This starts a new series where I will be interviewing people from different aspects of the airline industry. From pilots, to baggage handlers, to airline executives. If you have someone you would like to suggest for an interview or if you would be willing to be interviewed yourself, let me know!

Kras Air Tupolev Tu-154M RA-85702 is climbing into a surrealistic sky.

Kras Air Tupolev Tu-154M RA-85702 is climbing into a surrealistic sky.

When creating each blog I try to find a picture that corresponds with the story. Sometimes this is an easy 10 second task, but most times it takes me a bit longer to find a picture I really enjoy and that fits well. A great number of times I end up wanting to use one Photographer, Thomas Becker through Flickr. I emailed him a few questions and here are his answers:

The Airline Blog: How does the airline photography business work?
Thomas Becker: For me it is no business. I am doing aviation photography and post processing as a hobby. If there was a chance to earn money with it, I would definitely take it!

TAB: What types of clients do you get?
TB: From time to time I get asked by different organizations or companies, if I am willing to allow them to use one or more of my photos. Up to now there was no “paid” contract.

TAB: How do you get the type of access you need to take great photos?
TB: Almost all of my photos were taken at Frankfurt Airport (FRA/EDDF). Fraport is offering a limited number of good photo positions for spotters. There is no need to get special access to restricted areas to get good shots.

TAB: What is your favorite airplane to photograph? What is your favorite airline?
TB: My favorite airplane is the Tupolev Tu-154 which is no longer in service to Frankfurt. The 747 is great, too, as this aircraft still is the most elegant in the sky. From a photographic point of view, S7 Airlines is my favorite one as they really stand out with their green livery followed by Vietnam Airlines with their beautiful deep blue and yellow paint scheme.

TAB: What is your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, or most thought-provoking experience during a photo shoot?
TB: Every photographer is looking for “special” occasions he can shoot with his camera. A lot of them could easily be caught on video like aborted take-offs, go-arounds due to a blocked runway or a runway change shortly before touchdown.

So, for me as a photographer I am looking for unusual situations like funny faces during short finals, smoking landings (usually freighters…) and power-ups (you should see a 777 powering up her engines…) as well as rarely seen aircraft like military or private jets. The most bizarre experience was an aborted take-off of a B747 due to an engine failure – the complete runway length was necessary to stop as the decision to abort was taken almost at V1.

TAB: Do you keep up with the airline industry news? Anything on your mind?
TB: I am reading a number of magazines and blogs that cover the airline industry. Additionally I am discovering Twitter as an efficient source of information.

TAB: Why airline photography?
TB: When living near a large airport like Frankfurt and doing photography with semi-professional equipment, two things come together that lead to airline photography automatically. It´s a great activity that helps developing photographic skills as well as finding the right motives. And it´s fun! Aviation still is a very special way of transportation that fascinates a lot of people. I am one of them.

TAB: Do you see the airline industry differently through the lens of the camera?
TB: One thing adds to another – I was always interested in the airline industry, and that was fueled by starting aviation photography a few years ago. With my photography, I try to show the most beautiful sides of this industry.

TAB: Anything else you would like to share?
TB: Those who are interested in airline photography should invest into a DSLR camera and a good telezoom lens and
remember: the first 10,000 photos will be your worst! 😉

TAB: I have messed with my own pics on Flickr and it can be time consuming, how do you handle the thousands you have?
TB: I have built up a work-flow within Adobe Lightroom that works very well and minimizes the amount of manual work. I am using a 24″ iMac with an additional 24″ LCD. Within Lightroom two Plugins do the work in adding geotags into the EXIF data and exporting the photos to Flickr. Jeffrey Friedl has done a great work in developing these Plugins – the latest version is able to add photos to the Flickr groups/pools upfront, so A LOT of manual work is no longer necessary.

For me tagging, geotagging and machine tags are very important as the number of photos I have posted is several thousands now. You will find my photos in a number of groups – I personally run 23 of them like “Airplanes: Nose Shots” or “Aircraft with Names”.

Flickr is so great that I cannot remember anything in my “computerized” life (that started back then in 1982 with a Commodore 64) that had a similar impact on my free time…

Please feel free to check out Thomas’ other pictures on his Flickr account.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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Wow! That was really interesting! Is he German?


i wish i could take better pictures and do stuff like this. oh well, i normally will just go to a local park and watch the aircraft as the land and takeoff and that is enough for me!

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