Like anything else in photography, it begins with knowing your subject. Researching the aircraft’s history from build to current status is crucial for telling its story. Many aircraft, particularly, warbirds and vintage planes, have a very unique history to share. Look at others work you admire to get an idea of what appeals to you and how you may want to shoot various aircraft both statics and ground-to-air.
Knowing the layout of the airshow or the event prior to arrival allows for your to create an itinerary you can follow for the day. Having a plan of what performers will be in the air or aircraft on the ground can make for a much more enjoyable photographic experience. Decide on what gear you are going to take and how you are going to get it around safely. Create a shot list that you want to accomplish and when possible talk to others who have experience.
Aviation photography requires good technique with hand-holding and with panning. Practicing prior to getting to the event is crucial and will increase your chances of coming away with great images. Knowing when to shoot in shutter priority or aperture priority and making all these changes second nature is what allows you to focus on what you are there for, the great aircraft.
This where all the research, planning and practice pays off. Being able to put the camera to your eye with confidence knowing the settings are right, your technique is sound will make it all pay off with stunning images. Take your time! Zoom in to capture the concentration of the pilot or stay a bit wider to capture gesture. Aviation photography is so rewarding with proper ground work.