Why Real Estate Agencies Need Certified Drone Pilots for Real Estate Jobs

In today's commercial and residential real estate world, there is becoming a great need for drone photography. Drones provide a unique perspective when it comes to showcasing properties. Drones can easily be used to showcase large properties and industrial areas. Drones can provide high-quality aerial photos and videos. For many real estate agencies and agents, drones play an important role in selling properties. The reality is, all drone pilots are not the same and it is important for agencies and real estate agent to choose wisely.

One of the biggest questions is to decide if an agency buy there own equipment and drone and do the job themselves or hire someone. One would think it would be easier to do the job themselves but that could be a costly mistake. Flying and drone is not that easy for everyone and purchasing one is not cheap. A good quality drone with a high-quality camera can cost between $1200 and $5000. Crashing one can be very costly.

Another option is to hire a licensed FAA certified drone pilot. A licensed drone pilot who is Part 107 certified is authorized to shoot photos and video for their clients. The Part 107 certification requires a pilot to pay $150 and pass a written test. The test is very detailed and provides the pilot with the knowledge needed to work legally and commercially for their clients. To see what is required for a certified drone pilot visit "Become a Drone Pilot"

Another reason to choose a certified drone pilot is that most professional drone pilots understand the importance of having liability insurance coverage. Drones can cause great damage and personal injury. That is why having insurance coverage is so important.

When making a decision to use drone there are important factors that you have to take into consideration when using a drone. Do you buy a cheap drone and try to do the job yourself? Do you take a chance and hope you don't damage property or injury individuals during a commercial shoot? Do you hire an FAA certified drone pilot that has the skills to use a high-quality drone, knowledge of FAA drone standards, understands how to get the proper images, and can legally do the job? My advice is to hire someone. You will be glad you did.

If you need an FAA drone pilot for a commercial or residential shoot, contact me to schedule an appointment.

Until next time!

Roger

Using a Drone For Commercial Use and The Importance of Using a Certified Drone Pilot

Today more and more businesses are using drones to survey all types of locations. According to Geospatial World, “There is an aerial revolution happening across the globe. Drones have emerged as a highly viable commercial tool with applications in numerous sectors, most notably, construction. This isn’t surprising, as their benefits range from on-site safety to a level of project monitoring which wasn’t previously possible”. Today photographers are using commercial and non-commercial drones to survey all types of sites.

Recently, I visited a construction site in Jamestown North Carolina and did some surveying of my own. In Jamestown, major road construction is ongoing and the road construction is massive. I was interested in knowing how much progress was made on the new road. I could see locations were the road was being built but I wanted to see the true progress of the road construction. However, getting a true representation of how much had been completed required the use of my DJI Mavic Pro drone.

Using a drone to fly over a construction site is not so easy. If you do it right and understand the does and don’t when it comes to FAA regulations you will be fine. If you don’t understand the FAA drone regulations or you are not a certified FAA drone pilot doing commercial work you can be hit with some pretty steep fines. One of the reasons why I feel it is important to become a certified FAA drone pilot is that is important to understand how to legally fly a drone. Commercial drone operators must comply with restrictions and understand how and when drones may be used. The FAA prohibits drones being flown:

  • outside of the operator’s visual line of sight

  • when visibility is less than three miles

  • at night

  • less than 500 feet below a cloud or within 2,000 feet horizontally from a cloud

  • directly over people not directly participating in the drone’s operation

  • higher than 400 feet above either ground level or a structure, whichever is higher; and

  • without permission in controlled airspace

I find there are many uses for flying a drone and being a certified FAA drone pilot can be profitable. To learn more about flying a drone or if you are in need of an FAA-certified drone pilot, contact me. Maybe, I can help.

Until next time!

Roger

Social Media Platforms Vs Having Your Own Website

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As most people know that read my blog regularly, I am not a real fan of social media platforms even though they are extremely popular in our society today. Just because a social media platform is popular doesn't mean it has real value. Three of the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In this post, I want to express my views on the three platforms and explain why having your own website can be much more beneficial for one's business and even one's personal life. But first, I want to share my views on the top three social media platforms.

FACEBOOK

One of the biggest social media platforms is Facebook. Facebook has been around for a long time and over the years has had its problems with security issues, privacy issues, content bias, and poor leadership in how the platform was being run. I remember back in the day when the use of Facebook was fairly innocent. Families and friends could post articles and express themselves on a regular basis. It was fun. But today Facebook has become a platform to post content that is, in my opinion, brings no real value to my life, especially if I want to use it for my business or to advertise my content and brand. It is not a place to express one's thoughts, ideas, and creative processes. It is limited and greatly controlled. Post on Facebook is never current. Think about it. Have you ever liked a post on Facebook and went back to find a post a week or later and it took you forever to find it? That can be very frustrating and total waste of my time.

If you are a creative person who likes to express yourself, Facebook is not a great place to do that. You are limited by what you can put on Facebook. Besides, most people are not going to read a long article listed in a post on Facebook. Facebook is not made for that. Thankfully, one can visit an external link on Facebook if Facebook does not block it. Depending on who reviews content, information is routinely blocked by Facebook. They can do that. It is their platform. I understand why content may need to be controlled, but I don't like the idea of someone else deciding what should be controlled and limited when it comes to my content. With my own domain, I get to decide what content can be posted, when it can be posted, and how much. As the owner of my site, I am in control.

Facebook is a good platform if you want to see what others are doing and to be kept updated with friends and family. However, it is also a place to waste a lot of time and energy on mindless content. Facebook is also a place to be bombarded with advertising you really don't need or want. If you have your own website, there is no advertising that needs to be ignored or blocked. Better yet, with your own website, you can put as much advertising as you want for free.

Facebook does have some useful attributes but for me, it is a waste of time, energy, money, and productivity. If I want to hear from family and friends, I can always pick up the phone and communicate as we did back in the good old days. There is nothing truly social about Facebook in my opinion.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a different beast from Facebook. Where Facebook provides you with the ability to post more content, Instagram is all about photos, favoriting post, likes, and followers. If you have the need to be liked and followed it is the place for you. But not for me. I do enjoy the ability to get feedback on the content I post. When I post a photo on Instagram I am looking for feedback and not likes or followers. I could care less about how many followers I get and I am not going to buy followers and many Instagram user do. Like Facebook, Instagram can present the illusion that people on Instagram are popular and successful, but the reality is many are not. I have followers on Instagram. Do I personally know them? No, I do not. Are they real? I have no idea. Do I care? Not really. That is why I do not spend too much of my time on Instagram. Instagram, like Facebook, provides me with no real value in my business and personal life. However, if you like to spend most of your day looking at other photos, it is the place to be. For me, I would rather be out taking the photos.

As for me posting content on Instagram, I am limited. I cannot post active links to my Instagram post. No one is going to copy a link I post on an Instagram feed to get to my website no matter what click bate image I use for a photo. Having to copy a link is too much trouble and a waste of others time they are not going to do it. However, Instagram is good for posting images. As a photographer, I like that. What I don't like is how the quality of my photos are presented on Instagram. As a photographer, I want to present my images that I may want to sell in the best possible way. Facebook and Instagram are not the best resources for showcasing my images. By using my website, I can present my images more effectively.

Instagram is a better platform than Facebook in my opinion. Facebook, in my opinion, is losing ground in the social media platform arena. Instagram is growing more in popularity for the masses, but I am becoming less-and-less a fan. I can post photos on Instagram, but I can't post my content. For example, even with this post, I would not be able to express myself or provide information the way I would like on Instagram. Instagram was not created to do that. Instagram has limits. Limitations are not a good thing for a creator. That is why I rarely use Instagram today. I prefer my own website with no limitations.

TWITTER

Oh, Twitter. How I hate Twitter. Of the main three social media platforms, I hate Twitter the most. The reason is that Twitter over the years has become a place where a lot of people like to complain, harass, attack others, and post some of the most useless information on the Internet. I rarely visit Twitter or post there. If I do, I post on photography related topics. I do have followers and I follow a selected few. In other words, I don't follow or care about others that don't have similar interest. I don't care about retweets or random followers. I do enjoy blocking followers that want to follow me and really don't know me. Blocking Twitter followers in one of my favorite activities when I do go on Twitter. I do have to give Twitter a couple of thumbs up. Twitter has increased its character length and allows me to use hashtags. But most importantly, it allows me to create active hyperlinks for my website. So I can redirect people to my site. Which is where I want my followers, customers, and future subscribers to go. The goal for me is to redirect my visitors to my website. As I mentioned earlier, I hate Twitter.

WHY I LIKE HAVING MY OWN WEBSITE

There are a variety of reasons why I enjoy having my own website over using social media platforms to distribute my content. One of the main reasons is I like owning my own website. I am the owner. By being the sole owner I get to create my own content. I get to decide what I want to put on the website, how much, the design of the site, who can post to it, when I want to post information, and I can express what information is important to me. I get to share my interest with others and hopeful, over time, meet others who share the same passions. If I want to advertise anything I can do it and it requires no additional cost to me. I can get analytical data, reports, site activity information and even sell my products online. I am the creator of my website and that is very important to me.

Having my own website allows me to build my own brand. I understand that building my own brand takes focus and time. It is a process. If you took a hard look at many successful creators, you will find they have developed there own brand and utilizing a great website helped them do it over time. Building my own brand is a continuing process and over time my brand, views, and photography business may change. That is okay with me. I like "change". I like the journey and looking forward to new experiences over time.

Owning my website allows me to be more creative with no limitations like having to adjust to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter company policies. I get to be creative in what I want to develop as far as information, products, and additional content. As a creator, it is important to have no limitations. Creators who are limited cannot create or express themselves when using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When using any of the three social media platforms, creators can only provide a snapshot of their ideas during a specific moment in time. Over time, their information gets lost within the garbage the social media platforms collect and propagandizes.

Another important reason that I like having my own website is I have the ability to collect feedback on my website. I can collect and review productive feedback for others. I also have the ability to control feedback that is useless. For example, I can review feedback before it is posted to my website. I get to choose if I want the feedback to be public. On many social media platforms you don't have to the ability to remove replies from trolls that love to post stupid replies to get attention. By having my website, I get to decide if the feedback provided within the post will benefit others in their growth as a creator. My goal for my website is to build a great community. I cannot do that on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It may sound like having my own website sounds like having the power to control others. It is not. Having my own website allows me the ability to control what information I allow in my life without being limited by others. Trolls are not allowed on my website. Just the "Cool Kids".

If you don't have your own website and have considered it before, I suggest you go for it. Having your own website can be a learning process but well worth it over-relying on social media sites and apps to share your thoughts, ideas, and views. My advice is if you are considering getting your own website (I use Square Space), do your research, buy your own domain, evaluate your website features, and then get to work. It can be a lot of fun.

Until next time!

Roger

Going From Full-Time to Part-Time As a Photographer Is All About How You Look At It

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Wouldn't be great if all photographers and other creatives could take their love for their craft and be able to do it full-time. The reality is, most of us can't, for a variety of reasons. That can be very frustrating but it is not the end of the world if you can't go full-time. Sometimes you just have to do a little juggling of your priorities.

I just started a new job that requires me to work at least 40 hours a week and the job is not a photography related job. It is a security job where I have a responsibility for a very important high-profile location and over 50 security officers. It is not a photography related job but it does help pay the bills. For over 7 years I haven't worked a normal 40 hour a week job. Over the last 7 years, I have had the opportunity to photograph locations and take trips to do other creative projects. I was lucky and I was content. I loved having the opportunity to do what I love. However, as most photographers and creatives know, doing what we love doesn't also pay the bills and provide us with a pay to buy all the new equipment we need and funds to travel to unique locations to get cool photographs. Another reason most of us work is to provide for our families and save for retirement. The last thing I want is to be broke when I decide to retire for good. Besides, I am still a young man who is not ready to retire for good yet.

It is frustrating for some creatives to not have the opportunity and funds to do what we love to do when they want to do them. Most people have to work. It is called "life". For me, I decided to go back to work on a regular job for a few years and then retire for good. When I retire I can go back to doing what I did over the last 7 year; more photography. Do I need to totally stop doing my photography projects until I retire just because I have a regular full-time job again? Obviously not. I can still do creative projects when I can when I get off work, the weekends, and while on vacations. I just need to do a little planning for my projects. I can still plan short-term and long-term projects and continue to do side jobs for my customers when I am available. Some people think if I can't do my photography full-time, they should just give up. People don't have to do that. They just need to do a little reorganizing of their priorities. I have always believed that people have more than enough time to do a lot of things they enjoy. The problem is we all tend to waste too much time on worthless activities that have no real value. Everyone has time. If you look at the things you do throughout the week, you would be amazed at how much time is wasted. The time that could be used to do the creative projects you love.

If you work a full-time job or two, don't feel you have to give up on developing your creative skills. Just find ways to adapt to your schedule and do what you love when you can. Focus on quality and not quantity. The main thing is just don't quit! For me, it would be great to be a full-time photographer, but for now, I can be a part-timer. There is no shame in that.

Until next time!

Roger

The Benefits of Using a Drone for Inspections

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Today drones can be a great benefit to help industries and companies collect all types of data very quickly. The problem is most companies are unaware of how beneficial and useful UAV's can be to help inspect all types of assets and properties. Traditional methods used to inspect properties and other assets can be very costly and the safety risk can be very high for personnel that may be used to conduct hazardous inspections. That is where the use of an FAA-certified drone pilot and a high-quality drone can be very helpful to an organization.

The companies that do understand the benefits of using a drone to conduct inspections use drones for aerial photography survey's, deliveries, asset inspections, and other types of tasks. Other companies don't fully understand the great benefits of using a drone. Companies that do take advantage of the use of drone understand that drones are very helpful in getting information and valuable data very quickly and safely. Drones can provide accurate inspection data in a shorter amount of time. Drones can be used to inspect many types of facilities, industrial building, energy resources, real estate, insurance related incidents and activities, and a wide range of other inspections. Traditional inspections without the use of a drone can be risky, costly, and take a lot of valuable time. Drones in a sense can help eliminate inaccurate or incomplete data due to human errors and other mitigating factors. There are benefits to using a drone for inspections and using a FAA certified drone pilot to do the job.

Reduces Dangerous Risks and Health Risks to Personnel

Depending on the area needing inspections, drones can be used to inspect structures that may be too tall or complex. Many industries have facilities and structures that can be very complex and difficult for personnel to inspect. Drones can be used to access hostile locations, inspect tall structures and be can be used to easily access locations that may be too risky for personnel.

Data Collection

All drones are not the same and it is important to make sure that an FAA certified drone pilot is used for any type of commercial work. A high-quality drone has the capability to inspect areas because of the unique features of the drone, such as obstacle avoidance, 4K video, and a high-resolution camera. The high-quality of the camera allows a certified drone pilot the ability to inspect the properties in greater detail and can be accessed much easier than using an inspector or inspection team.

Access Properties Very Quickly

The benefit of using an FAA certified drone pilot is that inspections can be done very quickly. In a matter of moments, a drone pilot can quickly and safely launch a drone. Drones are very helpful not only for routine inspections but for emergency situations. Drones are fast and in many cases, an inspection can be completed in less than 30 minutes. The quick use of a drone can help insurance companies, engineers, lending companies, home buyers get the information they need very quickly.

More Capabilities of a Drone

Drones have the ability to conduct inspections from different altitudes and angles. They have the ability to collect accurate data because of how they are equipped. Drones can take a wide variety of images, capture in-depth and impressive video, and gain access to locations that require effective data collection. In many cases, access to some properties would be very difficult and unsafe for an individual.

No Downtime

For some companies, an inspection would require downtime. Downtime may require a company to shut down operations during the inspection to eliminate potential risk to personnel and equipment. Drones can be used to safely inspect facilities and locations with complex systems such as communication towers, radar systems, and other important and highly complex structures. Drones can eliminate downtime so operations and can safely proceed.

Saves Time, Money, and Insurance Costs

Personnel inspections cost money and so does the insurance cost to protect inspectors and workers needed to conduct high-risk inspections. Drones can help eliminate the costs and the risk. Using a drone eliminates the need, time, and cost of using high-risk equipment to conduct inspections. A company does not have a need for ladders, heavy equipment, and large commercial vehicles to conduct sometime dangerous inspections.

Drones can be used for more than just aerial images and videos for photographers and hobbyists. They can be used to eliminate the risk of personnel, properties, and save companies a great deal of time and money. More companies should consider using a drone for their inspection needs. Companies just need to make sure they hire a pilot that is FAA certified and qualified to do the job. All drone users are not the same.

Until next time!

Roger

New Photography Service Called "Quick Pics"!

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Have you ever needed a quick photo and did not have the time to locate someone with a camera to take a nice photo for you? Many people sometimes just need a quick photo. The photo could be a quick headshot, family portrait, pet photo, a photo of thier favorite ride, a photo for a special event, a couples shot, product photo, real estate, or even a quick photo of some commercial property. The need for a quick photo can range from a variety of situations.

People that need a quick photo don't have time to track down a local photographer. Just this morning while I was writing this post a lady contacted me to ask if she could set up a time to photograph her and her family. She wanted a few photos of her kids and wanted to be able to share the images and print them out for other family members and friends. They don't have time to travel to a studio. Most importantly, they don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a photo shoot when they only need a quick photo or two. That is where "Quick Pics" comes in.

How Quick Pics Services Work?

My new photography service is called Quick Pics and now you can get a quick photo pretty easily. If you are in my servicing area we can meet to shoot your needed photo. Here is how it works. I meet my clients and discuss what photo they need. After getting the image or images, I will professional post-process the images and then the client decides which images they want. Prices are based on the number of digital images the client chooses to purchase. After the selection is made by the client the client will receive the selected images on a CD or they can choose to download the images by receiving a personal link provided by me. Either way, the client will have their own digital images that they can print and share them any way they choose.

Schedule Your Session

So why pay hundreds of dollars for an hour-long photo shoot when you only need a photo or two? Now you have another option and it is called Quick Pics. To schedule your photo shoot and your own personal Quick Pic session contact me. I would love to be your own personal photographer.

Until next time!

Roger

Becoming a Freelance Photographer

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Photography and videography are one of those businesses that offer so many opportunities for someone that is in business for themselves. However, it is pretty much a known fact that running a photography business can be expensive, time-consuming, and most photographers and videographers don't make a lot of income. That is why many photographers only do photography on the side and make a few bucks for each job they get. Most photographers that want to make money want to start their own business and want to work for themselves. Very few rarely look at the benefits of working as a freelance photographer. In this post, I will talk about what is a freelance photographer, can all photographers do freelance work, and should photographers focus on specific products and services or should they expand their skill sets to do freelance work. 

So what is a freelance photographer? If you look up the definition on the Internet you can find a wide variety of definitions for the term. In most cases,  a freelance photographer is simply someone that does photography work for others besides themselves. Being a freelance photographer can be profitable if you can find the right business or company that needs your skills. Being a freelance photographer can be expensive because another business is normally not going to provide you with gear, equipment, and software to do a job. So a good freelance photographer has to have the proper gear to do the job. Freelance work can be very time-consuming and can require travel and additional travel expenses. Lastly, freelance photography work is normally a "contract" type of employment which means there is no normal work schedule and companies don't offer benefits. So pretty much, you are on your own. 

Now you may think that being a freelance photographer is not that great but there are some advantages to becoming one. Depending on the work, the money might be pretty good in some cases. I recently saw a freelance real estate job that was willing to pay over $75 an hour to do real estate property shoots within a 30-mile radius in my local area. That is pretty good money if you have the flexibility to do the work, the time, and don't mind the travel. Being a freelance photographer can be exciting because you normally don't do the same thing or shoot the same thing on every project. You may do portrait shoots, all types real estate shoots, special events, video shoots, or even drone photography work. So there are some benefits from becoming a freelance photographer and incorporate those services into your photography business. 

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So, can all photographers do freelance work? Many photographers have the ability to do freelance work, while others don't want to or don't have the proper gear or equipment for the work that may be required. Some photographers focus on a specific form of photography and never want to learn the needed skills to do freelance photography projects. In my opinion, many photographers would like to make a little extra income doing freelance work but don't have all the needed gear. There have been cases where real estate agents have used their cell phones to take images of homes and the images were downloaded directly out of the camera and no post-processing was done. As you can imagine the photos were pretty bad. Today, many real estate companies are looking for certified drone pilots to shoot video footage of homes and land. There are a lot of missed opportunities to make extra income if a photographer can do drone footage. 

I feel the biggest reason many photographers don't do freelance work is their unwillingness to learn new skills so they can offer their products and services to potential businesses. Many photographers are very skilled and have the ability to do freelance work but only focus on a specific type of photography or service. Now don't get me wrong, there are many great photographers that offer some amazing work through their own business and products and services are client specific. There is nothing wrong with that. I feel the issue comes from not being open-minded about taking on some freelance work when the opportunity comes along. Many photographers could not only make more money but freelance work provides them a method to advertise their services and products to those for free. The power of marketing and advertising through word-of-mouth is a powerful thing. Freelance photography work allows photographers to showcase their skills and the potential for more work is possible. 

For many photographers, the question is should a photographer focus specifically on certain products or services or should they expand their skill sets? It really depends on the individual photographer and the goals they set for themselves and their business. For me, I am always working to improve my skill sets and knowledge when comes to photography and videography. I like to study more about photography, how to create new products, and I strive to offer unique services to my customers and clients.  I have no desire to open up my own studio for a variety of reasons. One such reason is cost and overhead. Having my own studio would be nice but it would also not allow me to be flexible in my schedule so I could do freelance work. I want the flexibility to work one-on-one with my clients and customers. I enjoy providing my clients and customers one-on-one attention. That is very important to me. So, for me, freelance photography work makes sense. In my world, I can do both. It just takes time, patience, and the willingness to stay focused on building my business. 

So what is your opinion about freelance photography work? Do you do it now?  Are you considering it? If not, what is holding you back? I would love to hear your take on the topic. Feel free to post your comments on the subject of being a freelance photographer. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Do You Really Care About Your Old Images?

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In this post, I want to do a little ranting about a subject that drives me crazy. That is the subject of people not preserving their own photos. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people don't take the time to find their old photos, digitally scan them, and properly back up the photos to a secure location. I know people say they are busy with life but aren't one-of-a-kind photos important too? I believe that it is not that people are so busy they don't have time to preserve their old photos. It is that they don't understand how truly sorry they will be when their old photos were lost, damaged or destroyed. Then it will be too late. 

A few years ago I started thinking about how I would feel if I lost all of my old photos. Then I decided to take action before it was too late for me. I gathered up every photo I could find that was not digitalized and I began scanning them. As I was scanning them I realized that many of the photos consisted of only one copy and there were no negatives or backups. I realized if I did not take the time to scan my own images a part of my own life's history would be gone forever. I would not have images that my son and his family could keep and share for many years long after I was gone. That was my motivation for scanning my own photos. 

I talk to a lot of people that say they need to have their photos scanned and preserved, but never take the time to do it. I often wonder how they would feel if they lost their old photos due to a house fire. I am pretty sure they would have many regrets for not having their photos scanned and backed up. It is pretty easy to take action and preserve old photos. All that is required is locating all the old photos you can find, gather them up, have them scanned, put the images on some storage device, and back up the images to an off-site location. It is also a good practice to have multiple copies of the files. Having photos scanned and saved have other benefits too. All your precious images can be printed, shared, enhanced and restored. 

I have personally asked members of my own family if I could get a copy of an old image to find out no one knew where the images were and the only copy that once existed is now gone. That drives me nuts. I would love to see a photo of my late grandmother who died many years ago when I was a small boy. I really miss that lady and I have actually forgotten what she looked like. Having an old image of her would be priceless. Unfortunately, no one took the time to preserve her image and no one has a photo of her. 

Do you have old photos lying around your home stuffed in cabinets, drawer, folders, or other parts of your home? How would feel if you lost those photos in a house fire? Do your old photos mean a lot to you? If they do, I highly suggest you take the time to have your old photos scanned, stored on some type of backup device, and have the files backed up. You will be glad you did. I know I am. 

If would like your photos scanned contact me. It would be an honor for me to help you preserve your precious memories. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Portraits Sessions With Kids Can Be a Challege, But Rewarding Too

I have stated in the past I believe it is a good thing if a photographer branches out and photograph a wide variety of subjects. I enjoy trying new things that I feel will improve my photography skills no matter what the subject is. Even though I don't do a lot of portrait photography shoots with kids I do enjoy the challenge of photographing them and sometimes the images are awesome. What makes my photo shoots even more challenging for me is I don't like to carry around a lot of gear to do my portrait shoots, especially when trying to chase down "Little Johnny". Kids don't like to sit down to get their photos taken. So, I have to go mobile when photographing kids. That is where the challenge starts. 

I don't mind chasing kids down when photographing them. Walking around observing them and trying to capture unique and unstaged portraits is my main goal for children portrait images. My goal is to get at least one special image for the photo shoot. Sometimes, I may only get one or two special images and sometimes I may get really lucky and get more. Below are four images I took during a photo shoot of a beautiful little girl that was not staged and each photo was taken on her grandparents front porch in the Spring. I believe the photos are unique because they captured the little girl emotions and her expressions were priceless. The cute and colorful outfit was a plus as well. 

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There is a little history behind the images. The images were shot about 7 years ago and taken with my old trusty Canon 60D camera. I wanted to go back and re-edit the old images since my photography post-processing skills have improved over the years. I knew when the images were taken it was important for me to make sure I shot my images in "RAW" which would allow me to work with all the data from each image if I needed to in the future. It is important for any new photographer to remember to shot in RAW when possible. It is always important to save all your images and back them up. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit them and improve the images. You can do that if you shoot in RAW and don't lose them. 

For me, portrait images of little kids can be fun but it requires me to be observant and ready at all times. Kids photo shoots can be short or take longer than most portrait shoots. I always remain myself that I have to disregard time when it comes to photographing kids. I am on their time, not mine.

 It is great to have your own studio to photograph kids and have all the gear you need to take awesome well-planned images of the kids with fancy props, but what is the fun in that? I like the challenge of sneaking up on the kids to get my shots and using the natural environment around me. That is more fun for the kids and a big kid like me. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Preserving Your Old Photos is So Important

I have always loved old photos. The types of photos where there is only one original copy that still exists. One-of-a-kind photos are special and many times are irreplaceable if they are lost or damaged. The sad part is many people don't think about very old photos until they are lost or damaged. Many historic and family photos are usually located in old boxes or still in an old glass frame where the old photo is usually stuck to the glass and can be damaged if you try to remove it. Believe me, I have had my share of photos that were difficult to remove from an old glass frame and several times the print was totally destroyed. 

Today, people don't think too much about photos because we live in a digital world where current photos are easily taken and shared. But for many old photos that are printed and where is only one copy that is not the case. Old photos need to be taken care of, restored (if possible) and most importantly digitalized. If an old photo can be digitalized it can easily be shared and treasured for years to come. Sadly, some people don't think about it until an old historic or family photo is lost forever. 

Below is an old photo I restored for a friend that is no longer with us. He was a mayor of a small town in North Carolina who truly wanted to help preserve the town's history and had me restore several very old photos that were over 75 years old. He only had the originals and wanted the old photos digitalized so they could be shared for many years to come. He understood the importance of restoring old images of the past and took steps to do that. If you look at the old photo and think about it, those people are gone forever and that photo help preserves their life's history and legacy. That is a power of an old image one-of-a-kind image. 

photography-restoration-photo-picture-edited-legacy-historic-family-photography-photographer-history

Do you have old images that need to be restored and digitalized? If you do I suggest you take the time to gather up those old images and have they scanned, enhanced, and stored away. It is important to take the time to do that. I personally gathered up every photo I could find and scanned them so I could preserve them. The tasked took me over 5 days to sit down and scan every image I could get my hands on. It was tedious work but it was worth it. Now I have all my photos backed up and I can share them. Just remember, once an old image is damaged, destroyed, or lost you can never get it back. 

If you have old images you would like restored or if you have old photos that you would like scanned just let me know I can do that for you. I would love to help you preserve your photos and history. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Drone Photography Can Be Fun and Profitable

In the photography world, today drone images and drone video images have become more popular. It takes a skill drone pilot get great images. I am not talking about the person in their backyard trying to fly their homemade drone and hoping they don't crash it or hit someone. I am talking about photographers that are looking for unique images that have a totally different perspective than the traditional photography and videos that are shot from ground level. 

As I fly my DJI Phantom 3 drone more and more I truly appreciate the images that come from the drone. I have the option to shoot nice still images with the drone. More impressive is the quality of the video footage from the drone. When I fly my drone I make it a point to capture still images and video footage during every photo shoot. I want to get a unique view of my subjects. Just recently I flew my drone in High Point NC with my son, Jordan Younce. He is a very talented drone pilot, photographer, videographer, and photographer trainer. I learn a great deal from him during our photoshoots. He and I went into downtown High Point NC to shoot some videos and stills with our drones. He was working on a drone video series for his company and I was just wanting to shoot some drone footage to improve my drone skills. My other objective was to get images I could use for future advertising. 

During my flights, I was able to capture a couple of unique images from downtown High Point. I captured some overhead footage of a nice business building, a new construction site, and a video of a small portion of downtown High Point. Drone photography provides me with an opportunity to look for images that I cannot get when doing my normal photography. I actually get pretty excited when I see what I can actually photograph or video from hundreds of feet above me. Below are a few images I captured;

Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Drone photography can open up a whole new world for photographers. It can be a little expensive to get started. Of course, you need a decent drone and it is very important to get FAA drone certified. Getting FAA certified opens up more opportunities for a drone pilot. It is also important to know that to fly commercially in the United States, all drone pilots that offer commercial services as a business have to be certified. Believe me, the FAA is continually looking for individuals that violate that policy. Youtube has many videos of drone pilots that have been slapped with fines for improper drone uses and safety violations. 

It takes patience and most of all practice when flying any drone. The last thing you want to do is crash your new drone or even worse, hurt someone because you don't have the skills to fly a drone. Drone photography is not that easy. Just search on Youtube for "Drone Fails" and you will see what I mean. I do not regret getting into drone photography. It opens up new opportunities for me and I can provide new services to my clients and customers. There are businesses that need certified drone photographers and videographers. So, why not provide those services to them. As a photographer, I don't understand why I would not want to do that. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

My New Toy and Tool; DJI Phantom Pro Drone!

As most people know drones have become very popular today. More and more people are getting drones for a variety of reasons. Most of the time people want a drone because they are fun to fly and give the pilot a cool view or perspective of a particular location or subject that most of us can't see without the use of a drone. Photographers, videographers, and filmmakers are increasingly interested in drones and the unique footage they provide. That includes me.

DJI Phantom Pro

DJI Phantom Pro

Just recently my son gave me his old drone. He gave me his Phantom Pro from DJI. He got a new and bigger one and he thought of his old dad. I wasn't really sure if I would ever use or want a drone. I did think they were cool and I was very interested and impressed with all the technology that goes into a drone and what they are capable of doing. As a kid, I never had or was interested in remote control devices and to be totally honest if a drone did not have a camera I would not be interested in today's drones. As a photographer, a drone with a camera will come in handy in the future for me and I have a lot of plans for the drone.

Once I received my drone I knew I needed training, practice, and a lot of information on how to use the drone, how to take videos and images, and information on when and where I could fly the drone. There is more to flying a drone than just taking off and landing. I got together with my son who started training and teaching me about flying my drone. My son is a very talented photographer, videographer, and certified drone pilot. What is great for me is that even though I am not certified to fly in many locations (the cool places), I can fly at more interesting locations that he can fly in as long as I am with him.

Drone Sample Test Flight

Drone Sample Test Flight

My plans for using the drone is simple. First, I need to practice with the drone as much as possible. I don't want to crash my new toy. I want to get comfortable with the controls and be able to shoot unique images and videos with the drone. The DJU Phantom Pro drone does take nice images and I am very impressed with the quality of the 4K video. I plan to continue to scout out locations to video. One location I plan to photograph and video in the near future will be off the coast of North Carolina. I plan to shoot a lot of video and photos in the North Carolina mountains as well.

For me, having a drone opens up a lot of opportunities to capture interesting footage and images that I could have never had the opportunity to capture. Becoming proficient in shooting drone footage allows me the opportunity to offer additional services to my clients and customers. It will allow me to shoot footage for those that may request unique landscape or real estate footage. Having a drone will allow me to become more creative with my work and hopefully provide more quality images to my customers. If you are a photographer and don't have a drone, I recommend getting one. Not only are they a lot of fun they are can be a useful tool for any photographer.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Finding Your Niche in Photography

Should a photographer have a niche when it comes to photography or should a photographer be able to photograph anything? A lot of photographers seem to struggle with that question when they start out in photography. Should they study and practice to be great at one type of photography or study various styles, forms, and photography practices? I can see the pros and cons of both schools of thought.

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Every photographer wants to be great and known for their work and many people have no problem being specialized in one type of photography. There are those that love landscape, wedding, portrait, pet, event, wildlife, nature, real estate, drone, and many other types of photography. Most people choose their type of photography based on their passion and some do a particular type of photography for monetary gains. In most cases, they have a niche and stick with it. For me, I started my journey in photography with landscapes and locations like Utah.

But is having a niche or one particular style always a good thing? I believe having a niche can be good, but I also believe it limits a photographer from learning and growing as a photographer. Now, don't get me wrong, a photographer doesn't have to know all types of photography to be successful, but wouldn't it be great if a photographer possessed a variety of creative skills that he or she could use if needed? Many photographers are routinely asked if they photograph things they normally don't photograph all the time. If he or she can't do a job, some people may think they must not be a "real" photographer.

When I started in photography I did like most photographers and thought I needed my own niche or speciality. I thought I needed to find one type of photography and do just that one style. I was told I needed to find my niche. I felt if I devoted my time, money, and energy into one style or type of photography I would be successful. Something inside me told me that was not the way to pursue my passion for photography. My passion in photography has always been to capture moments in time, no matter the subject. I realized I needed to study various forms of photography and even study videography.

My belief stems from a belief I have always had as a martial artist. When I began my martial arts studies when I was 13 years old I learned under one style. For years I thought that is all I needed to know to become a good martial artist. After learning the basics of the style I was studying I realized I needed to know more to become a skills fighter. I needed to studying other forms of martial arts to become a better martial artist. In a sense, my niche was not having a niche. Photography to me is the same way. After learning the basics of photography, I felt I needed to learn other forms and techniques of photography. I did not need a niche. I needed to learn all that I could from others. I needed to find my way. There is an old saying that Bruce Lee said that applies to my martial arts days, my life today, and even with my photography today. Lee said, "Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own'.

North Carolina Zoo

North Carolina Zoo

I feel everyone has their opinion whether it is good to have a single niche regarding their photography. I can see why some people feel that way. A niche can be a good thing and for some photographers very profitable. I choose to not have a niche. I love to photograph all types of subjects. I love to photograph landscapes, nature, wildlife, pets, portraits, sports, and even headshots for clients. However, I choose to not do weddings. I can't handy the drama from the divas. For me, I photograph what I like and try to improve my skills all the time. I never know when I will need some specific skills to help someone out.

I want to learn new things and learn from others. I want to do more video in the future. Videography will allow me to expand my skills sets and help to tell a story. I want to create stories. I want to write more blog posts about photography. But to do that I need to know myself, become more observant of my limitations, and continue to strive to become a better photographer.

A niche can be a great thing. For me, a niche limits my ability to grow and become a better and more skills photographer. Do you feel each photographer has to have a specific niche to be successful? I would love to hear your views on the subject. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Finding Another Mini-Tripod for Vlogging

As some of you know I am looking to getting into more video production in the future. I have all the equipment I really need. I  recently began conducting an inventory of all my gear to make sure I have everything. One item I know I will need to shoot video will be a good high-quality tripod that can support my DSLR camera and lens. I have 3 standard tripods and I had one mini-tripod. Noticed I said, "had". I had the Mama Win 2-in-1 Camera Tripod +Cell Phone Tripod, iPhone Tripod Mount for about one year.

Mama Win Tripod

Mama Win Tripod

I ordered the Mama Win tripod in 2017 and used it occasionally for minor recordings and usually for just holding my cell phone. I never got the opportunity to travel with it for a photo shoot. By all appearances, the tripod looks very cool and I thought it should be very sturdy and strong. I was wrong. While simply attaching my DSLR one of the tripod legs snapped off. I thought, what a piece of junk? I was a little shocked by the weakness of the tripod and definitely thought it would last longer than it did. I figured over time and with some continued use the product would eventually break down, but not that quickly. Oh well, what should I have expected from a tripod that cost less than $20.00? I have to admit, it did look cool though.

Patekfly Tripod

Patekfly Tripod

Since the Mama Win turned out to be a piece of junk I knew I had to purchase a new tripod for my upcoming vlogging adventures. I decided to go with the Patekfly 12 Inch Flexible Camera Tripod. The Patekfly has over 120, 5-star reviews on Amazon. I like the way the tripod has flexible strong legs that have minimum parts that can snap off. It supports my Canon 80D and Tamon telephoto zoom lens. I was a little concerned that it may not be able to hold up the weight of the camera and lens. It seems to be a stronger tripod.

If you are looking to purchase a mini-tripod for your camera, GoPro, iPhone, check out the Patedfly camera tripod. It comes with attachments to support can a DSLR camera, GoPro, or iPhone. The cost is no bad either. It cost under $25.00 on Amazon.

I will keep everyone posted on how well the Patekfly tripod holds up in the field when I am out working on shooting video in the future, so stay tuned.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger