Professional Aerial Photography – Showcasing Your Business From A Different Perspective

Professional Aerial Photography – Showcasing Your Business From A Different Perspective

Aerial photography (or videography) via the use of drones, also known as sUAVs or small unmanned aerial vehicle systems, has landed, and love it or loathe it, it is most definitely here to stay. Over the last few years there has been some bad press for this extremely useful and innovative technology. Usually, when examined in detail the stories of aircraft near misses, property trespass or even public injury can be traced back to ignorant drone “pilots” with no training, displaying total disregard for the detailed rules, regulations and guidelines that have been issued by the Civil Aviation Authority to avoid incidents like these. At Peter Alvey Photography we have been working with our drone for many years now and it has become an invaluable part of our equipment that enables us to offer our clients literally another dimension to their images.

WHO NEEDS AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY?

Professional elevated or aerial photography is not a new thing, and has been employed by many different industry sectors to showcase their products or services over the years including the construction industry, property developers, domestic and commercial estate agents, telecommunications companies and outdoor leisure and hospitality providers to name just a very few.

Drones can be used for both stills photography and videography to supply images and footage for all sorts of uses including promotion and advertising, progress work, inspections and site analysis, even weddings.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING A SUAV?

So what are the benefits of photography and videography shot from a sUAV? Well, traditionally there have been three main options for aerial work, either the use of a fixed mast system, or employment of an aeroplane or helicopter to send your photographer up in.

The benefit of a drone over a fixed mast system is all in it’s versatility. Basically with a drone there are no angle limits, your stills photographs or video footage can be shot from whatever angle you require. Also the fixed mast system for elevated photography is generally limited to a height of around 90 feet, whereas an sUAV can be flown by a qualified operative to the CAA’s specified limit of up to 400 feet. Usually a fixed mast system is operated from a van which has to be driven onto site, this isn’t always practical for some terrains and again a drone wins out here as it can be operated over all terrains (provided they have been approved following an initial online site survey).

The main benefit of a drone over an aeroplane or helicopter is pretty obvious … it’s more economical, it will also be able to fly at lower heights to secure more detailed shots than you would achieve from an aircraft.

LET’S GO – WHEN CAN YOU CARRY OUT MY COMMISSION?

Okay, you’ve decided you need some aerial photography, and you’ve identified where and when you’d like it doing. This is the point at which it is vital that you employ the services of a professional photographer who is a recognised, qualified sUAV operative. There is no cutting corners here, it is a legal requirement in the UK and Europe that your chosen photographer has completed the necessary CAA courses, has a CAA Permission to Complete Commercial Work certificate, carries adequate public liability insurance (and can prove this) and is working under the CAA’s RPQ-S license. If they do not meet any of these criteria, and something goes wrong they will not be insured.

You’ll need to send your chosen photographer a brief outlining the type of photography or video work you would like doing, and (and this is really important), the exact location details of where you would like the flight to take place. Before your aerial commission can be agreed your drone pilot will need to carry out a series of checks to confirm that the area is suitable to be flown over, and whether any additional permissions need seeking before the flight can take place.

Restrictions on a flight can be in force for a whole range of reasons including flying over populated areas, flying near airports, around military zones, or near police or air ambulance helicopter bases. In the East Midlands for example we have East Midlands Airport to consider, and in the West Midlands there is Birmingham Airport. As well as these larger factors that need consideration, there are also smaller more localised ones including trees, power lines, tall buildings etc. Whether it’s in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northants or Nottinghamshire there will always be some extensive pre-flight survey work to do before a flight can be agreed.

FLIGHT DATE AND TIME AGREED – WHAT NEXT?

On the run up to your aerial photography date your photographer will be keeping a very close eye on the weather. If the chosen date proves windy or rainy you should expect your shoot to be postponed, professional photographers will not fly if the weather conditions are not suitable. At best the photographic results will not be as good as they would be on a calmer, dry day, and at worst there may be safety implications.

And so you see, when you commission some professional aerial photography or videography, there is a great deal of pre-flight ground work that is necessary before your shoot can take place. All of that work though will ensure that your aerial photoshoot achieves the very best results for you and your business, and will allow your potential customers to view your services or products from a whole new angle.

Professional Night Photography In London, Derbyshire And Northamptonshire

Professional Night Photography In London, Derbyshire And Northamptonshire

Photography is often assumed to be a seasonal industry, and depending on what your product or service is you may well assume that professional photographers go into some kind of hibernation state once winter is upon us, emerging only as spring starts to creep over the horizon. However for some of our clients winter is the very best time of the year to get as much photography done as possible. Dusk and night photoshoots are much in demand at this time of year, sometimes because of their aesthetic nature, and sometimes simply because that’s the only time that the activity being photographed actually happens.

If any of you have tried to take photographs at night time you will know how difficult it can be, low light levels and slow shutter speeds are not for the faint hearted! Professional photographers bring not only the necessary equipment to a shoot, but also the benefit of detailed knowledge and years of experience in how to tackle photography at night and achieve the very best results.

In the last few months we have been kept very busy covering night photoshoots. Early February found us on location airside at Gatwick Airport. The shoot started in the late afternoon, and then continued through dusk and into the night. Our brief was to show the lighting in the area in it’s best … well … light if you’ll  excuse the pun. This assignment took a great deal of time and effort to organise, but when everything came to fruition on the night the resulting images were stunning.

A little closer to home, in Ilkeston Derbyshire, we were asked to photograph the newly refurbished railway station. On the run up to the shoot the weather forecast was dubious and rain looked like a possibility, so a dusk shoot was suggested. Rain obviously isn’t generally the photographer’s friend, but combined with nightfall and effective lighting it can be used to really enhance a photograph and provide dramatic effect.

Another benefit of a winter timed night shoot is that night falls a whole lot earlier than in the summer. Whilst many of us are bemoaning the short days and long winter nights the professional photographer is welcoming the chance to get started at 5pm, instead of 11.30pm later in the year.

Sometimes though, there  is no choice. Many industries carry out their activities overnight to ensure minimal disruption during the day, e.g. road and rail repairs are frequently undertaken in the early hours of the morning. Because Peter is well known for his transport photography, and carries a Personal Track Safety Certificate for his rail industry work he is often commissioned to photograph these projects as they are happening overnight. It’s a real privilege and absolutely fascinating to be asked to document this world of busy industry which many of us are totally unaware even exists.

Of course the clocks will be changing soon, and the days will start to draw out again. Hopefully spring and summer will bring us some sunshine and bright blue skies for our daytime location shoots, but we’ll still be carrying out our night assignments, just starting them a little later than at the moment!

Should I Use Professional Models For My Photo Shoot?

Should I Use Professional Models For My Photo Shoot?

So, you’ve decided you need some professional commercial photography to showcase your business. You’ve gone to the trouble of sourcing a leading photographer, arranged a suitably impressive location, ensured that the products you are promoting are all brand new and clean and intact … and then … oh yes you need a model . Not to worry, we’ll ask one of the employees if they’ll do it … Dave from accounts looked good in his wedding photos, he’ll do. WRONG!

There is a common misconception that professional models are astronomically expensive, are diva like, and won’t work anywhere other than London or Paris. Now whilst we are sure, as with all things in life, this may be true for a few, it is certainly not reflected in our experience, and it may be a costly mistake not to consider commissioning a model for your photoshoot.

Models are professionals, they have worked hard to achieve a career in a very competitive business and they want to do a good job for you. They have invested time and money ensuring they look their very best, and building a collection of outfits that most of us would envy. So how will they save you money on your commercial photoshoot?

Well first and foremost they have years of experience in posing. Sounds silly? No not really. A professional model is comfortable in front of the camera, they will be used to following direction from the photographer, any photographer because they will have worked on literally hundreds of professional shoots with many different photographers. Whether it’s under the lights in a studio, or out on location a professional model will be able to pose instantly and accurately. This means the shot you are looking for can be achieved quickly (saving time), and you will have a whole variety of images to choose from all taken within a few minutes of each other, equalling more photographs for your budget.

I remember working with a male model at Kings Cross railway station in London, his brief was to be photographed in various areas of the station posing as a serious business man on his daily commute. The model was, as we have found all to be, a nice guy who patiently waited while all the red tape that was involved was completed, laughing, joking, enjoying a coffee, and tolerating the less than glamorous broom cupboard style changing room BUT the second the camera was pointed in his direction his whole demeanour became exactly what we had asked him for. Serious business man…on station platform … passing through ticket barriers … using escalators … in the first class lounge. We shot quite literally hundreds of images that day, because working with a model made it easy to do so, and the client was extremely pleased to have a fantastic selection of stunning photographs to choose from.

Another reason to commission a professional model is for business clarity. Dave from accounts may well have looked good in his wedding photos, and might be very eager to pose for company publicity at the moment but what if … he leaves the company or … horror of horrors he’s asked to leave the company! None of us can predict the future, and bad blood down the line could render all of your photographs unusable if your amateur model is no longer amenable, suddenly asking Dave to model isn’t looking so cost-effective.

When you commission a model all of the paperwork is agreed in advance. Both you and they will know exactly how much modelling fee is to be paid, what the images are to be used for and (and this is the key part), the model will sign a Model Release allowing you to use the images as agreed. There is no grey area, no room for misunderstandings and you will have the paperwork to prove it.

So how do you go about finding your model? We appreciate this can be a bit of a minefield, especially if you’ve never worked with models before, but the very best person to start with is the professional photographer you have commissioned for the shoot. He will have worked with many models in his lifetime and he will know which ones are the most suitable for your photoshoot. Here at Alvey & Towers we have models who we work with from all over the country. Sometimes we will source a model in the area that the photoshoot is taking place, and sometimes we will source them from our local area in the East Midlands and they travel with us, or make their own way to the shoot.

In the last twelve months we have carried out commercial photoshoots with models in various locations including London, Leicester, Nottingham, Derbyshire, York, Leeds and even up to Scotland. As well as some amazing fashion photoshoots there were some fairly unusual modelling assignments too including posing as scientists in a quarantined laboratory, a heating engineer laying down lagging in a roof space, and a nurse administering an injection.

So when you are considering your next commercial photoshoot, and you think a model might be needed, give some serious consideration to commissioning a professional .. and if you’re not sure, give us a call for a chat.

CSCS Construction Photography – Piling

CSCS Construction Photography – Piling

The pile foundation process starts off much the same as any other foundation work. Firstly the site will be properly excavated; this involves removing around 150mm of soil and debris. The area is then deepened and removed of any contaminates to leave a good working base before the ground is marked to clearly show where the piles need to be placed.

Some Piles are driven piles, this involves the use of a large machine which acts very much like a hammer. The machine forces the piles into the ground to the depth needed. The piles are normally 3m lengths and these were made of steel.

Sometimes piles are drilled into the ground, this is a general all purpose application for new and refurbishment projects.

Tubular steel piles can go down to 50M deep!