Aerial picture tips


Since I have not been on an airplane for a year, I thought it might be time to tell you how to take pictures from one. And in sort, it is like this:

  1. Carry your camera, no bag, “underneath the seat in front of you”. Keep it discreetly when flight attendants walk by. A camera does not in any way endanger the aircraft. You could put the strap intop your seat belt to avoid the camera flying off in case of turbulence.
  2. Sit near a window (but not over the wing…).
  3. Wait until the plane banks, after take-off or before landing (as when turning final  in the picture of Manhattan above).
  4. Aperture mode, wide open, perhaps 100-200 ISO. Or you could try “sports” or “portrait” modes.
  5. Get close to the window – close, but no touching.
  6. Zoom in, but not extremely so: use the widest angle you can to still get the right composition.  Wide angles are less susceptible to vibration.
  7. Shoot repeatedly, as much at right angles to the window as you can.

Finally: you will find many aerial shots to be somewhat hazy. That can be fixed if the problem is not extreme. In Photoshop, do a “levels” adjustment to ensure the histogram goes from black to white.

It is as simple as that!

0 thoughts on “Aerial picture tips

  1. I have found airlines including cameras in the “all electronics switched off below 5,000(?) feet” rule. I have also been chided for taking photos over Singapore “for security reasons”. What’s your experience?

  2. Same. The ‘discreet’ point above means “hide the camera”. As an erstwhile pilot, en electronics engineer and a frequent flier, I can assure you, no harm will result from the camera. But the flight attendants, alas, do not know this. So hide the camera under your coat when they walk by… that works very well for me.

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