Are you heading to an air show this summer and want to take some quality photos of the aircraft? With the internationally famous Farnborough airshow and other displays coming up, we asked one photographer for her tips on how to get the best images.
Claire Hartley has had a long-standing interest in aviation having grown up in Lincolnshire, which has been home to numerous air bases, but only really began to specialise in taking photos of aircraft in the past year – with stunning results.
“I remember always being in awe of planes like the Lancaster, Vulcan and of course the Red Arrows. I’ve been into photography for around 6 years now but have only really started to specialise in the aviation field over the last year or so,” she said.
“I don’t have any special access to bases, etc. I’m lucky to live close to Scampton where the Red Arrows practice and also spend a lot of time around Coningsby where the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight planes and Typhoons are based. I try to suss out the best vantage points based on where the aircraft are flying, also taking into account direction of sunlight, etc. I often end up down a ditch or up a ladder!”
Claire, 35, added: “I shoot with a Nikon D300S and wherever possible I will try and use 7dayshop products as opposed to branded items as I find the value and quality excellent, particularly things like screw on lens filters, batteries and memory cards.
“I currently use the rapid pro series 32gb SD cards and I find them just as efficient as any more expensive brand name card. I’ll be putting in an order this week for a compact flash card to see how that works for me too.”
Here are Claire’s useful tips on getting great aviation and aircraft photos – just take a look at all her photos featured in this blog.
10 aviation photo tips
1 Work the camera settings around shutter speed dependent on the subject Prop blur is great on a heritage plane But fast jets such as Typhoons and Red Arrows require a much higher speed It can be easy to forget to change it from one display to the next at an airshow
2 Keep an eye on the sun when choosing a vantage point (if there is any) It’s always best to shoot with the sun behind you unless you want to go for the silhouette effect
3 Be prepared for all types of weather and take lots of waterproofing The flying often continues if it rains and can make for great photos but you don’t want to ruin the camera in the process
4 Keep the camera and lenses clean It’s surprising how noticeable dust spots become when you’re shooting into the sky
5 Always have lots of batteries and memory cards – particularly at an airshow Wherever possible I will try and use 7dayshop products as opposed to branded items as I find the value and quality excellent, particularly things like screw on lens filters, batteries and memory cards. I currently use the rapid pro series 32gb SD cards and I find them just as efficient as any more expensive brand name card
6 Think ahead and think outside of the box when choosing a vantage point Try to take into account anything in the landscape that could be included in the composition of the photo Also consider things that need to be avoided – tannoy speakers/posts, etc, at airshows have a habit of photobombing images
7 If photographing around an airbase it’s often useful to have a small ladder or something to stand on Most tend to have quite high fences and shooting though the fences can be difficult
8 A lens with a decent level of zoom is desirable Although not essential for displays as most of the planes will display fairly low However it does help with getting nice clear cockpit shots and bringing out the detail
9 If you’re planning to take photos at an airshow get there early Get a spot at the front of the crowd line – nothing worse than everyone else’s heads/cameras, etc in the way
10 If you have the function on the camera and the editing software to do so I always find it best to shoot in Raw format – It helps with flat/grey skies when editing
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- Follow Claire Hartley on Twitter @chartleyphotos , Facebook and Flickr
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