What Does It Mean To Hire A Licensed Drone Pilot?

It’s not hard to grab a drone today. For as little as $170 one can buy a drone that shoots 4K video. When thinking about using drone footage for your business, this opportunity seems like a great option. After all, flying drones is so fun! However, as fun as they are, drone flying comes with its own set of rules and safety concerns that make hiring a licensed pilot the smart way to go.

First, the FAA has made a regulation that any commercial drone pilot must have a Part 107 license. That is, if you plan on making money off your footage, you need to have this license.

What is the Part 107?

The FAA made a great effort to work with the drone industry and create a set of regulations that keeps the airspace safe and still allows for drone activity. While some people may feel the restrictions are annoying, they are actually very open and welcoming to drone pilots. They ensure a set of easy to follow rules that keep pilots confident and people safe.

To get a license drone pilots must know these clear regulations on drone operation, understand airspace (such as airports, military and other restricted areas), weather patterns, communication channels and information networks.


While you don’t need to be a licensed professional to get practice in, licensed pilots are typically practiced in emergency procedures for such events as weather, aircraft becoming disconnected from controller and what to look for in terms of flight paths and possible on site dangers. Not to mention all those really cool camera moves and framing that make your videos and photos stand out!

Flying in Restricted Airspace

Occasionally something video and photo worthy will be found in restricted airspace. While an unlicensed pilot will be unable to fly in these spaces, a licensed pilot will be able to communicate with the FAA to request permission to fly in restricted areas. Permission ensures that your production will go through without unnecessary interruption from authorities.

And finally, a licensed pilot should also come with insurance. A license doesn’t automatically mean an insured pilot, but this is something worth asking about when hiring a drone pilot for your project. Insurance adds extra protection to any aerial shoot involving people and property from unplanned events such as malfunctions, weather, and fly aways.

Curious about drone for your project please reach out!

For fun, here are a couple resources for further exploration into aerial video and photography:



5 Tips On Creating Video For Social Media

If you are present on any social media platform then you have probably noticed the high volume of video content that is present in your news feed. This is not by accident! Video’s ability to connect brands with their target consumer is increasing exponentially as the years go by. Sprout Social states that “30% of millennials say they engage with a brand on social media at least once a month.” Here are five tips to keep in mind while planning to integrate video into your social media marketing plan.

1) Have A Plan – If you are making lots of content, regardless of whether or not its all video, photography or a mix of both, be sure your message stays consistent. All of the content on your social platforms should be communicating your brand’s personality, goals, product, look and style. That’s a lot to keep in mind! Especially in video, as each frame must maintain that brand aesthetic. So before you roll that camera, be sure you have a plan in mind.

2) Who Is Watching – Each platform has their own demographic. Facebook and and Twitter are great platforms for sharing content that is news based, such as the launch of a new product, generating a following for a cause, and sharing note worthy events. Instagram and YouTube followers tend to be looking for more educational content, lifestyle tips and fashion products. When planning your media, think about what platform you will be using and who will be watching.

3) Opt In Marketing – We are are in the age of “opt-in” marketing. Consumers are no longer forced to sit through commercials before they get to their desired content. People scroll through their news feed actively avoiding ads when they come onto their screen. This means that in order to get people to engage with your brand’s media you have to get consumers to opt-in to your content. When planning your marketing videos be sure to create visually stimulating images and captivating edits to keep the story moving forward. If you focus on pulling your audience in with engaging story and stunning imagery your chances of click throughs and consumer engagement will soar.

4) Be Consistent – Not only with brand identity, but with the consistency of your posts as well. No brand wins followers with the first video. That means you need to maintain your presence and media to stay present in peoples news feeds. If you keep showing up with quality content the more chance you will have to getting your audience to engage with your brand. Keep content short and digestible, and keep it coming.

5) Call To Action – This is a must with all marketing content and certainly just as important with anything you post to social media. Always end your video with an option to follow your brand with a #hashtag or link to visit the website or other social channels. Entice your audience to close in on a sweet limited time offer or an opportunity to join a community of like minded individuals.

Like any good marketing plan, video for social media needs care and attention to make sure the content maintains your brand aesthetic. If you have plans to create the media yourself be sure to pay attention to all aspects of what is going on in your video. Stellar lighting,  interesting visuals, great graphics and editing will keep your customer watching for the whole video.

What Video Is Right For Your Business?

All of them!

There are many different types of video that will be beneficial to any business website or marketing plan, and while all of them may be helpful, that doesn’t mean your business has the budget for producing multiple videos.

The main types of videos that will be addressed here are Business Personality, Business Introduction, Overview or Explainer and Testimonials. There are of course many more, but most businesses will be focusing on at least one of the above options.

The Business Personality video is like a mini documentary about your business. This is ideal for established businesses with interesting history, unique products or for new businesses with a compelling origin story or message. Business Personality videos are between 3 – 5 minutes in length and focus on bringing the viewer behind the scenes. They can explore the culture of a business, the process of creating the product or service and the impact it has on the local community. These videos usually require multiple shoot days and sometimes travel to locations where the business gets their source material and inspiration. Interviews may be conducted with the owner, employees and customers to get a complete narrative.

The Business Introduction video is faster to create and can usually be done in one or two shoots. These videos are ideal for solo business owners who focus on B2C or B2B relationships. Introduction videos normally contain one interview with the owner who describes what the business is, the ideal client, and how they will solve a common consumer problem. Introduction videos frequently don’t exceed 90 seconds to maintain interest and deliver valuable information quickly and efficiently. These videos are placed on the landing page of a website or in the “About” section. Introduction videos are a very valuable way to introduce yourself and your values to potential clients as they browse multiple options.

Overview or Explainer Videos are best used for products. Whether that is a software app or something tangible, these videos enable the creator to clearly explain the highlights of the product in a visually engaging manner. Explainer videos may include beauty shots, animation, and voice over descriptions of how the product will relieve a common issue or need in the market. Explainer videos are around 60 to 90 seconds in length, but can venture into longer times if the product is particularly complex. However, if a longer narrative is needed, a good idea is to have a short version and a separate longer version for those who have continued and vested interest.

Testimonial videos are the final most valuable video to a business. Frequently overlooked in favor of written Yelp reviews, the testimonial video is a good way for potential customers to hear first hand how they were helped by a product or service. The value of seeing a persons face and emotions when delivering the video testimonial goes above and beyond that of written testimonials from otherwise faceless clients. Most businesses can rely on at least 5 quality video testimonials of about 60 seconds in length to greatly expand their fan base.

There are of course many types of video options and narratives that can be created for businesses beyond this list, but hopefully this triggers the creative juices while you continue your investigation into how video can benefit your business going forward. The joy of any creative medium is that the only limitation is your imagination!

DIY or Hire A Professional?

Let’s not beat around the bush. At this point in our technology evolution, everyone has access to a decent camera. Whether the camera is a high grade DSLR or the latest iPhone, most people have the capability to shoot and edit their own videos. As a professional videographer, I won’t lie and say that this isn’t a source of mild frustration. However, there are a few instances where it makes a lot of sense to use your phone’s video capabilities rather than hire a professional.

Often people see video in two categories: professional commercial grade that you might see on TV and YouTube quality. People think professional and they see $$$$ and large crews, whereas YouTube is homemade, gets the information out and is easily done by anyone. Ten years ago homemade worked, it made sense and everybody was impressed or at least didn’t mind. Unfortunately, due the the easy availability of quality cameras accessible by everyone today, there is simply no excuse for the “homemade” look in videos meant for certain audiences. How do you know when to make the leap and hire professional?

First, make sure to decide why you are creating a video in the first place. Is this video full of lasting information? Is the video about your business? Is the video selling a product? What audience is the video going to be marketed towards? Also consider how you are planning on showing the video. Will it hold a prominent place on your website? Are you hoping to have a viral marketing campaign, or will the video be shared to a select audience via newsletter or YouTube channel?

If the goal of the video is to encourage business growth, sell a product or spread a focused message then the video needs to reflect the quality of the brand and foundation behind the message. For example, one does not show up to work in track pants with a dirty sweatshirt and expect to be taken seriously as a business person. A video, once published, is live for the world to see 24/7. Day and night this video will working for the business, spreading the message and selling the product. That means the video created is essentially an employee and must look and act the part for the brand. When deciding whether or not to create your own video for your business or product, consider how you will want it to be perceived while out in the world. How will your video be representing you and your message?

That being said, there are several cases where the DIY approach makes sense. Some businesses put out frequent short snippets of information. Real estate, for example, might want to update clients on the market at regular intervals. Chefs might want to share short recipes. Healers might want to share weekly self care tips. All of these sent either through newsletters, YouTube channels or simply placed in a special section of a website would be good examples of videos that would have success when self produced. Client testimonial videos are also a candidate for the DIY approach for budget conscious business owners.

Let’s talk about money, since that is usually what it all comes down to. Professional TV commercials do cost millions and have large crews and trucks full of equipment. That doesn’t mean that a professional videographer hired to create your business video will be the same production. Remember, technology has evolved and large crews aren’t always necessary. Many times a professional look can be achieved with one camera and one videographer who manages the whole production. By saving money and doing it yourself, you risk poor quality, such as, weird framing, bad lighting, hard to hear audio and dragging sentences.
Knowing how to do all of these things effectively is a skill learned through training and practice. If you are a business owner, a lot of time could be spent learning a skill that is not directly related to running your business. Time spent away from customer interactions or perfecting your products and services. One might lose money, while trying to save money on a video production, only to create something that won’t effectively represent the quality of the business.

When you hire a professional, you are hiring someone who understands how to frame and light the video effectively. Someone who is able to capture quality audio, and direct the subject to deliver sentences that are clear and concise. A professional knows how to take key elements and edit them together in an engaging story that will attract attention and adhere to branding quality.

How do you know when to hire a professional or to do it yourself? It depends on what type of video is needed. Are you communicating frequent, short, bits of information to an informal audience? The DIY approach is perfect for you. Are you creating a video that will represent your personal brand or sell a product? Hiring a professional will ensure your video will be viewed and shared with the respect of a quality brand. Make sure to take the time and evaluate the purpose and desired audience of the video before making the decision.

Virtual Reality

I may have been absent from my website, but I have not been idle in “RL”. That’s “Real Life” for those who don’t know.
Learning new skills and keeping up with the technological trends is a must in most industries. For me, getting excited about new camera specs is not high on my list, though I have been known to geek out on occasion.
My excitement always leans towards the visual. From there I can get excited about how to create what I see, which then leads to the specs…ANYWAY! My new visual excitement – Virtual Reality.

I was introduced to the world of Virtual Reality through the Occulus Rift headset. Here I dove into the world of 3D interactive space that was both familiar and new; if you are a reader of science fiction, you may remember worlds where virtual reality plays a major role in future societies. I’m not a first adapter in anything. So my original response was one of, “Is this the way of society now? Will we ever interact face to face? Are we losing valuable connection through this new form of entertainment?”

Having no experience in programming and several years separation from any real gaming I found myself intrigued but doubtful about this new medium. Then I discovered VR in 360 degrees, or 360 video. This is not the 3D space created primarily for gaming, but a way to watch a constructed story with a 360 degree immersive video. Through classes and dialogue with fellow creatives, my view shifted.

Virtual Reality is not a way to remove oneself from society even further, but a tool to bring people even deeper into worlds they may normally see as an impossibility. Not only that, but it’s newness on the market and in entertainment makes it the perfect space to experiment. There is no wrong way to do anything, there is only learning and growth.

So, now I find myself looking around my world, thinking of stories and ways to use this new technology to bring my clients, art and social and world issues into this new medium. I’m so excited and inspired.

Have some ideas? Want to chat about what VR means to you? I’d love to chat!

Traveling and Landscapes

Sometimes a break from the City is very important. Nature helps me to recharge, relax and absorb what is really important: Myself!

I mean that with all seriousness. If we don’t focus on keeping our minds and bodies fresh everything suffers; work, relationships, and above all creativity! Without my ability to bring a fresh mind and perspective to my work everything looks the same and improvements and growth freeze.

At the end of July I took a short road trip north to Portland, up to Washington, and back down to Crescent City. I saw beauty and heard nothing but the wind in the trees and the birds in the sky. The separation from the demands of the City let me slow down. I was also able to capture some landscape images for my 52 Week Challenge, so I will get back to producing some projects! I promise.

In the meantime make sure you make time for yourself. Step away from the computer and go outside, read a book, paint a picture. Just make sure that you are doing it for yourself.

Alexis Keenan

Alexis Keenan

Head Shot

I have not forgotten, nor have I been idle. The way of life says that once you begin projects of your own, other work floweth.

Additionally, I decided to enter a small film contest, so much of my spare time went to the entry. However, I was able to shoot the footage for Week 4: Head Shot Portrait. My good friend and her husband decided to move to Toronto. I was fortunate to be able to spend one last day with them and they were kind enough to be the subjects of this next piece. Enjoy!


This is week two of the video challenge I have decided to take on. Following the guidelines of Dogwoods 52 Week Challenge brings me to Landscape. However, I was super sick this last week and couldn’t get out of bed, let alone go for a walk to find a landscape. So, in my fuzzy sick head I developed my idea for week three, which is “Artistic: Red”. Just a minor little week swap.

Making Art

I did it again. I dropped the blogging ball. I am back and here to stay, for the next 52 weeks at least!

Lately, as a business owner, I’ve found that I’ve been so bogged down with the day to day needs of my business that I have lost track of what propels me through life. Art.
Emails, meetings, accounting, marketing all seemed to take over – which is the life of running a business, but I have felt there is something missing. A lack of purpose.

Last week I went to the beach with my friend and photographer Jennifer Winfrey. Jennifer was on a mission to make some art. She used me as her model and I enjoyed watching her move through the process of gathering the images necessary to make something beautiful.

Sometimes you need someone to shake you and remind you to pull yourself out of the day to day and make that time and space to create something fresh and new and just for you. This blog, for the next 52 weeks is going to be dedicated to a video project following the guidelines of Dogwood 52 weeks of Photography. I will be applying the same prompts to video and I’m excited to see how I will grow as an artist in the process.