How To Get Killer Photos From Airplane Windows

rainfall through airplane window

Okay, I know it’s so tempting to try to take some aerial photos every time you are flying. And for many people this is the number one reason why you should always ask for window seat. Although at times you may feel a bit limited with options when you are sitting with a shaking camera in your hand. There is not much that you can do in such situation, but still you can get those killer photos from airplane windows by following our tips every time you fly high.

clouds from airplane window

The most important thing is to keep in mind that you mostly get the best views in the final phase of your flight, when you are approaching your destination. So before your arrival at airport for check-in on the flight, do a little bit of research to find out your flight plan so that you will know which direction you’ll be flying and what time of the day. Depending on this information, you can ask for the window seat on the best side of the plane.

airplane window photography

Consider the direction of the flight and the time of sunrise and sunset. If you fly early northbound then the sun will rise on the right side of the plane. If you want to get a nice sunrise or sunset photo you need to take this into consideration.

Try to carry camera and lenses which have optical image stabilisation. Although most jet airliners are vibration proof, but at times of bad climate or turbulence your camera with optical image stabilizer will reduce the camera shakes resulting in sharper shots.

The best thing to keep in mind is to use a high ISO and quick shutter speed of at least 1/250 sec or even faster for getting sharper images without distortion. This is best for high altitude aerial photography when your plane is high above and moving fast.The key for a sharp shot is to avoid motion blur.aerial view baliaerial view bali

mountain range aerial view

As for lower altitudes or when you are coming to land, you will find the ground below will appear to pass swiftly. The best way to have killer shots at this level is 1/500 sec shutter speed.

An aperture of around f/8 – f/11 mostly gives the best quality results in photos from airplane windows. The idea is to have the perfect balance between aperture and shutter settings.mountain range aerial view

aerial view bali

The most common mistake people make is to put their camera’s lens right up against the glass of the plane window, to cut down on reflections and have a steady shot.

Make sure to keep your lens close and parallel to the window, in order to avoid reflections from the window glass. However,  you should never rest the lens against the window which may result in blurring and camera shake.

water fall aerial view

Windows tend to ice up or get condensation on long flights. Shoot early when you’re window is clearer and your shots will be better for it.

Try to get a window seat in the front part of the plane. Avoid the wings because they will take most of the frame, and the back of the plane because it is very bumpy.

thai airways in clouds

Use focal lengths from 24mm to 200mm. A wider lens will probably get the window in the frame, telephoto zoom lenses are good because you might focus in a small feature on the ground below the plane. A couple of lenses that you can change quickly are the best kit for your flight. And don’t forget to leave the lens stabilizer (VR) on.mountain range aerial view

Don’t use any filters. UV or polarizers can produce some funny effects with the plane windows. Avoid them and use lens hood instead to prevent flares from lights inside the aircraft.

Don’t take your photos at an angle to the window. This will increase optical distortion from the windows. Stop unwanted window reflection coming back into your pictures.

Don’t use flash photography. The window glass will just reflect your flash back into your photo.sunset airplane window

sunset airplane window

And finally take your photos quickly, the plane is moving quickly, if you see something that you find interesting, it may be out of view the time you raise your camera.

Any more camera tips or tricks that you can share about aerial photography?

Photo credit: ebaumsworld.com

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