It may be simplistic, but I've always taken the view that if I'm shelling out £50+ it's for a fairly exclusive (i.e. not something available to the masses) opportunity to photograph an aircraft or numerous aircraft in a controlled and well organised setting that would not otherwise be available to me. The money also covers donations to operators/charities, lighting, organisational costs, aircraft operation and people's time. The latter, where busy owners, operators and pilots are concerned, is not something to be underestimated.
Take the TLE Stow Maries shoot, for instance. Non-stop shooting on the BE2e, Albatros, Snipe and Scout from early evening until well after dark. It wasn't cheap, but nowhere else would I have the opportunity to photograph those aeroplanes with a clear backdrop, unimpeded by barriers of crowds, for several hours from as many angles as I want? After a wide angle with re-enactors? Got it. Close-up cockpit detail shots in sunlight? Done. Want an aircraft moved to shift the shadows from the fuselage? By all means. Multiple flights from the BE2 and Scout coincided with the shoot, and there were night runs from the Snipe (one at twilight, one in the dark) and Scout to conclude the evening. It was one of the best photoshoots I've been to, and absolutely worth the considerable price - how else would I ever have the opportunity to photograph those aeroplanes in such a way? It was so good that I bought a ticket to the next one without hesitation, and will likely buy a ticket to the dawn shoot (which looked wonderful last year).
The point around similar photos is one I've discussed with people before. I guess it is what you make it. I have been baffled by people congregating around one position at photoshoots, all getting the same front 3/4 shot from the same distance. Those who approach the subject with originality usually come away with the more dynamic results. The same applies to airshow photography. People covet topside passes, but how boring would it be if all you have to show of an airshow were topsides?
It all boils down to my first point, for me. I feel like I'm paying high end prices for a high end product, and will continue to do so as long as I'm getting what I perceive to be value for money.
Last edited by Elliott Marsh
on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.