Aviation photography is an exciting and rewarding job! You get to hang around with famous, prominent people and hitch on their expensive rides while working. It’s true, ask Nick Gleis.
Pretty cool, eh?
Nick Gleis has been an aviation photographer for over 30 years. He has shot aircraft for the biggest aviation companies and the wealthiest of private clients. He is as likely to receive assignments from presidents, dictators or royalty as he is from Gulfstream, Boeing or Lear.
His striking series has been spreading from blog to blog recently, bringing disbelief to many viewers who would otherwise never get a window into this particular world of excess.
So how does he do it?
“My catch phrase is Capturing Aircraft Ambiance,” says Gleis. “Every photograph taken aboard an aircraft is an attempt to draw the viewer into the world that I am surrounded by when I take the photograph; a communication of the feeling that world gives me.”
Gleis has photographed over 800 private aircraft – ranging from the Lear 20 series to Boeing 747-400s. To date, he has photographed over 200 Gulfstream aircraft alone. Clients have included heads of state and royalty from Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, China the United Arab Emirates.
What advice can Gleis give to aspiring aviation photographers?
Gleis urges the photographer to do the leg work before clicking the shutter. “Pre-visualizing the final outcome, then assembling the necessary elements, is the way to create lasting images.”
“Far too many new photographers today rely on digital tricks and software to produce technically good images,” says Gleis, “but images that neither excite nor inform the viewer. I would advise all up-and-coming photographers to slow down and look at the scene very carefully. Is there a better angle? Is the lighting optimal? After all, lighting is everything.”
Even if Gleis had the opportunity to reveal all and photograph the owners, he wouldn’t be interested, “I am happiest when I am shooting and it doesn’t really matter what I am shooting … with the exception of people.I would rather work at WalMart than shoot portraits or weddings.”