These days there are a fair few people offering commercial aerial photography in Norfolk and Suffolk, all have a different pricing structure and ways of working so I thought I’d write a little about what makes AeroVisuals different….
- LEGALITY – The first point to be very aware of, as a business commissioning aerial imaging, is that the drone operator MUST have a current certificate for Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW) from the UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and have at least £2million worth of public liability insurance. Anyone using images that have been obtained via an unlicensed operator is liable to prosecution and fines running into the thousands. That’s right – if your company commissions an unlicensed operator and you then use the images/video on your website it is seen as using unlicensed aerial images for commercial gain and you may then become liable.
You can check if a drone operator is CAA registered by looking them up on the CAA website here, I am listed as ‘Christopher Taylor trading as Aerovisuals’. As you will see there are hundreds of operators, so the next job is selecting an operator from this list!
- IMAGE QUALITY – Having a look through the websites of many of the registered businesses reveals a huge variation in the quality of images provided. It seems there are a great many people out there that can and do fly drones/quadcopters/octocopters commercially but not a great number of them are terribly proficient at taking a decent photo! This is where I believe my 11 years as a professional photographer (albeit ground-based for most of them) comes into play – being an established and successful professional photographer has helped me to ensure that I am able to bring out the best images using the aerial technology. I decided to create the AeroVisuals site to differentiate the aerial work from my usual ground-based photography which can be seen at www.christaylorphoto.co.uk
The basic foundations of photography such as composition, working with the optimum light, camera settings and careful post-processing are just as important to aerial photography as they are to ground-based digital photography. Using my knowledge and skills acquired over the last 11 years I am able to apply the techniques to my aerial photography to ensure that the images acquired are the best they can possibly be – sharp, correctly exposed, well composed and displaying accurate colours.
- EQUIPMENT – there are quite a range of different ‘flying cameras’ available from the cheap (£££) to the very, very expensive (££,£££). For the quality of images and HD video required by my clients I have found that the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced is an excellent piece of kit – easily transportable, quick to set up, easy to fly and most importantly – the camera produces excellent quality RAW files (and 2.5K video files) which I can then process through Lightroom as I would my DSLR files and add a final polish in Photoshop. The Phantom provides live feedback to an ipad attached to the controller which is really valuable if the client is stood with me as it allows us to work together to find the very best angle for the shots they require. Another benefit of the Phantom 3 over cheaper models (and over many more expensive ones too) is that it allows me to control the camera settings from the ground and shoot in manual mode giving me full control over the images. Shoot multiple brackets exposures allows a high dynamic range in the images and the ability to stitch together multiple shots allows for wide panoramic shots if required.
A commonly asked question is how long the Phantom can stay in the air for – each battery lasts up to 25 minutes and I currently have 5 batteries so I have an aerial time capacity of over two hours if needed.
- FLEXIBILITY AND SERVICE – I have always been committed to providing a flexible and friendly service to my clients. To ensure I can fully satisfy a brief I always make sure I understand the client’s requirements and what the images or video need to show or say about the company. A regular client for my aerial photography is estate agents Arnolds Keys. Alan Prior, a manager at Arnolds Keys recently wrote of the AeroVisuals service – ‘For our industry the appeal and the increased benefits to be able to show properties from the air, whether residential or commercial is a real bonus. Chris’s experience, high standards (and being a regulated approved operator of drones), ensures the best possible professional, local service.’
- PRICING – as with anything: you get what you pay for but I do try to keep my aerial photography prices reasonable, charging the same amount as I would charge for a ground-based commercial shoot. My aerial photography/filming is priced at £200 per hour, some companies charge upwards of £500 per hour for aerial photography while not necessarily providing great images so I feel my shoot fee is very fair considering the extra layout for equipment, training and the annual insurance & yearly CAA registration fees involved.
The shoot price includes supply of all of the finished still images (supplied as full-sized, high resolution jpeg files via Dropbox or on USB drive) or raw video footage, no VAT and no hidden extras (although a mileage charge of 45p per mile may apply to shoots over 15 miles from Sheringham, Norfolk).
Hopefully the above points illustrate why my Norfolk Aerial Photography Services are a valuable investment for your company. If you have any other questions please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07941009745.