Dirk Jan de Ridder

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

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.

Magazine Publications

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

All articles and photos above are by Dirk Jan de Ridder

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 my articles more interesting and therefore easier to sell to magazine editors.”

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 July 2023, I have worked with 31 armed forces on four continents and I have logged nearly 100 flight hours with them. My experience includes flying supersonic fighter jets, ejection-seat equipped training aircraft, helicopters and transport aircraft with open cargo doors both during photo flights and operational training flights.

I know exactly how to get the best photo results out of every situation. From creating a photo plan, briefing the pilots, communicating in-flight to pressing the shutter button and post-processing the shots, I have continuously managed to raise the bar in my photography and in how my work ends up in the world’s leading aviation magazines.

“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| Brazilian Army | 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 | Macedonian Air Force | Montenegrin Air Force | Portuguese Air Force | Romanian Air Force | Royal Air Force | Royal Canadian Air Force | Royal Netherlands Air Force | Serbian Air Force | Spanish Air Force | Spanish Army | Swedish Air Force | Swiss Air Force | Turkish Air Force | Turkish Army | United States Air Force | United States Army

Dirk Jan de Ridder

Dirk Jan de Ridder

Flying a Grob 103 glider of the Belgian Air Component

Dirk Jan de Ridder

Flying the BAe Hawk at NATO Flying Training in Canada

Dirk Jan de Ridder

After flying an Sk60 of the Swedish Air Force

FLIGHT Coffee Table Book

FLIGHT coffee table book

FLIGHT is a visual tribute to military aviation in all its forms by Dutch aviation photographer Dirk Jan de Ridder. It presents a selection of his favourite images from 20 years in the business, taken of aircraft from four continents – Asia, Europe, North and South America – as well as the Middle East.

This book lets you strap yourself in for a wild ride around the world of military aviation!

More info