What the client needs to consider when hiring a commercial drone operator.

When hiring a commercial drone operator the client needs to have a clear picture of what they want to achieve.

In the first place, only CAA approved operators can undertake commercial drone operations. As a result, the operators have undertaken training and have passed theory and practical assessments. They also hold liability insurance to run their business operations.

What information is that is important for the commercial drone operator?

In this case, the important information is location, time, date and description of the task.

Location

Accordingly, the commercial drone operator has to consider the airspace that the operation is going to take place in. For this reason, it is important to give either OS Map reference or Longitude and Latitude.

Time and Date

It’s important to realise, depending on the airspace category the operator may have to apply for extra permissions. Consequently, these can take a minimum of 28days. Therefore you should try and forward plan. Equally, give consideration to the time of day with use or congestion.

section of aviation map commercial drone operator
A section of an Aviation Map showing how crowded the air space is around Southampton

Description

Equally important, the task requires to be as detailed as possible. For this reason, the more information that is available allows the operator to plan throughly.

How the information’s used by the operator.

Accordingly, the first consideration the operator has is to ascertain the airspace. The classification of G is the only place the operator can fly without further permission. Equally, important the operator uses OS Maps and Google Maps to gain as much info as possible on the topography. At the same time, this gives the operator the chance to look at any other factors such as:-

  • Take Off and Landing areas
  • Possible numbers of staff required to operate safely
  • Traffic
  • Pedestrians
  • Distances
  • Obstructions
  • Power lines
  • anything else that will aid planning.

How this helps

All of the above allows the operator to put together a remote plan for the operation. As the day gets nearer other information is gathered:-

  • Permissions (if needed)
  • Weather
  • Risk assessments
  • Look at the safety measures identified from the risk assessments
  • Permissions from the landowner(s) where alternative landing site has been identified
  • Any Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) notices
  • Identify access controls if required
  • Air Traffic Control Permissions (if required)

On site check

In addition, before any flying takes place on site tall of the above must be revisited. Particular attention is paid to the weather and Health & Safety. If rain is falling or due then consideration has to be given to a postponement. Drones do not like the wet.

Its also at this stage that the log book for the flight is started. This records the flight timing, batteries, weather, temperature. Also records aircraft condition, aircraft preparation and post flight information.

As a result, this may seem a long tedious process. However, the CAA regulate the flying of drones for commercial operations. They require to see the manual and log books at any time. Although this is more likely if things go wrong. As the drone is classed as an aircraft, you will have seen the Gatwick chaos.

Summary

For one thing, yes this is a long process but responsible businesses take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk. That’s to the client, public, property and themselves.

For more information contact Martin to find out how your photography can stand out or use the form below.

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Event Photography

Fundraising Event Photography

Generally speaking, Fundraising Event Photography is a passion that I thoroughly enjoy. For me, its all about seeing the joy on guests face when they view the photos.

The first thing to remember, Fundraising Event Photography is not Studio Portrait Photography. That is to say that the photography reflects a moment in time. As a result, the aim is to record the enjoyment of being at the event. For this reason, guests can take home a memento of that enjoyment.

How we prepare

When your guests arrive we have already set the portable studio up. Indeed your guests can approach us and we will happily photograph them.

Before we get to this stage though we have had a lot of work to do.

For this reason, first, we check all of the equipment to ensure that it is in good condition. In addition, as we do this its checked off against a list and loaded into the car. Therefore this helps us not to forget the important items.

We aim to arrive at the venue an hour and a half before the first guests arrive. Generally speaking, yes, it does take that amount of time to set up.

With all the items carried into the venue, we can then start to set the studio up. In the first place, we start with the Backdrop and stands. We have various backdrops, although the most popular has been a blue background with stars all over it. The backdrop drapes over a pole on stands and then extends out to a length of 3metres.

As soon as the backdrops set up, next we position the lights and electricity run out.

Picture of starred backdrop fundraising event photography

Means of viewing the images

Taking the images is fine but guests need to see them before purchasing. For this reason, we use laptop computers. Consequently one’s for guests to view. Accordingly the other contains Photoshop and has the printer connected to it.

In this case, we use a special printer called a Sub Dye printer. It doesn’t print with ink cartridges, instead, it uses celluloid film of three colours. As a result, the print does not fade.

We only print images when the guest is happy with there choice. For this reason, we have a no obligation clause for your guests.

Last minute readiness.

Once all the preparations are complete just a few checks remain.

In the first place, the camera’s set to the correct colour balance and colour chart for the lighting conditions. For this reason, we then take a photo and print the result. The printer might need some minor tweaks in photoshop but then all prints will be the same colours when printed.

Accordingly, we are now ready for the guests to arrive and have their photos taken.

Style of photos

Correspondingly  the evening gives the ladies the opportunity to put on there finest with the men looking smart in Tuxedos.

As a result  Event photography gives the opportunity to record the guests in there dresses and tuxedos.

Generally, we take 3 types of photos:-

  • Full length
  • Landscape from the waist up
  • Close up of the guests.

Large Groups

In the first place the backdrop is only 3metres wide. As a result, group shots are limilting, the more people you have the more restricted you become on space.

COST

In the first place for a fundraising charity event we attend Free of Charge. For this reason we sell the prints for £15 each or 3 for £30. In addition each print comes in a black photo-strut and a clear plastic bag to protect them. Consequently at the end of the evening we give 10% of our takings to the charity.

Area of cover

In general the areas of coverage for Fundraising Event Photography are Hampshire and surrounding counties.

Likewise, for more information contact Martin on 07824 331 730 to discuss your event photography needs

Your Details

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Feel free to ask a question.

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Depth of Field

Lens Depth of Field

To begin with, depth of field (DOF), what it is and how to understand how to use it.

DOF can be viewed as the amount of a picture that is in focus. As a matter of fact, this could be a short/narrow DOF to a long and wide DOF. Generally speaking, three factors determine the DOF.

The focal length of the lens

In the first place, the focal length of the lens is the ability of a lens to magnify the image of a distant subject. As a result, it is the distance in mm from the optical centre of a lens to a point where a subject at infinity appears in sharp focus. This is usually the cameras digital sensor. In this case, think of this as the physical length of a lens in very simple terms.

Picture of Focal Length Headshots

Aperture

In the first place, each lens has a maximum aperture and a minimum aperture. As an illustration, the range could be from f2.8 to f22. In other words, this means the amount of light that can enter through the lens. At the same time, the small f-number (f2.8) allows loads of light to enter the aperture which is wide open. On the contrary, the large f-number (f22) allows the smallest amount of light in. As a result, this means the aperture hole is small.

Sample of aperature openings headshots

Distance

Different distances decide what the DOF is likely to be. If you are photographing something at distance you are going to get an image where most things are in focus. This may mean that anything close to the camera is out of focus. On the other hand, if you photograph something close then the subject close to the camera will be in focus. You will also notice that the background is blurred or out of focus.

What DOF can do for you?

A shallow depth of field is great if you want to make your subject stand out. That’s a portrait subject with a nice out of focus background. This means the subject stands out no distracting background.

For a landscape photograph, the camera’s lens can only focus on a single point. This means that areas before and after this point will appear out of focus. Although in reality, the area in focus will be a lot of the image. The out of focus will be near and far away from the lens.

Picture of a candle holder at f2.8 Depth of Field
Candle Holder at f2.8
Picture of a candle holder at f8 Depth of Field
Candle holder at f8
Picture of a candle holser at f22 Depth of Field
Candle holder at f22
Picture of a candle holder at f32 Depth of Field
Candle holder at f32

DOF Apps

The Depth of Field is notoriously difficult to work out when you first start to understand it. The good thing is that apps for mobile phones are available that take the guesswork out of it. For apple phones here is a link.

To find out more contact Martin

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Business Headshots

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Feel free to ask a question or simply leave a comment.

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Drones

In the first place as a photographer what use are drones to my business? As a result, what services are appropriate for the photography work that I undertake?

Classes of Drones

Therefore, most people think of drones as being a pilotless vehicle. In fact some drones are big and some are small.

  • In the first place, the big drones are referred to as Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). In this case, they are likely to be Military or research vehicles and generally 150kg plus. As a result, these are not drones that most photographers might consider using.
  • Likewise the next size down is the light UAS between 20kg and 150kg. For one thing, these may be a bespoke unit and have various uses. By the same token, it is not likely that this would be a vehicle of use to my business.
  • The last size of the drone is 7kg and below. Accordingly, these are the most common type of drones for ariel photography/videography. It is this class of drone that is most useful for my type of photography. These are referred to as Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA).

Use of the drone for Aerial Photography

In reality, taking photographs from above allows for a different perspective of a subject. This includes:-

  1. Property Residential & Commercial
  2. Trains
  3. Cars
  4. People
  5. Landscape
  6. Boats/Ships
  7. Photographing areas that are hard to reach.
  8. Site surveying
  9. Environmental
  10. Insurance
  11. Sports
  12. Marketing
Picture of a drone on a green background drones

Flying with a drone.

Likewise, drones are available from different manufacturers and come in a variety of models. The first thing to remember is that by using your drone to make money you are required in the UK to have a Permission for Commercial Operation (PFCO) certificate. The PFCO certificate is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority but only after meeting the strict criteria. This also means following the aviation rules that cover drone flying.

To clarify the passage below is straight from The Air Navigation Order 2016 and Regulations CAP393
Meaning of “commercial operation”
7. For the purposes of this Order, “commercial operation” means any flight by a small unmanned aircraft except a flight for public transport, or any operation of any other aircraft except an operation for public transport—
(a) which is available to the public; or
(b) which, when not made available to the public,
(i) in the case of a flight by a small unmanned aircraft, is performed under a contract between the SUA operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the remote pilot; or
(ii) in any other case, is performed under a contract between an operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the operator,
in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration

Commercial Flying

If you have not met the criteria for a PFCO then you are only allowed to fly your Drone as a hobbyist. As a result, this places a lot of restrictions on the person flying the drone.

In summary, you have to comply with the Aviation Law for the UK. Failure to comply when things go wrong will result in the owner of the drone being prosecuted.

For this reason, I have now undertaken the drone training and passed the theory and practical tests. Coupled with this to comply with the CAA regulations I have had to compile an operations manual. As a result, this has to clearly show how I will operate the business and take into consideration emergency procedures.

Next Steps

In this case, I have received my operations manual back from NATS. Accordingly, they have checked the manual to ensure that there are no glaringly obvious mistakes. As a result, my next step is to buy insurance and then complete the application form to submit to the CAA.

It’s important to realise, that when the CAA are happy they will issue the PFCO. As a result, I can then undertake commercial operations for Ariel Photography/videography.

For further information on these services contact Martin now.

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STUDIO LIGHTING (part 2)

STUDIO LIGHTING (part 2)

In this case, this blog is about Studio Lighting Setup.

To begin with, in the last blog I wrote about the choice of studio lights available. As can be seen, in this blog, I am going into a bit more detail about setting the lights up.

Coloured/Dark backdrops.

Furthermore, as mentioned in the previous blog, for this type of backdrop four lights give you a good photo. In this case, my studio lighting setup for four lights is:-

  1. Main/key light.
  2. Fill light
  3. Hair light
  4. Backdrop light

Studio Lighting Setup

Main Light

In this case, the lights placed to one side of the camera to highlight the subject. Therefore this lights one side of the subject. In general, the light level for this would be around f8-f11.

Fill light

Generally speaking, you would place this light on the opposite side of the camera that the main light is on. In contrast, the role of this light is to put light into any shadow created by the main light. To clarify, it lifts the shadows and is not a strong light. In general, the light level for this would be f5.6-f8.

Hair Light

In addition, the hair lights placed at a high level over the top or at the side of the backdrop. In this case, this light lights the hair of the subject. The typical value for light level is f5.6

Coloured/Dark Backdrop Lighting

Accordingly, this lights placed low level behind the subject light the backdrop. In like manner, the light level is similar to the hair light.

Diagram for coloured/dark background STUDIO LIGHTING SETUP

White Backdrops

In this case, the main light and fill stay in place. At the same time, the hair and backdrop lights become redundant. With this in mind, place these lights to the side to illuminate the white backdrop. In this case, the lighting levels for the two side light is around f11. Equally important the lights must light the backdrop evenly.

Diagram for white background STUDIO LIGHTING SETUP

As an illustration, the diagrams above should help with you setting up your lighting for profile headshots. However, feel free to contact me if you require help.

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Studio Lighting

Studio Lighting (part 1)

Accordingly, studio lighting takes many forms. As a matter of fact, there are flashlights, continuous lighting and strobe lighting.

As a result, you have to consider which benefits you best.

Flash

In this case, Flashguns used off camera.

Picture of a gary fong diffuser on a camera Studio Lighting

Continuous Lighting

Likewise, as the name suggests the lighting does not change although it can be dimmed or brightened.

Picture of studio lighting continuous light

Strobe lighting

Accordingly, this normally has a modelling light that allows you to judge the final lighting setup. In addition, it has a strobe light that supplies the actual lighting for the subject when fired.

Picture of Strobe Lighting Studio Lighting

My Choice

When I started the business I choose Stobe Lighting.  For this reason. that it was a portable unit. In this case, the units are mains electricity or battery powered. You can also use a variety of light modifiers over the strobe to soften the light.

Set Up

Moreover, all forms of studio lighting require setting up for light level and colour balance. That is to say, to do this accurately you need a light meter and a using a grey card. If you don’t do this then you will get inferior results. Must be remembered, each light requires setting up individually to produce the effect the photographer is looking for.

You can use 1 or multiples of, in most cases, you would use more than 1. In this case, the ideal studio lights for portraits is four.

1. would be the main/key light.

2. would be your fill light

3. would be your hair light

4. would be your backdrop light

For this reason, these lighting setups are normally used for coloured backdrops.

White Backdrops

Generally speaking, if you’re using a white background, you remove the hair and backdrop lights. These then get placed pointing at the white backdrop.

In addition, with the lights in position and set to the levels required, the cameras set to the settings. In this case, the cameras set to the main/key light setting.

Watch out for part two. Want to know more then drop me a line.

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BUSINESS PORTRAIT

BUSINESS PORTRAIT

In the first place, a business portrait requires an expression that conveys realism, confidence, character and intensity. In this case, for a business portrait “Image is Everything” which makes this an art.

For this reason, it’s important to get your image right, have a look at this study from Photo Feeler

Conveying Confidence

Furthermore, the biggest challenge a photographer faces is getting people to relax and look “themselves” for a good business portrait. More often people are simply too tense or self-conscious when facing a camera to really let their guard down. Consequently, this causes a problem by denying a chance to capture their relaxed, smiling and natural expressions.

How To Create A Pleasing Business Portrait.

In the first place asking someone to smile for the camera, can look a little fake. Surprisingly a fake smile does not show in the eyes.

Likewise, to achieve the genuine smile you need to employ a few tactics, what’s the best way to do this?

For one thing, never ask people to smile or ask them to say “cheese”.

Relax

In like manner, it’s important that the photographers relaxed and smiling as its contagious. Consequently, if not the client will sense the uptight feeling and they won’t relax. For this reason, if they feel uptight this will show in the photos.

Therefore start by asking them to think about someone or something that makes them laugh. As a result of that way, you get a great reaction and a genuine smile.

Conversation

In the first place, get the conversation going, take the pressure off by chatting. Therefore, ask them what they like or dislike, what the weather is doing, what was there best night out. In other words, DO NOT stand behind the camera and not say a word.

Use Jokes.

Using jokes is a good way to break the ice. Beware though keep within acceptable limits. In this case, you can use corny jokes or even knock-knock.

Tongue Twisters

Surely you remember the fun you had at school with tongue twisters?  Prepare a couple on a card and ask the client to repeat them aloud. Then in front of the camera ask them to repeat them quickly. As a result, yes, you guessed it they will start to laugh/smile.

Compliments

Compliment them, find something that is part of them. Like their eyes instead of their outfit.

Sing

Furthermore, try and find out what music they like. During the session randomly start singing. See what happens when you sing the lyrics wrong?

Ask Them Not To Smile

As an illustration, make a point of asking the client to keep a straight face. Particularly if you’re still smiling. As a result, when you tell them not to smile they find it hard not to smile.

Lady smiling BUSINESS PORTRAITLady smiling with blonde hair BUSINESS PORTRAIT

Lady with glasses and smiling BUSINESS PORTRAIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the positive side, I hope that you enjoyed this. For further information, contact Martin

 

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Hampshire Chamber Networking with the Tall Ships Youth Trust

The Gathering

In any event, the Hampshire Chamber Networking on October 19th took place with the Tall Ships Youth Trust Charity.

All things considered, the morning was crisp, with daylight breaking to a clear sky. To begin with, the event started by congregating of the attendees in the All Bar One restaurant at 07.30hrs.

Following a light breakfast of croissants and coffee, the attendees received a briefing from TSYT on the morning’s activity. As a result, with two yachts the groups allocated to Challenger 2 or 4. We then made our way to the pontoon for boarding.

In due time after the group photo, we boarded our respective challenger yacht.

Group photo Hampshire Chamber NetworkingGroup Safety Talk Hampshire Chamber Networking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparation

Before we departed from the pontoon aw had a safety talk and advice on what not to do. We Then received lifebelts which we all put on. With the yacht ready we then left the berth.

Heading to sea

Forthwith, slipping the lines, we carefully with expert handling by the helmsperson left the berth and proceeded to sea. In this case, whilst leaving the harbour we were underway with the motor running. Once clear of the harbour entrance and the main shipping lanes thoughts turned to sails.

Under sail

At the same time as entering open water, the helmsperson gave instructions for hoisting of the sails.  As can be seen, volunteers (under instruction) from the Motley crew gave a hand setting the sails. With hoisted sails, and the gentle blowing wind filling them.  The helmsperson gave a demonstration of tacking with the wind. Other motley crew members then took turns at the helm.

Hoisting sails Hampshire Chamber Networking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returning to port

Accordingly, after a couple of hours at sea with a slight wind and beautiful sunshine, we started to return port. In the first place, the first task was to drop the sails. Therefore, the motley crew got to the task as a team. Accordingly with the sails lowered all helped to stow them away. Furthermore, with the sails stowed, the yacht squared away, permission from the Queens Harbour Master, we returned to the berth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hampshire Chamber Networking

After tying up we retired to the Customs House pub for a talk on the charity and lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have enjoyed this adventure you can contact Martin for more information.

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Camera Equipment and accessories I use when undertaking a corporate headshot shoot.

Camera Equipment and accessories I use when undertaking a corporate headshot shoot.

When I undertake a headshot shoot the camera equipment and accessories I take are all portable. For this reason, it’s important for my clients to not be away from the workplace for too long. As a result, this saves them time and money by taking the studio to them.

Consequently, being away from the Office brings challenges with it. Therefore if you forget a piece of kit this could cancel the shoot. For this reason, I like to work from a list that I can alter depending on the shoot.

What do I take?

The important bits are:_
Camera
Lenses
Flash.

Picture of a flash gun Camera EquipmentPicture of a flash gun on a camera Camera EquipmentPicture of a soft box on a flash gun Camera Equipment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Normally for these items, I double up so that if one item fails I have a backup, yes, it happens.

Accessories

A collapsible backdrop 2.4M x 2M with a choice of green or white background.
Three light stands, two for the lights and one for the backdrop.
Two-pocket wizards for remote control of the flash guns.
One pocket wizard controller to set the flash exposure remotely
Batteries for flash, pocket wizards and camera.
Battery charger for the camera, just in case.
Tripod to mount the camera on
Stand to mount the laptop on.
Laptop and leads.
Camranger to operate the camera remotely.
Lens cleaning cloth. These can be lifesavers when dust shows up.
Cables for cameras and lights.
Sandbag weights for light stands and backdrop
Reflectors. To help boost natural light.
Clamps of various sizes for holding down anything from fabric to backgrounds.
Bags and cases for everything.
Food and water. Snacks and hydration are keys to success on set.

In this case, the beauty of a list is that I take everything I require.

Accordingly, you have now had an insight into the equipment I take on a shoot. Therefore to book your session contact Martin to find out how he can improve your first impression.

 

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