Aerial Photography Scotland

You’ll perhaps have become aware of the fairly recent craze for aerial photography, coming via the use of drones. Not to state the obvious but having the scope to go several hundred feet in the air to take photos would raise many an eyebrow – particularly when considering Scotland’s great landscapes, castles and coastlines.

As a digital marketer and dedicated social media user, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and have added aerial content to my work. Now, in addition to planning out travel itineraries and finding the most photogenic spots in the land….I’m mapping out terrains and scrutinising every available weather forecast to see if my little pal is coming too.

glen coe lochan drone

What you need to know

Flying Drones

For any sort of commercial work (including for marketing purposes and social media publishing) it is a requirement that any UAV (drone) pilot holds a commercial licence. Anyone flying for commercial purposes without this is a very naughty amateur and is operating without permission and, most likely, insurance. Whether with me or anyone else, always ask to see insurance (particularly for liability) and Permission for Commercial Operation documents as a minimum before commissioning anyone to work with you.

If you are not flying for commerical reasons (ie. just for your own entertainment) you are not required to have a licence BUT are required to register your drone, obtaining a Flyer ID in the process. You have to pay a fee and go through a basic competency test as part of this. You can do all of that here.

buachaille etive mor glen coe drone

The Process

Permission in the UK is granted by the Civil Aviation Authority and qualified pilots will have had to go through a comprehensive training and assessment process.

Very much like a driving test, there is a process over several months that covers theory and practical use of your aircraft. From sitting in a classroom to dealing with emergency situations under assessment, the aim is to ensure safety above all else. Drones have had a tough rap in the media because of the reckless actions of unqualified halfwits who haven’t paid the slightest bit of attention to the laws and regulations. Admittedly, these are largely still under development but, regardless, drone use is very safe when dealing with a professional pilot and hopefully generally sceptical perceptions will soon change.

UAV pilots are also required to create their own personal Operations Manual which also goes through approval from the CAA. This is pretty much the pilot’s bespoke bible and should be referred to before comencing operations to ensure that both sides are aware of the process in full.

aerial photography scotland castle stalker

Working with me

What do I charge?

No set rules here and I take it based on the planning required, the risk and the appropriateness of the job. Projects in the travel industry are particularly interesting to me for obvious reasons and, in such cases, will receive added promotion on my social channels. This will have the (hopefully) added perk of reaching the 40,000+ Scotland travel fans that are good enough to follow me. That said, I’m not against extending into other fields and industries.

What are the specs that you need to know?

My drone is one of the best on the market outside of the super-serious, military-type beasts, and it has a 20 megapixel camera and shoots 4K video. It has obstacle avoidance technology built in, can fly up to 45mph and is legally capable of flying to heights of 400 feet and distances of 500 metres from the pilot.

aerial photography scotland kilchurn

What else do I need to know

My permissions are granted through my consultancy business, Turas Digital Marketing, and I would be the sole pilot involved in any task.

Depending on the nature of the job, a site survey, risk assessment and weather analysis may have to be carried out. All of this will be explained in greater detail in my Operations Manual ahead of any task being undertaken.

Drop me a line to discuss your projects any time and here’s a look at some of my aerial highlights from Year 1 as a UAV pilot.