Photos from airplane windows: tips for getting killer shots every time you fly

Photos from airplane windows: get killer shots every time you fly

It’s always tempting to try and take aerial photos from airplane windows when traveling. Though it might seem like you’re quite limited in what you can do in this situation, there are a few ways you can ensure you get quality snaps. Below are our tips for getting killer photos from airplane windows every time you fly.

Photos from airplane windows: get killer shots every time you fly

You usually get the best views in the final phase of the flight, when approaching your destination. Do a bit of research in advance and, as far as possible, find out the flight plan.

You’ll then be able to work out the direction in which you’ll be flying and the time of day, so you can book a window seat on the best side of the plane.

Jet airliners are fairly free of vibration, but this isn’t the case with smaller propeller planes and helicopters. Sensor-shift or optical image stabilisation can help to eliminate camera shake and give you sharper shots.

Even so, it’s best to use a fairly quick shutter speed of 1/250sec or faster when taking photos from airplane windows.

The speed at which the ground is passing below you will appear to increase dramatically at lower altitudes, and especially when coming in to land – at which point 1/500sec is a safer bet.

An aperture of around f/8 to f/11 usually yields the best quality results in photos from airplane windows so, if lighting is fairly dull, increase your camera’s sensitivity (learn when to increase ISO settings) setting to enable the best balance of aperture and shutter speed.

To avoid unwanted reflections, position the front of the lens as close and parallel as possible to the window.

Finally, don’t rest the lens against the window, as this can increase the risk of camera shake as well as blurring from mirror-bounce when using an SLR.


79 travel photography tips you shouldn’t leave home without
Stop Wasting Pictures! 10 tips for bagging keepers every time
73 photo locations to shoot before you die