Question & Answer
Frequently Asked Questions for Aviation Enthusiasts (or Want to Be Enthusiasts)
Q: What is plane spotting?
A: Aircraft spotting has been defined as, “Aircraft spotting or plane spotting is the enjoyment, observation, and photography of aircraft: gliders, powered aircrafts, large balloons, airships, helicopters, and microlights”. In general, airplane spotting is a hobby that can be taken on by many in many different forms. It can be as simple as going out and watching planes through binoculars or the hobby can become much more complicated with fancy digital camera, notebooks, online tracking data and lots of statistics. It really is what you make of it!
Q: Are plane spotters a security threat?
A: While things have certainly changed since September 11th, and airplane spotters have to extremely careful about obeying laws, airplane spotting is not illegal. It is not considered to be a terrorist threat. Many of the origins of plane spotting actually trace back to World War Two when people in Europe were actually encouraged to go plane spotting to essentially become “an observations corps” which would help the military to protect public security.
Q: I’m interested in turning plane spotting in to a hobby! What should I do next?
A: I would suggest looking for a plane-spotting group in your area. There are quite a few groups across the United States. A club is a good way to practice, learn, get the inside scoop and meet new people!
Q: Do you have any tips for improving my aviation photography?
A: I would definitely say that the most important step is to practice, practice and practice some more! Spend as much time around planes as you can, and find a particular niche that you are especially passionate about. The more passionate you are, the more you work will improve. I would also say that you should spend a lot of time at air shows and airports. Air shows are very helpful because you can learn a lot about the history of particular airplanes as well as get ample opportunities to take pictures of planes. I also think you should try to volunteer with a photographer if you can. There will certainly be a lot you can learn from them! When it comes down to the specifics, the type of lens you are using, the lighting, the way you hold the camera, and the effect of clouds in your pictures are all extremely important.
Q: Do you have any tips if I want to make a successful career out of aviation photography?
A: The biggest tip I can offer you is to get as good as you can with the tips above and then make friends with a pilot! A pilot who agrees to buy your photo will be the key to your success in selling your photography! Word of mouth is absolutely important and once you have that credential from a reputable pilot, you will be as good as golden in the industry! Where can you meet a pilot? An air show is a good place to start!