Colby McLemore is now a PPA Certified Drone Photographer, a designation that is above and beyond the required FAA Drone Pilot License. For any commercial use of a drone, the FAA requires a drone pilot license. This involves a written test focusing primarily on the laws and has nothing to do with photography or videography. Interestingly, to become a certified drone photographer requires a minimum of 30 hours of flight time, proof of general liability insurance, and passing a test showing proficiency in drone courtesy and artistry. There are only two people within a hundred miles of Knoxville who have become both a licensed drone pilot and a certified drone photographer.

Colby has been doing aerial photos and videos for over thirty years. Flying was a way of life in his family. His father was in the Air Force and owned planes for most of his life. Colby then started photographing cabins in the Smokies from a small plane that he owned. Trying to get a closer look, he also put his camera on tall poles. He was an early adopter of drone technology because drones saved a lot of money on camera repairs. He got his drone pilot license soon after they were offered and is proud of recently getting the certified drone photographer designation.

Colby is an even better photographer and videographer than he is a pilot. For techy people, flying the drone is the easy part as the drones have really advanced over the years. But exceptional images and videos come from the artist’s side. Colby has just as much time behind the camera as he has flying. He is a full-time photographer and videographer and has spent a career transforming the mundane into the extraordinary.

Making the process easy for clients is often overlooked. He gives quotes on the first call and is easy to schedule. His clients are able to easily download their photos or videos from the internet. Colby is familiar with restricted air spaces, which can be very confusing to the inexperienced, and he has the ability to obtain immediate waivers in a lot of instances. This only comes through years of experience and creating streamlined processes. Being licensed or a certified drone photographer doesn’t guarantee professionalism.

In addition, safety is second nature to him. He uses government suggested checklists and maintenance schedules, checks air space restrictions and weather, and creates emergency contingencies for each flight. It takes years of experience to implement these correctly and consistently. Flying into a person, vehicle, or building is the last thing a client wants. Colby also has a drone rider on his general liability insurance. It is shocking how many drone photographers in Tennessee lack insurance.

If you’d like to learn what a certified drone photographer can do for you, click here. If you have a specific project you wish to discuss, click here