Innovation pays off for high-flying cameraman
By Kate de Lautour
Times have changed for photography businesses. Gone are the days when there was a studio photographer, a specialist wedding or portrait photographer. Today, anyone can be a photographer, says Hawke’s Bay’s Tim Whittaker, and that’s meant a need for his photography business to diversify.
The Hastings based business now incorporates the Open2View franchise, used for the real estate industry, and Whittaker has embraced opportunities in the wine industry, offering a bottle shot service on a tailor-made website, together with his media and wedding photography work.
In the last 12 months Whittaker has taken the business to new levels, investing in three high-flying photo drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Civil Aviation Authority regulations state that UAV operators must have a private pilots licence (PPL), limiting the widespread use of the latest technology, but ideal for Whittaker, who has held a PPL for 10 years and is one of only eight authorized UAV operators in the country.
The latest, and largest, acquisition has multi axis gyroscopic stabilisation, making it easier to control and importantly, providing a stable image, perfect for high-end video capture, including television advertising. An air pressure sensor allows the drone to hold its altitude, sensitive to just a few centimetres.
“We’re getting amazing footage of properties for sale, particularly those by the coast where the vendor might want to show off the front door and the sea in the same shot,” Whittaker says.
“The same goes for lifestyle properties where the drone can give a buyer a really superb and realistic view of the property much better than they will see on Google Earth, for example.”
The innovation is leading to growth in the commercial side of the business and a new associate photographer will join the business shortly to grow the wedding business.
Whittaker says use of the drones, which have video goggles so the camera operator can see the footage in real time, has wide reaching advantages, including for the police and fire department.
“The drone would have been really useful during the “Napier siege” because we could have so easily flown to a window to see what was happening.”
Kate de Lautour
for Business Hawke’s Bay and the Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Photo caption – Tim Whittaker is one of only eight UAV authorized operators in the country.