Exceptional Photographs of Airplanes That Will Blow Your Mind

The first airplane to be successfully flown was on December 17, 1903. Since then, aviation has progressed at lightning speed, and the types of planes we see in the sky blow my mind. I have never entered the world of aviation photography, but I know plenty of photographers who have. In this article, we celebrate amazing photographers who excellently capture the essence of aviation.

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Bradley Wentzel Has the Best Photographs of Airplanes

For most of us, our view of airplanes happens while we’re on the ground and they’re in the air. Photographer Bradley Wentzel, however, wanted to level the playing field. He didn’t wait until the airplanes were grounded, oh no. Instead, he took himself into the sky and photographed them from that perspective. The results are spectacular and offer a POV-type experience for anyone who views his aviation photography. Take a look here.

Camden Thrasher Has Supersonic Photographs of Airplanes

First of all, Camden Thrasher might be the coolest name we’ve encountered in photography. But that plays no part in why we have an attraction to his work. Rather than show off commercial airplanes for his feature, he shared his incredible images of fighter jets. The power, the speed: they’re awe-inspiring. And Thrasher’s images are far from standard. The evidence of that is how he managed to capture an aircraft that was almost going as fast as the speed of sound. Take a look at the story behind it here.

Vincenzo Pace Photographs of Airplanes Are Commerical

Although more commonly seen, commercial aircraft still command respect and attention. When photographed by New York-based photographer Vincenzo Pace, you get to see commercial airplanes in all their glory. He’s another photographer who gets up high in the sky to document the aircraft. n doing so, he’s able to show an up-close and personal perspective of the aircraft. Such detail lets us enjoy how beautiful these pieces of machinery truly are. You can enjoy his work here.

Carl Schultz Uses Airplanes as Conceptual Props

Rather than capture Airplanes midflight, conceptual photographer Carl Schultz uses them as grounded props in his fantastic portrait photography. In an edition of Creating the Photograph, Schultz shared a portrait shoot of the CEO of an aviation company. The pair commandeered a Cirrus aircraft and then got to work. From lighting to posing, Shultz broke down each step of how he achieved his final images. You can learn more about them here.

Some Extras

Over the years, we have also featured some cool articles related to aviation. For example, back in 2017, we shared some tips for making images with your smartphone when sitting in an airplane. In this piece, we teach readers how to set the scene, use geometry, and edit the images in post-production.

Image used with Flickr CC Permission by Christopher Michel

If you have ever followed our series on the CIA’s relationship with photography, then you’ll know an aviation piece was part of that series. For those who don’t know, back in 2020, we wrote about how the CIA struggled with high-resolution color photography. In the same piece, we also shared the CIA’s difficulties when shooting at night, especially when photographing from the famous U-2 airplanes. You can read more about it here.

Fancy Yourself as an Aviation Photographer?

Aviation photography is incredible, but we feel we don’t see enough of this type of work because it’s harder to access. But, of course, we want more. If you photograph airplanes and feel your work is worth seeing, contact us via the form below. If we like it, we’ll be in touch! Thanks for reading.

Lead photo by Bradley Wentzel. All images used with permission.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host of professional photographers within the industry.