Air-to-air photography is the art of photographing aircraft in the air,
by using another aircraft as a photo platform.
Air-to-air photography is always carefully planned and briefed with pilots involved to ensure a safe flight and the best photographic results. We have made photo flights in all types of aircraft, varying from light aircraft and helicopters to supersonic fighter jets, so we know exactly how to get the best shots out of every minute airborne.
We hope this introduction to air-to-air photography provides you with an idea of what we do and what we are looking for. If we aren’t already in contact, we are always happy to hear from you so we can discuss both your and our expectations. Of course, we will provide you with a selection of our best photos, so a well-prepared flight produces outstanding images for your organization as well as for our publications!
Types of Flights
We basically distinguish between two types of photo flights: dedicated photo flights and orientation photo flights. Dedicated photo flights comprise a formation flight or a flight containing elements of formation flying, ideally with predefined manoeuvers briefed to all pilots. Orientation photo flights provide us with a rare glimpse of how military pilots and their crews operate. For instance, we have flown with demonstration teams and we photographed parachute drops from transport aircraft and training sorties with SAR helicopters.
Even though we usually prefer a dedicated photo flight, we can always find a way, when necessary, to combine operational training with formation flying for photos. If we make a training flight in a helicopter and another helicopter is scheduled to fly at about the same time, having the two birds fly in formation, even if just for a couple of minutes, would help us capture the photos we need.
Article and Photo Markets
The photos we take are used primarily to illustrate our own articles in magazines. However, because magazine editors and book publishers are always welcome to request photos from our thousands of archived images, photos taken during a visit to your air arm may have a prolonged publication life.
Air-to-air photography is a crucial aspect of our work. Capturing photos of aircraft in flight allow us to publish striking articles in the world’s leading military aviation magazines. Articles with air-to-air photographs are generally longer and are published in more magazines than are articles without air-to-air shots.
What’s in It for You?
Of course the photos we take are also available to the air arms and squadrons whose work is documented. Framed copies of our best photos in poster size find their way to squadron buildings and headquarter offices around the world. It is our way to say thank you! In addition we digitally deliver pin-sharp, 18-megapixel photos, which can be used for many products including books, briefings, brochures, calendars, leaflets, presentations and websites.
Although we normally initiate the first contact, we are always happy to discuss the possibilities in case you are interested in having us make air-to-air photographs of your aircraft. If the photographic conditions meet our requirements, and if we are allowed to publish the photos in magazines, we we will not charge your organization for the photo shoot!
Dirk Jan de Ridder and Menso van Westrhenen have many hours of experience flying photo sorties in aircraft ranging from the Alouette III helicopter to the MiG-21 fighter jet. Below is an overview of the military aircraft and armed forces we have flown with.
14 Air arms
111.5 Flight hours
We photographed 50+ different aircraft types during these flights:
A-1 AMX, A310-304MRTT, An-26 Curl, AS332B1 Super Puma, AS532AL/U2/UL Cougar, Bo-105ATH, C-130B Hercules, C-130J-30 Super Hercules, C-295M, CH-47D Chinook, CH-146 Griffon, CT-155 Hawk, CT-156 Harvard II, DHC-1-200 Chipmunk, EC135T1/T2+, EC665 Tigre HAP, EF2000 Typhoon, EH101-514/515/516 Merlin, EV-97 Eurostar, Extra 300L, F-5EM/F Tiger II, F-15C Eagle, F-16A/AM Fighting Falcon, Hkp15A, IAR-330L Puma, IAR-330L SOCAT, KC-135R Stratotanker, KT-1T Woongbi, L-39C Albatros, Let-410UVP-S Turbolet, Mi-2 Hoplite, Mi-17 Hip, MiG-21 LanceR A/B, Mirage 2000C, P-3C Orion, Rafale B/C/M, SA316B Alouette III, Sea King Mk41, Sk60B, T-25A/C Universal, T-27 Tucano, T-38M Talon, TB30 Epsilon, Tornado IDS, VC-10 C1K and Zlin 142C-AF.
Frequently Asked Questions