unpredictable. If you are planning on going out plane spotting, check the weather forecast before going out, you don't want to be disappointed. However if you are going to an airshow, still check the weather, but most importantly, keep your camera dry and safe. Remember your lighting if there is ever a low cloud base.
Planning is the base of success
The first thing before leaving your house to get some photographs is plan. Is there a particular aircraft you want to capture? Is there a certain aerobatic maneuver you would like to see? . So before taking aviation photographs you should have to clear your mind in which style you want to get your photographs, your photographs might be of the take-off of the plane or landing of the plane, it depends upon you. So plan, plan, plan. Planning is the base of success in aviation photography.
Air shows are the best location for the photographer
The most common problem of every aviation photographer is to find the perfect location and occasion for photography. Air shows are the best location for the photographer where you can capture some masterpieces. Air shows have different types of aeroplanes, jets and helicopters, old and new are present at air shows which can enhance the chance of good photographs. If you are like me, then I follow airshows around and enjoy every moment of them.
Hopefully, with the news of 2021, we will be able to get out and see show flying action very soon. Most importantly, if you are going out to stay safe and not to travel too far to your local airport!