How To Shoot Pictures Of Airplanes In Flight

This is a really cool article about shooting pictures of airplanes for magazine covers and advertising prints. It turns out, that the best platform to shoot pictures of planes from is a B-25 Mitchell bomber.

The writer says that he gets into the tail gunner position on a B-25 harnesses in and then takes his shots. Not quite the kind of shooting at planes that the designers had in mind, but it’s good to know that they’re still using the position on the plane for something.

Here’s a picture of the tail gunner position from my flickr page:

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One of my early childhood memories from growing up in Southern California is of my dad showing me a litho print of the A4-D Skyhawk in flight that he’d brought home from work at the Douglas Aircraft Company. As I looked at the image, I thought to myself, “How did they get that picture?” never bothering to ask my dad and certainly never considering that decades later I would be immersed in the process.

Have you ever wondered how the aerial photos are taken for the articles and ads you see in Flying? Well, after over 1,000 magazine cover credits, and countless advertising campaigns for OEMs, I can tell you that although my name may appear on the credit line, there are a lot of behind-the-scenes people who helped the images come into being.

The photos you see in Flying aren’t just lucky shots, or three good images out of 500 taken. They are well planned, and well executed, with an emphasis on safety. If I’m shooting an article for Flying, featuring a new product, Editor in Chief J. Mac McClellan calls me about the assignment and tells me what he and Art Director Andrew Becker hope I’ll capture for the article. I then contact the public relations representative at the manufacturer and set up a date to fly the air-to-air, and shoot interiors and ground exterior shots. The total shoot lasts about four hours.




Rafael is an aviation geek, a consumer advocate, a dad, a multiple personality blogger, a photographer, politically opinionated, a videographer and many other things as well.