Dirk Jan de Ridder

My name is Dirk Jan de Ridder (1985). I am a renowned photojournalist specialised in military aviation since 2008, but interested in the subject from childhood. I work for armed forces around the world, but I’m paid for it by the printed media that publish my work. Many air forces have benefited from the free exposure and photographs I provide them.

Rather than visiting air shows and other public events, I prefer to arrange private visits to air forces. My job offers me amazing opportunities to take photos of military aircraft in the air, so called air-to-air photography. I could probably write a whole book about it, but this video says more than a thousand words.

“Air-to-air photography is not just about getting some planes airborne and taking a few shots. Preparation is key, a briefing with the pilots is indispensable. Getting everything right -including composition, lighting, timing- is all but coincidence or luck.

I look forward to hearing from you, so please feel free to contact me!

Magazine Publications

My work is frequently published in aviation magazines worldwide. An average article appears in at least two or three magazines and contains between four to eight pages.

These publications are read by heads of arms, military air attaches, procurement specialists, military personnel and well-informed enthusiasts.

“Photography is the element that makes or breaks a publication. My style is to shoot aircraft in their natural environment, ideally in the air from another aircraft. Air-to-air photography makes magazines more interested in publishing the article.”

Flight Experience

10 hours // Fast jets
BAe Hawk, F-5 Tiger II, MiG-21 Fishbed, Saab 105.

60+ hours // Helicopters
AS532 Cougar, AW101 Merlin, Bell 412, Bo-105, CH-47 Chinook, Mi-17 Hip, NH90, S-70 Black Hawk, Sea King, UH-1 Iroquois, etcetera.

10+ hours // Trainers
BAe Hawk, KT-1 Woongbi, Saab 105, T-6 Harvard II, T-25 Universal, T-27 Tucano (illustrated).

20+ hours // Other aircraft
Airbus A310, An-26 Curl, C-130 Hercules, C-130J Super Hercules, EADS C-295, KC-135 Stratotanker, etcetera.

Brazilian Air Force T-27 Tucano

As of September 2019, I have visited 28 armed forces on four continents and logged nearly 100 flight hours in my log book. This includes seven flights in fast jets, including the BAe Hawk, F-5 Tiger II and MiG-21 Fishbed, as well as over 60 hours in all sorts of helicopters.

My experience includes flying supersonic fighter jets, ejection-seat equipped training aircraft, helicopters and transport aircraft with cargo doors opened both during photo flights and operational training flights.

“Being able to spend several days with an air force and focus on a single aircraft type really improves my photography. I normally spend between three to five days on a single air base. This enables me to get familiar with local procedures, make arrangements and pick the best moments for photography.”


I have worked for and flown with the following air arms:

Belgian Air Component | Brazilian Air Force | Bulgarian Air Force | Croatian Air Force | Cyprus Air Force | Czech Air Force | German Army | German Air Force | German Navy | Hellenic Air Force | Hellenic Navy | Hungarian Air Force | Lebanese Air Force | Montenegrin Air Force | Macedonian Air Force | Portuguese Air Force | Romanian Air Force | Royal Air Force | Royal Canadian Air Force | Royal Netherlands Air Force | Serbian Air Force | Spanish Army | Swedish Air Force | Swiss Air Force | Turkish Air Force | Turkish Army | United States Air Force | United States Army

Recently published work

Cypriot Gunships – 450 Squadron
October 9, 2019
The Cyprus National Guard's Mi-35 Hind and SA342 Gazelle helicopters, may well be the European Union's most exotic attack helicopters. Read more
Converting from Cougar to Cayman – BHELMA III
May 3, 2019
After years of delays and setbacks, the Spanish Army became the latest European operator of the NH90. Read more
The Last Step – NFTC Phase IV pilot training
January 22, 2019
419 Squadron is responsible for NATO Flying Training in Canada Phase IV training - the last step before the cockpit of a frontline fighter jet. Read more