Aviation Photography: More Tips for Photographing the Interior of Your Business Aircraft

Aviation Photography: More Tips for Photographing the Interior of Your Business Aircraft

This is a post by guest author Jay Davis, owner of Jay Davis Aviation Photography. Jay was asked to contribute to this blog because of his expertise in aviation photography. Any thoughts expressed below are entirely Jay’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc.

This business aviation blog post continues from a previous article entitled, "Aviation Photography: Photographing the Interior of Your Business Aircraft."

If you currently have an aircraft for sale, lease, or charter, you want the most appealing photography of your aircraft’s interior and exterior. In previous articles, "Aviation Photography: Photographing the Interior of Your Business Aircraft" and "Aviation Photography: Photographing Your Business Aircraft’s Exterior," I shared photography tips and factors to consider when photographing your business aircraft. After those articles, here are five more tips on photographing your aircraft’s interior for even better results:

1. Remove the clutter

One of the most important items you want to consider when photographing the interior of a business jet is the cleanliness of the aircraft. Are the carpets, seats, and side panels clean? Has the galley area been cleaned, and have all the service items – including knives, forks, plates, and stemware – been placed in their respective storage compartments?

The cockpit is another place that you want to make certain is clean before you begin to photograph the aircraft. Are all pens, charts, headsets, and scratch pads put away? Make sure you remove any water bottles from along the side panels in both the cockpit and the main cabin.

2. Pay attention to seat belts

Believe it or not, seats belts are an important element in your photos. Seat belts should be placed nicely on top of each seat in the aircraft or should be removed from the photographs altogether, if possible, by hiding them under the seat cushions. If the seat belts remain visible, they should be placed in a nice, complementary pattern on the bottom seat cushion.

3. Stage the aircraft to tell a story

"Staging," or the arrangement of props and/or models akin to those on a theatrical set, can add a great deal to the photographs of your aircraft interior and is a nice way to show your audience how the interior looks when it is being used for work or dining. In order to present the best possible photographs of your aircraft, you should make sure that the staging of the aircraft is spotless.

To stage a dining scene, you can work with an in-flight caterer or a professional private flight attendant. Staged photographs add glamour, warmth, and interest to the finished product. You can use a nice bottle of wine or champagne and add some attractive flute glasses to lend an air of sophistication to an aircraft’s interior. Just the smallest touch of staging – whether food, wine, champagne, or floral arrangements – can improve otherwise ordinary interior photographs. Another option is to place aviation magazines, along with copies of popular newspapers, on the foldout tables of the aircraft.

4. Control the lighting

The key and most important step in aircraft interior photography is controlling the lighting, which often requires having the right skills and equipment. You’d be surprised how many people try to photograph their aircraft with the wrong equipment. For instance, some will use a standard point-and-shoot camera or mobile device camera. However, with such equipment it is impossible to control the lighting as accurately as needed for professional-looking photographs of an aircraft interior.

Additionally, you will want to make sure that the white balance/color temperature of the photographs is correct. Here again, a point-and-shoot camera will often leave the photographs with more of a yellow tint than is the true color of the interior of an aircraft. With a professional camera, adjustments can be made to obtain the correct color balance before taking the photographs.

You also want to make sure your lighting is even and soothing to the eye. Always make sure all reading lamps, as well as sidewall panel lights and overhead interior lights, are on. These lights will help to give the cabin a nice, even glow throughout the entire space. Also, ensure all the window shades are closed so that there is no distracting light, such as sunlight or hangar lights, entering the cabin from outside. My preference is to always photograph the aircraft interior inside a hangar with the hangar doors closed.

5. Avoid your reflection in the photographs

One more item you need to consider when photographing interiors is your reflection, or the reflection of whomever is taking the photographs, in the mirrors of the aircraft. Mirrors, which are there to make the interior seem more spacious than it actually is, are in almost every aircraft interior towards the rear of the aircraft.

There are techniques you can use to make sure you’re not reflected in the mirrors of the business aircraft. If all else fails, there are things you can do in the editing process as well to remove unwanted reflections from the final product; however, this can be a time-consuming process.

Closing thoughts

Taking time to prep the aircraft and control the lighting environment will make a world of a difference in your photography. If you need photos for a professional reason, such as selling your aircraft, I strongly recommend you consult with an experienced aviation photographer.


If you have any questions about this article or need assistance with photographing an aircraft, contact me at jaydavisphoto@gmail.com, or connect with me on LinkedIn.