We often get asked about our photographic requirements so we thought we'd publish them here to assist those sending in, or thinking about sending in features. 

In order to save time and ensure consistent photographic quality throughout RCM&E the following pointers are provided to assist in the preparation of a model aeroplane product test. Please note, they should be seen as a minimum requirement  and are not intended to stifle artistry or restrict a photographers freedom to improvise or innovate with alternative locations, unusual lighting or special effects.

1.    Please ensure that all photos are taken in good light. Unless studio facilities are available natural light is always preferable. Staged construction photos are often better taken outside against a neutral background, such as a photographic paper backdrop or an uncreased (plain) ironed bed sheet.
2.    If shooting in direct sunlight please avoid hard shadows from nearby objects and spectators.
3.    For close-up pictures please avoid close contact with heavily textured surfaces such as grass, brickwork, paving and concrete. If it becomes necessary to shoot detail against a grass background, please suspend the subject at waist height (or above) in order to produce a shallower depth of field (area of sharp focus) and thus a blurred background.
4.    Please avoid cluttered backgrounds, i.e. remove unnecessary debris from around and behind the subject. Your garden is the worst place to take a photograph unless it is large enough to omit all garden ornaments, flowerbeds, bins, barbecues and / or similar garden furniture from the photo. Please also note: conifers and hedges do not make suitable backdrops.
5.    Please check that photos are clear of obtrusive objects in the medium to long range. Examples of things to avoid in this respect are trees, telegraph poles, cars, fences, casual bystanders and other distracting elements that can appear to sprout from the focal point of the picture.
6.    Please do not take photos on long grass (see note 3).
7.    Please do not send photos that are blurred and / or out of focus.
8.    Please do not send photos with evidence of flash flare or flash hot-spots.
9.    Please consider the following angles and photographic views as a minimum basic requirement to allow flexibility of page layout and to satisfy reader curiosity about the aesthetics of a product.   

a.)    8 shots of the model covering side views, front and rear three-quarter angles from both sides, plan view and underside view.
b.)    8 surface detail shots (10 to 15 for scale models) covering any significant points of interest such as clevises, engine installation / cowl details, vents, hatches, switches, wing fillets, flaps, retracts (open and closed), plus fixtures and fittings.
c.)    6 medium range close-up shots taking in sections of the aeroplane, i.e. three-quarter nose, tailplane, cockpit area, undercarriage assembly etc.
d.)    5 flying shots focused and in good light.

10.    Please vary the angle, distance and vertical plane of the camera to capture both high, medium, low and ground level shots.
11.    Please don't be rushed into taking photos. If a period of bad weather persistently disrupts your attempts get the shots you need, sit it out until the sun shines
12.    Please do not doctor images using Mac or PC based photographic enhancement packages, such as Photoshop.  

1.    With the above in mind, feel free to experiment with alternative locations, settings and backgrounds.
2.    Interesting and unusual angles can often be obtained by placing the camera outside the sphere of human reach. A stepladder, for example, can raise the view point enough to give a totally different perspective to that of an eye level shot.
3.    If photographing a subject with a view to our removing the image from the background at a later date, please ensure that cockpit windows, canopies, glazing and transparent areas do not reflect or echo the background that will later be removed.

Thank you for taking the time to read these notes, we sincerely hope they have been constructive and will help you to understand and satisfy our photographic requirements. If, however, you have any questions regarding the above, please contact the editor. Click here for contact details.