Spotting Q & A

Hey everyone!

As some others and myself are making a new spotting guide for the new year, we just want to know what kind of things you want to know. Let us know!

Examples: Best settings for night photography, how to shoot airshows… etc.

1 Like

Are you allowed to plane spot inside of the airport?

How to make your planes look so crisp.

1 Like

Could you do a little guide on panning? Really good technique to understand and useful for airshows especially for takeoff rolls and low fly pasts

Night Photography, always fail in that part.

1 Like

I would like to know about photography on a mobile device.

1 Like

Depends on the Airport. At KTPA (Tampa, FL) the parking is on top of the main hub, and is really high up, so it’s prefect for spotting.

And of course in terminals you can spot

Other airports, that’s not available. But like on the tarmac or outside where the aircraft actually are, I don’t believe you can without permission.

It’s hit or miss. Some of the top end phones you can get decent photos but a real camera, like a DSLR are your best bet.

I use a Canon Rebel T5, with a 75mm-300mm Lense for far shooting, and a 35mm-50mm for close shooting.

Long exposure, and always use a tripod.

Because the camera is open for a much longer time, and it’s basically tracking lights, any movement will cause a blur.

What if I’m on a plane with limited legroom?

1 Like

It comes down to lense and focus. If you’re far from the aircraft use a big lense. I personally use a 75mm-300mm lense. Same goes for up close. A smaller lense is better, I use a 35mm-50mm lense.

When you first arrive, set your focus to manual focus, and then take a few test photos to figure out what’s focused and what’s not.

Always take test photos before anything else

Also the mode you use. I use sports mode for daytime because it allows for a bunch of photos to be take in quick succession. Nightime I use manual mode to set up my apature and iso speed

Use a monopod instead.

Also forgot to mention you’ll want a lower apature to let more light in. And with saying that, make sure you try to eliminate as much background light as possible. It’ll reduce glare in the window. Also don’t use a flash.

1 Like

Use an expensive camera.

This should help everyone

If you are on the ground and stationary, i.e waiting for pushback or holding short and using a mobile device then make sure you hold the phone as flush to the window as possible (actually having a boring black phone as apposed to white or a blingy rose gold can help as it also reduces reflections) and there are apps such as Cortex, Average Camera Pro and Manual Camera + which will help in low light and on some devices allow you some degree of control over shutter speed etc

1 Like


GoPro Long Exposure photography is great for airplanes.

I recommend a suction cup mount for the window.

Here is a great article on how to do it.

No way. It’s as simple as pointing your phone and pressing the button on your screen. No need for me to help you with that.

1 Like

Yeah, I wouldn’t bust out a monopod on a packed plane. Good luck with that.

Higher aperature? More like lower! You will be getting some pretty dark exposures with F22…Use F3-5 for long exposures.

1 Like

Good catch. Thank you for that.