If you're jetting off to warmer shores this summer and want to capture a few shots out of your plane's window, here are a few tips to help you ensure your images are good enough for the start of your holiday photo collection.
Don't Get Carried Away With Kit
Do be considerate of those sitting next to you which means you can't empty all of your kit into your lap from your bag. Turn beeps and other noises off as these will just annoy those around you and don't take photos during takeoff, landing or when electronic equipment isn't allowed to be used. Most Smart Phones have decent cameras on them now and these are slightly more discreet than a DSLR but do remember to activate airplane mode before takeoff if you do plan on using your phone's camera.
Choose Your Seat
The majority of airlines now let you pick your seat so if you really do want to take top shots from your seat, think about your selection carefully as not all seats will give you a clear view. Of course, you'll need to make sure you have a window seat as a stranger won't appreciate you leaning over them. Towards the front or back of the plane will give you the best view but do remember you do get the odd seat that only has half a window as it's in between two seats. Try to avoid sitting directly over the wing too as all you'll be able to take photos of is the wing. Once onboard, if you can't position yourself so the window frame isn't in shot, take your photo anyway and just crop it out once you're in front of your computer.
Be Aware Of Camera Shake & Reflections
When at zoos, museums or other locations where glass can mean reflections spoil your shots you'd normally put your lens against the glass to prevent this but on a plane, this will just result in shake, caused by the plane's engines, to spoil your shots. Instead, use a lens hood and get as close to the glass as possible without touching it or cup your hand around the lens to shield it. You'll also want avoid using flash and turn off your overhead light if it's on to minimise the amount of reflection you see on the pane.
Use Manual Focus
Some windows will be badly scratched which can make focusing tricky. Switching to manual focus can help but sometimes they'll be so badly scratched that anything you take will be slightly fuzzy but you won't know this until you sit in your seat. If you're using a compact, to stop it focusing on the window, set it to infinity focus or switch on the Landscape mode.
Wait For The Right Angle
Due to the small window and the angle you'll be sat at it can be tricky to take photos of the ground but if you have your camera ready for when the plane banks you'll be given the perfect opportunity to capture ground shots.
What To Photograph
Try not to get carried away taking the same shots over and over again, instead look for interesting cloud formations, patterns created by fields, roads etc., sunsets and other planes. The wing, especially if you have a brilliant blue sky behind it, can make an interesting shot, too.
Take Your Shots Early In The Flight
If possible, shoot earlier rather than later as condensation and ice tend to build up on plane windows the longer it is in the air. If there's something you want to capture that's closer to your destination consider shooting it on the return journey rather than shooting through a window with condensation.
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