Special Access Dayton Senior Photos Aviation Air Force Thunderbirds

In July 2023 many of my worlds collided with a once-in-a-lifetime Thunderbirds senior photo session behind the scenes after the close of the CenterPointe Dayton Air Show. I was contacted by a friend-of-a-friend to photograph his son, a senior at Bellbrook High School just south of Dayton Ohio. We discussed the upcoming senior session and how it would take place at the air show. I didn’t really understand how we’d get access to do this, but I trusted his judgment.

After the first day of the 2023 air show, I arrived on airport property just before 6. I grabbed my equipment while a group of friends was loaded onto a golf cart to head out onto the grounds. I rode with the senior who was to be photographed. As we made our way west through the static aircraft displays, I noticed the people on the golf cart were heading past security. At this point, I was getting very excited.

Approaching The Scene Before Thunderbirds Senior Photos

As we go closer, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds came into focus. We were heading past security and directly to these magnificent F-16s. We stopped just past Jet 1 and exited the truck. I was going to photograph this high school senior at my home airport 15 feet away from the Thunderbirds. I couldn’t believe it. The amazing crew for the Thunderbirds was in the post-routine cleanup phase while we were there. They were preparing the planes for the next day’s show and for the overnight rest.

The crew was so kind and accommodating, but I didn’t want to take time away from their jobs. One crew member, jet 1, asked if we wanted the canopy closed. Several others were close meaning there was no need for this to be close. Another crew member walked by and “no one else will have senior photos like these.” These are the most unique and special Thunderbirds senior photos I have ever taken or even seen. I am thankful to the senior, his parents, the people who made this possible, and the Thunderbirds. Check out more of my aviation photography here and more of my engagement photograph here.

Top 5 Things I Love About Senior Pictures In Dayton

  1. There is always a new park or building to use for dynamic senior photos

  2. Getting to share amazing experiences with cool high school seniors (photographing with the Thunderbirds)

  3. Sharing my love of music and pop culture with the client and their parent

  4. Putting the student at ease to get natural expressions

  5. It is great talking about their future plans while capturing current images

Other Aviation-Themed Senior Photography In Dayton

Aviation Themed Senior Photos Moeller High School Senior At The Air Force Museum