All aviation and plane photos and images are the sole property of Victor Pody. © 2013 - Website Design by DLL Photography and Design

ABOUT ME

As my name suggests I am Just, Plane Crazy. I don't just photograph aircraft and all things aviation for a job. I try and capture moments in time that generate discussion and interest. I love what I do and so will you. Read more about my Aviation Photography

MY AVIATION IMAGES

I am currently building a new website to showcase all of my aviation and aircraft images. In the meantime, check out my aircraft photos on some of the most popular and recognised Aviation Photography Websites.

CONTACT ME

I am always happy to answer questions in regards to my aircraft images and pricing for aviation photography. Contact a Professional Aviation Photographer.

“How do I take better photos?” is the question I hear from most eager and new to the scene aviation photographers.

I was extremely lucky to have many talented and generous photographers take me under their wing to show me the ropes over the years. Without their valuable advice there is no way I would have become the photographer I am today.

Ironically, the number one question I now get asked as a photographer who specialises in aviation imagery is “How do I take better photos?” and “How did you get that?”

So along with some tips that I’ve picked up over the years, I’ve recruited some outstanding avgeeks across Australia to share their own secret techniques about how they take their photos to the next level.

1. The closer the better!

Fill the frame with your subject and see how much better your photo will look without so much wasted space. The closer you are to the subject, the better you can see their finer details too. Aviation photography is a challenging genre as sometimes it’s physically impossible to get close. The use of a zoom lense is highly recommended.

2. Photograph every day

The best way to hone your skills is to practice….”a lot” of practice. Shoot as much as you can – it doesn’t really matter what. Spend hours and hours behind your camera. As your technical skills improve over time, your ability to harness them to tell stories will happen for you. 
I urge all beginning aviation photographers to experiment and test your boundaries.

3. See the light

Before you raise your camera, see where the light is coming from, and use it to your advantage. Whether it is natural light coming from the sun, or an artificial source like a lamp, how can you use it to make your photos better? How is the light interacting with the scene and the subject? Is it highlighting an area or casting interesting shadows? These are all things you can utilise to make an ordinary photo extraordinary.

4. Use flash during the day

You might think that you should only use flash at night time or indoors, but that’s not the case at all. If it is an extremely bright day outside and the sun is creating harsh shadows on your subject, switch on your flash. By forcing extra light onto your subject, you will be able to fill in those ugly shadows and create an even exposure.

5. ISO

There are questions to ask yourself when deciding what ISO to use:

What time of day are you shooting? If you are shooting outside during the middle of the day you will need to use a lower ISO such as 100 or 200. If you are shooting at night time without a tripod you will have to increase the ISO to a higher number to be able to record the light on the camera’s sensor.

Will the subject be well lit? If your subject or scene is too dark you will need to use a higher ISO such as 800 or 1600.

Do you want a sharp image or an image with more movement in it? Using a high shutter speed to capture fast movement might mean that you need to use a high ISO to compensate. Likewise, if you’re using a slow shutter speed to capture blur you will need a low ISO to compensate.

Don’t forget, increasing your ISO increases the grain or pixel size in your photo. So don’t use an ISO of 3200 or 6400 if you don’t want a photo with a lot of ‘digital noise’.

6. Buy books/magazines, not camera gear

Having expensive camera equipment doesn’t always mean that you’ll take good photos. I’ve seen some absolutely amazing images shot with nothing more than a smart phone. Instead of having ten different lenses, invest in some fantastic photography texts. By looking at the work of the professionals, not only do you get inspired, you come away with ideas to improve your own photos.

7. Read your camera’s manual

The best way to know what to do with your camera is to actually read the manual. So many people miss this really important step on their photographic journey. Every camera is different, so by reading the manual you’ll get to know all the creative things it’s capable of.

8. Slow down

Take time to think about what is going on in the viewfinder before pressing the shutter. How are you going to compose the shot? How are you going to light it? Have you got all the settings organised?

9. Stop chimping

Chimping is a colloquial term used in digital photography to describe the habit of checking every photo on the camera display (LCD) immediately after capture. It’s a bad habit digital photographers can develop. Time and time again I see photographers (and I’m guilty of this too) take a photograph and then look at the back of the screen straight away. By doing that you could miss all those unique moments flying past. You can look at your photos later. You can miss ‘that one shot’ and it affects the flow of your work, so just keep shooting!

10. Framing

This is a technique to use when you want to draw attention to something in your photograph. By framing a scene or a subject, say with a window or an archway, you lead the viewer’s eye to the primary focal point.

11. Working with light

Never shoot with the sun directly behind you. It creates boring, flat light on the subject. If you shoot with the light source to the side or behind the subject, you are able to shape with the light, creating a more interesting photo.

12. Watermarks

Create a watermark and date it. Protecting your image is key to any form of photography.

13. Shutter speed

Being aware of your shutter speed means the difference between taking a blurry photo and a sharp photo. It all depends on what you are after. If you are shooting a sporting event or children running around in the backyard, you probably want your subjects to be in focus. To capture fast action you will have to use a shutter speed over 1/500th of a second, if not 1/1000th to 1/2000th. On the opposite end of the scale, you might want to capture the long streaks of lights running through your shot. Therefore you would change your camera’s shutter speed to a long exposure. This could be one second, ten seconds, or even longer.

14. Charge your batteries

This seems like a simple one, but pretty much every photographer on the face of the planet has been caught out before. Including myself. The trick is to put the battery onto the charger as soon as you get home from your photo shoot. The only thing then is to make sure you remember to put it back into the camera after it has been recharged.

15. Focal length

Keep it simple. I shoot with two main lenses and one main work horse camera. For everything aviation, I use a 100-400mm lens 70% and the 70-200mm lens 30% of time. I also use a variety of other lenses depending on the effect I am trying to achieve.

16. Be part of a photographic community

Be part of an active group that offers feedback on how great you are going. You can learn new things to help you improve your technique, and you might even make some new photography mates. Victor Pody Photography on Facebook is a good starting point.

17. Have a camera on you at all times

You can’t take great photos if you don’t have a camera on you, can you? DSLR, point-and-shoot or smart phone, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you have access to a camera, you’re able to capture those spontaneous and unique moments that you might have otherwise missed.

18. The golden hour

Photograph aircraft in the golden hours, the light is softer and the colours are more vibrant.

19. Keep it simple

Don’t try to pack too many elements into your image; it will just end up looking messy. If you just include one or two points of interest, your audience won’t be confused at where they should be looking or what they should be looking at.

20. Don’t get bogged down by equipment

We’ve all seen these types of photographers out and about. They usually have three or four different cameras strapped around their necks with lenses long enough for an African safari. In reality, there’s probably no need for all that equipment. One body with one or two lenses means that you’ll be freer in your movements to capture interesting angles or subjects on the move.

21. Perspective

Perspectives are more engaging when we crouch down, or lie down, or elevate our position in reference to the subject. Look at how changing your perspective can change the visual language and implied power dynamics of the image. Crouching low can make your subject more dynamic, whereas gaining height on your subject can often minimize their presence in the image.

22. Be aware of backgrounds

What’s in your frame? So often I see great photos and think “didn’t they see that sign, truck or building etc?” It’s not just the object in your frame, it’s everything else in the background that can make or break a great photograph. Always try to get a clean background effect.

23. Don’t spend too much time post-processing

The key is to get it right in the camera first, so you don’t HAVE to spend time editing. Over working a photo in editing software very rarely looks good, unless you are trying to achieve a super-artsy effect. If it takes you longer than ten minutes to alter your photo, maybe think about going back out into the field to re-shoot it.

24. Variation

Variation is key. Try to capture aircraft in a variety of situations and light/weather conditions. Aim for a clear image that has contrast.

25. Hold your camera properly

You might not know it, but there is a right way and a wrong way to hold a DSLR camera. The correct way is to support the lens by cupping your hand underneath it. This is usually done with the left hand, with your right hand gripping the body of the camera. This helps to prevent camera shake. If you are gripping your camera with your hands on either side of the camera body, there is nothing supporting the lens, and you might end up with blurry photos. To get an even stable stance, tuck your elbows into the side of your body.

26. Be patient and persevere

With time, patience, and perseverance, you will get better with each and every photo you take.

Final advice from me…

Now that you know some of the rules, go ahead and break them! Experiment. Have fun. Learn from your mistakes. Make up your own tips and techniques for taking fantastic aviation photographs.

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