Blog

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3-R

A couple of weeks ago I had an unexpected last minute shoot with a friends Bentley Continental GT3-R. I was very lucky to have a camera with me and a spare battery (Fujifilm batteries do not tend to last very long). GEAR I had the 18-135 and the 35mm with me and ended up using… Continue reading BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3-R

CHASING CLOUDS

I'm proud to announce that my book 'Chasing Clouds' is now up for sale. Chasing Clouds By Giel Sweertvaegher   This year should have been packed with memorable moments and many photo flights, just like any one of the last 13 years that I have been taking to the skies. There’s no need to explain… Continue reading CHASING CLOUDS

CANCELLED

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blogpost about how I photographed my evening walks during the Corona lockdown. At that time I wasn't sure what I would do with the images. All my attention was focussed on making a book about my aviation photography. Since I wanted to test the printservice and the… Continue reading CANCELLED

SHAPING AN IMAGE; SELECTIVE EDITING

Compare the two images below and there is no doubt that the second image is better in every way possible. The first one just doesn't have that extra punch that the second one does have. (I do realize I should have worked the shadow behind his head away. I can't stop noticing it.) It happens… Continue reading SHAPING AN IMAGE; SELECTIVE EDITING

TURNING A DECADE WORTH OF PHOTOS INTO A BOOK – PART II

Two weeks ago I started working on a book project about my aviation photos. You can catch up by reading the blogpost I wrote earlier. I don't want this book to be just a random collection of photos I made over the years. It doesn't necessarily have to tell a story either, but there needs… Continue reading TURNING A DECADE WORTH OF PHOTOS INTO A BOOK – PART II

HOW DO YOU PHOTOGRAPH A LOCKDOWN?

How do I photograph a lockdown? I asked myself that question when the lockdown started here in Belgium around the 15th of March. I knew from the beginning that I wouldn't be able to shoot any documentary work in hospitals or anything. So I thought I'd end up with a series about emptiness. You know,… Continue reading HOW DO YOU PHOTOGRAPH A LOCKDOWN?

TURNING A DECADE WORTH OF PHOTOS INTO A BOOK – PART I

With Corona turning 2020 into the year of cancellations, I found it to be a good time to look back at my photo work. I already edit some old photos from travels, but now I also took the time to go through 13 years worth of aviation photos and a decade worth of air to… Continue reading TURNING A DECADE WORTH OF PHOTOS INTO A BOOK – PART I

RE-EDITING OLD PHOTOS DURING CORONA QUARANTINE

Although myself and everyone I know are still healthy, Corona still pretty much fucked up my year. Since all airshows are cancelled so are all the photo flying projects in July. So instead of flying in the UK for two weeks, I'll be sitting at home. And also my trip around the world in July-August… Continue reading RE-EDITING OLD PHOTOS DURING CORONA QUARANTINE

I FINALLY BOUGHT A 35MM; A REVIEW

Why the 35mm? For the past few years I almost exclusively shot with my 18-135mm lens. The lens is perfect for air to air photography, certainly with the 55-200mm on my second body. When traveling it allows me to shoot basically everything. The only problem is the size, which makes it difficult to stay under… Continue reading I FINALLY BOUGHT A 35MM; A REVIEW

HOW I EDIT SCANNED FILM IN LIGHTROOM

Last blogpost I made was about shooting with a Kodak Disposable camera. That post focussed on what I learned and some of the experiences I had shooting with the camera. This one will focus on editing the scanned film. The editing is done in Lightroom and as you can see in the videos below it… Continue reading HOW I EDIT SCANNED FILM IN LIGHTROOM

WHAT I LEARNED SHOOTING A DISPOSABLE CAMERA

A couple of months ago I saw an advertisement for a Kodak Funsaver disposable camera. It was priced at 11 euros and because it seemed cheap I ordered one. Except for Polaroid I never photograph with anything else than digital cameras, so I was excited to see how I would like this. Of course these… Continue reading WHAT I LEARNED SHOOTING A DISPOSABLE CAMERA

TESTING THE NEW GOPRO SETUP

I recently bought a chest strap for my GoPro and tested it a couple of weeks ago while taking some pictures at a local botanical garden. I was finishing a roll on a Kodak disposable camera and also shot some polaroids on the SX-70. I'll make a full blogpost about the disposable soon, but I… Continue reading TESTING THE NEW GOPRO SETUP

SX-70 POLAROID CAMERA

I've been taking pictures with a Polaroid Impulse camera since about two years. A couple of months ago I borrowed an SX-70 camera from my brother and head out to New York for a short trip. It was a great opportunity to test this famous instant camera. The SX-70 is remarkably compact in comparison with… Continue reading SX-70 POLAROID CAMERA

2020 PRESET PACK

2020 has arrived so it's time for a new preset pack with my new and most used Lightroom presets of 2019. This pack includes 10 new presets (8 color, 2 black and white) and is now for sale on my preset webshop: https://creativemarket.com/GielS Below you can see the before and after photos of several of… Continue reading 2020 PRESET PACK

MY FAVOURITE PHOTOS OF 2019

2019 has been quite the year and with 2020 just a few days away I found it appropriate to share my favourite photos from the last 12 months. I feel my photography has grown a lot this year and I feel more confident in photographing my travels. I think most of my pictures are no… Continue reading MY FAVOURITE PHOTOS OF 2019

NAILING A FORMATION PHOTO OVER THE ACROPOLIS

This post is about one of the most challenging photos we made this season with the Aviation PhotoCrew. Trying to catch the Patrouille De France over the Acropolis in Athens. Last year (September 2018) we had a flight planned over the Acropolis with the PC-7 Team and afterwards with the Aegean Airlines A320. Since I… Continue reading NAILING A FORMATION PHOTO OVER THE ACROPOLIS

MAKING AIR TO AIR POLAROIDS

Ever since I got a Polaroid Impulse camera I had the idea to take air to air polaroids. I never got to it because of several reasons. I can't hang out the back of a Skyvan shooting polaroids because theres always a chance that the polaroid goes flying out. It's also not practical to have… Continue reading MAKING AIR TO AIR POLAROIDS

HALLOWEEN IN NYC

When I went to New York I expected to take a bunch of photos on Halloween and even though I knew I wouldn't be at the parade I still had an image in my head of what it could be. For halloween evening we had planned to go to a pumpkin festival about an hour… Continue reading HALLOWEEN IN NYC

AIR TO AIR SHOOT WITH THE SU-27

There are only a handful of jet types I still wish to see flying next to me and the Sukhoi 27 has been on that list for a very long time. But last September, as a member of the Aviation Photocrew, I finally got my opportunity to photograph this big jet! Since the opportunity arose during… Continue reading AIR TO AIR SHOOT WITH THE SU-27

NEW YORK 2015 VS. 2019

This October I had the luck to visit New York for the second time. Visiting New York is always a treat, visiting on Halloween is even cooler. Besides this I was very happy to be able to explore the city again and take the pictures I felt I couldn't take last time I was there.… Continue reading NEW YORK 2015 VS. 2019

STORYTELLING IN AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY

I used to shoot more aviation on the ground than in the air, but the past years the ground-air ratio slowly moved towards the air. Nowadays, when it comes to shooting aviation, I mostly shoot air to air pictures. And no matter how much fun it is to do these flights, I was very happy… Continue reading STORYTELLING IN AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY

OVERCOMING THE FEAR OF PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLE

I never liked to photograph people. When I exclusively photographed aircraft I did shoot the crews too, but that was all I did when it comes to photographing people. I've never been confident enough to do portrait photography and I never liked it, but recently, after a couple of years of shooting more than aviation, I… Continue reading OVERCOMING THE FEAR OF PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLE

STAYING CREATIVE IN AIR TO AIR PHOTOGRAPHY

There's nothing so exciting in aviation photography as getting close to the planes. And no matter how much fun it is to stand between jets, it is more fun to have one on your wing. I had the luck to do air to air photo shoots for the last 10 years and even though it's… Continue reading STAYING CREATIVE IN AIR TO AIR PHOTOGRAPHY

’92 PORSCHE NEON BTS

The first day of my summer holidays I spent the evening shooting an '92 Porsche. Ever since I saw 'Drive' by Nicolas Winding Refn years ago, I wanted to do a shoot with neon lights, but it never happened until now. It was actually after showing pictures I found on Instagram of a Porsche shoot… Continue reading ’92 PORSCHE NEON BTS

SHOOTING BLACK AND WHITE IN LONDON

Last month was quite busy with traveling. First I went to the southern part of Mexico for two weeks and at the end of the month I visited a friend in London for a couple of days. Not only was it a lot of fun, but I also learned a ton about shooting people on… Continue reading SHOOTING BLACK AND WHITE IN LONDON

HOW I EDIT #1

In this series I'll post videos that show how I edit my photos. In this first short clip I show some very basic editing. Depending on the interest I'll post more of these that show more of the complex edits (selective editing, retouching, etc). First one is from a recent bike shoot. https://youtu.be/Et7yxOCf2sQ   Thoughts,… Continue reading HOW I EDIT #1

5 THINGS I LEARNED DURING MY FIRST MOTORCYCLE SHOOT

Last Sunday I did my first real motorcycle shoot. I had some previous experience from taking pictures at a couple of events, but I never did a real shoot. It was a last minute call so I didn't have the time to really plan it and things didn't go exactly as I thought they would.… Continue reading 5 THINGS I LEARNED DURING MY FIRST MOTORCYCLE SHOOT

BLACK APP REVIEW

In short BLACK is an iOS app that lets you put black and white filters over your photos. The filters are based on analog black and white film like apx400 or Ilford HP5. Design BLACK has a super sleek black and white design. The different filters are prominently visible on top of the screen and… Continue reading BLACK APP REVIEW

A GUIDE TO AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY

Index Disclaimer Museums vs. airports vs. airshows It's not about what you know, but who you know Gear Settings What to shoot Lighting Air to air photography Editing Making money Disclaimer Every now and then I get asked on social media about photography and especially my aviation photography. From the gear I use to what… Continue reading A GUIDE TO AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY

HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM AESTHETIC

For the past 5 years I have tried to gain a following on Instagram and failed miserably. It's only since about two years that my following grew above a couple of thousand. Since that first post in 2014 I have learned a lot and mostly that a beautiful feed rakes in more followers than one… Continue reading HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM AESTHETIC

FLYING IN THE HIMALAYAS

The Nepal trip was one with meany memorable moments, a couple of near death experiences, a lot of waiting and, most importantly, a lot of flying. And what better place to fly than the peaks of the world: the Himalayas. In what follows I will focus on three separate flights we did that involved the… Continue reading FLYING IN THE HIMALAYAS

THE BEST JOB I NEVER HAD

I often get told that I have the best job in the world. I'm always a little surprised cause my job is teaching history to teenagers. It's not bad, but I wouldn't exactly call it the best. Then I realize that those people are mistaken. They don't know about my actual job, because they only… Continue reading THE BEST JOB I NEVER HAD

FLYING AT THE WORLDS DEADLIEST AIRPORT

The blogpost below is about my personal experiences when I went flying at Lukla; Nepal. I had the luck to go there as a member of the Aviation PhotoCrew. There will be a full report at our website soon that will cover more of the background and will have more pictures by other members. I… Continue reading FLYING AT THE WORLDS DEADLIEST AIRPORT

THE PERFECT CAMERA BAG?

The quest for the perfect bag It's something specific to photographers, but we're always looking for that one camerabag. That one that is stylish, comfortable, not too small, not too big, ... In the past years I tried several setups. From backpacks to shoulder bags to combinations of both. But nothing really worked. The closest… Continue reading THE PERFECT CAMERA BAG?

A GUIDE TO AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

A couple of years ago I had the luck to strap myself into a helicopter somewhere in New Jersey. Taking off in complete darkness, I was sitting with my feet on the skids. Soon we were flying over the Statue of Liberty and World Trade One towards Times Square. It was 31 of december, it… Continue reading A GUIDE TO AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

A BEGINNING AND AN ENDING

It's strange to say, but everything I do in photography and basically in my free time, is thanks to a helicopter. And all that is now coming to an end. When I was 8 years old my parents took me to the annual airshow of Koksijde. As soon as I laid eyes on the Seaking… Continue reading A BEGINNING AND AN ENDING

BEST HONG KONG PHOTO SPOTS

On April 2, 2018 I was standing in Brussels Airport with my wife and good friend Eric. He wanted to go away for a few days and do some fun stuff. He asked me and my wife to join him on the trip. We had no clue yet where we were going, but he had… Continue reading BEST HONG KONG PHOTO SPOTS

TAKING A PHOTO EVERY DAY FOR 1500 DAYS

On January first 2015 I found myself sitting at a table at my grandparents house. I put a fisheye lens on my iPhone 5 and snapped a picture of my family celebrating the new year. As you can see the fisheye didn't work that well and the photo isn't particularly a good photo. But I… Continue reading TAKING A PHOTO EVERY DAY FOR 1500 DAYS

3 WAYS TO MAKE BETTER INSTAGRAM STORIES

Instagram stories has been around for a few years now and you can't open the app without having new stories to watch. Some people seem to have understood what Instagram stories are all about and made it their own, creating interesting series or using it in an entertaining way. I may not be one of… Continue reading 3 WAYS TO MAKE BETTER INSTAGRAM STORIES

HOW AIR TO AIR PHOTOS ARE MADE

I often get asked on Instagram how my photos of these airplanes in flight are made. The answer is less complicated than some expect but non the less quite spectacular. Taking air to air photos is not that hard from a photographic point, but logistically and organization wise it's more difficult. First of all there's… Continue reading HOW AIR TO AIR PHOTOS ARE MADE

A GUIDE TO POD SITES

1. What is POD? Let me start by explaining what POD means. POD stands for Print On Demand. It means you are outsourcing the work. As a seller it means you upload a photo and the website you’re uploading to will handle all the work. They will print and ship the product and they take… Continue reading A GUIDE TO POD SITES

PRESETS EXPLAINED

I regularly get asked about the tones and colour grading in my images or how I edit my photos. A big part of the answer lays in my usage of presets. Even today a lot of people still don't know what presets are; what they have to offer; how you can make them or where… Continue reading PRESETS EXPLAINED

2 BEST APPS FOR EDITING ON YOUR PHONE

Imagine campervanning through Scotland for two weeks and having to carry a Macbook Pro with you, only to be able to post some Instagram stories. Or imagine not being able to provide a photo to a pilot or display team for their social media because you can only send it after editing on your laptop… Continue reading 2 BEST APPS FOR EDITING ON YOUR PHONE