Monthly Archives

January 2017

Umbrella drone keep yourself dry in the wet Cumbrian Lake District

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments


Here at Hovershotz we stumbled upon a rather strange contraption at dronesdirect; a brolly drone – yes that’s right a drone fitted with an umbrella. At first we had to check that it wasn’t April fools day as it seemed like some sort of spoof, but it seems like a genuine product.

The British weather, particularly in the English Lake District is predictably unpredictable – rain one minute, sunshine the next! It seems that every time you leave the house, you have to make that all important decision as to whether or not you should bring an umbrella. However, holding an umbrella, as well as your shopping and everything else can make it exceedingly difficult to use your smartphone or enjoy a quick coffee on the go. Thankfully, that’s all about to change with the invention of the umbrella drone.



At first glance, it may appear to resemble something from the likes of Mary Poppins, but on closer inspection, this specially adapted Phantom 4 drone is practically perfect in every way. As it hovers stable above you, the drone automatically tracks and follows your every movement via GPS in your smartphone to ensure the umbrella protects you from the rain without you needing to hold it. It essentially frees up your hands so you can concentrate on things like walking the dog, riding a bike, shooting photos or taking on those named storms in style.

umbrella drone multi-use
umbrella drone advanced tech


DJI’s latest Phantom 4 Drone is on hand to ensure you remain dry even if Mother Nature decides to rain on your parade. Not only is it designed to cope with strong and unexpected gusts of wind, the Phantom 4 also offers built-in collision avoidance technology so you don’t have to worry about it accidentally colliding into a tree, lamp post or wall. Plus, the Drone comes fitted with a high capacity battery that boasts a massive 30 minutes of flight time, which makes it perfect for heading out and running errands.

  • Simple to use hands-free umbrella that hovers above your head
  • Hands-free piloting – the drone automatically follows you via your smartphone’s GPS
  • Perfect for walking the dog, riding a bike, watching a sporting event, etc…..
  • Long battery life – up to 30 minutes flight time
  • Built-in collision avoidance technology for maximum safety
  • Can be also used as a regular drone to fly in the rain
 This could also be the answer for filming or photography in the rain, especially in Cumbria.

US Drone photography company to pay $200,000 fine

By | Drones & UAV's | No Comments

Authorities clamping down on rogue drone operators

While this story come form the USA, it appears that UK authorities are following on from their US counterparts and clamping down on rogue drone operators., which cannot come too soon.

ChicagoImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Image captionSkypan was accused of carrying out dozens of unauthorised flights over Chicago and New York

A drone company specialising in aerial photography has agreed to pay a record fine to avoid the risk of an even larger penalty.

Chicago-based Skypan International had been accused of conducting 65 illegal flights in “congested airspace” over its home city and New York.

The Federal Aviation Administration had threatened a $1.9m (£1.5m) charge.

However, Skypan settled the case by agreeing to pay a $200,000 civil penalty.

It must also help the watchdog’s drone-use education efforts and pay up to a further $300,000 if it breaks the law again.

The company pitches its service to architects, hotels and property developers as a way to envisage how planned projects will fit into their surroundings.

“SkyPan’s flights were conducted two years before the FAA’s first rule for commercial UAS [unmanned aerial systems] went into effect in August 2016,” the company said in a statement.

“SkyPan has never had an accident, and SkyPan has never compromised citizens’ privacy or security.”

Prior to August, drone operators needed to have a pilot’s licence to carry out commercial flights.

In addition, they had to seek permission from the FAA for each operation.

The FAA are taking a tough stance on cowboy drone operators, whom they term as ‘Skylarks’.

Under the new system, commercial drones can be flown as long as the pilot:

  • is over the age of 16
  • has passed a safety test
  • keeps the drone within sight
  • does not send the aircraft more than 400ft (122m) above ground level

The regulator is expected to issue further rules about flying drones over crowds in the coming months,

Hovershotz main drone - DJI Inspire 1 Professional black edition

DJI Inspire 1 & Inspire 1 Pro Specifications

By | DJI Drones | No Comments

Factory specification chart for DJI Inspire 1 & Inspire 1 Professional (Pro) drones.

Inspire 1 SpecsInspire 1 Pro Specs
Weight2935g (Battery Included)3400g (Battery, propellers and Zenmuse X5 included)
Takeoff Weight3400g3500g
Hovering Accuracy
(GPS mode)
Max Angular VelocityPitch:300°/s;Yaw:150°/sPitch:300°/s;Yaw:150°/s
Max Tilt Angle35°35°
Max Ascent/Descent Speed5/4 m/s5/4 m/s
Max Speed22m/s(ATTI mode,no wind)18m/s(ATTI mode,no wind)
Max Flight Altitude4500m4500m
Max Wind Speed Resistance10m/s10m/s
Operating Temperature Range-10°~40°C-10°~40°C
Max Flight TimeApproximately 18 minutesApproximately 15 minutes
Indoor HoveringEnabled by defaultEnabled by default
Hovershotz flying a drone andy wills kendal

Getting started as a professional drone operator in the UK by Hovershotz Aerial photography Cumbria

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys | No Comments

Being a professional drone operator is like any other business; for it to be viable there has to be a need locally for your services and you need to be able to satisfy that need by providing a professional service at a price that your market will accept.

Commercial drone operators in the UK by law need to obtain CAA permission for commercial operation (PFCO) and insurance before they set up business. So our advice would be to become proficient by practising on an inexpensive drone. Once you have honed your basic flying skills you can then upgrade to a better drone suitable for commercial work, such as a DJI Inspire 2 or Matrice 200. After a lot of practice you should be starting to be a competent drone pilot, you can then undertake the CAA permission course with an approved training school known as a National Qualified Entity (NQEs) . The course requires you to demonstrate the necessary skills and knowledge needed by a professional drone operator. Even with your CAA permissions in hand, it can be a tough market to crack especially if you don’t have any photography experience. Also, on average there are only around 100 perfect flying days in the UK per year so you must factor the weather in. And it’s not just about being a pilot. Flying of drones is probably just 10% of the job. You’ll need to spend time marketing, accounting, maintaining kit and writing risk assessments.

Let’s consider some of the problems: for the hobbyist who wants to move into the commercial environment – what will be your target market? Aside from a few friends that have offered you work, where will your next step be after that? How will you be marketing yourself? What will be your day rate to cover your expenses and so on? What will be your USP versus any other operator out there?

Then there’s the financial side to all this. To start with due to the inclement weather you are likely to have only 100 flying days available per year (a lot less for Hovershotz who operate in Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District). Assume £25000 desired income plus (maintenance, insurance, training, buying a drone, software processing, website design, promotion fees, trade shows, networking, association memberships, vehicle & travel expenses) you are very quickly looking at needing to generate an income of £30000. Therefore without doing any further calculations your absolute minimum daily rate would be £300 as a ballpark reference point. Can you afford to go full-time, and part-time will you devoting enough resources to make it a success?

What next after qualifying as a competent commercial drone pilot with CAA permission for commercial operation? You then need to make sure that you are also a competent qualified photographer, videographer or surveyor. We are astounded at the number of cowboy drone operators who claim to offer professional services but have no formal training or qualifications in photography, videography, surveying or video & photographic editing.


Sadly most new drone operating companies don’t make it past the first year, as the hardest part is generating the work. Figures from the CAA show that 45% of new PFCO holders do not renew it after the first year.


Drone Deploy Vs PIX4D 3D & 4D drone mapping and photogrammetry

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With intuitive 3d drone mapping software solutions taking the commercial drone world by storm, Hovershotz has decided to take a look at two of the market leaders to display what they can offer to businesses considering the implementation of drone services. Read on to find out what DroneDeploy and Pix4D can offer and how they could benefit our clients in Cumbria, Lancashire, the Lake District and the North West of England with 3d mapping and photogrammetry.

There’s a lot of information available about these solutions so we’ve distilled it down to the key points you’ll need to make a decision.



DroneDeploy is an intuitive solution used to create aerial maps and 3D models. Using their mobile app – which is available on both Android and iOS – it’s possible to transform a range of DJI drones into reliable and powerful mapping tools.

Product Overview

DroneDeploy‘s software facilitates automated flights from take-off and right through to landing while automatically capturing images that can be uploaded to their software for processing. These stills can be used to create a range of visualised data from 2D maps to 3D models.

DroneDeploy Key Features

  • An intuitive, simple to use solution
  • Affordably priced and feature rich
  • Potential for a greater ROI when compared to its competitors
  • Rapid processing and accurate results
  • Works with a range of DJI drones
  • An all in one drone surveying and mapping solution


Drone Deploy’s mobile app allows users access to automated mapping services which are suitable for both beginners and professionals. Giving you complete control out in the field, their solution is a must-have for those looking to conduct aerial mapping services.

The app makes it simple to create flight plans on any device allowing you to launch a mission with automated take-off, flight, image capture and landing. You can keep on top of your flight through a live first person view and are free to take back control of the drone at any time.

Key App Features

  • Intuitive user experience packed with functionality
  • Instantly measure both area and volume
  • Access your orthomosaics, NDVI data, interactive maps and 3D models
  • Collaboration is made easy via shared maps and comment functionality
  • Help is always at hand thanks to DroneDeploy’s in-app support
  • Seamless compatibility with a wide range of DJI drones

These features make it simple to put together a range of data visualisations from orthomosaic, NDVI and digital elevation interactive maps to 3D models. DroneDeploy  full functionality suite is available for use through seamless integration with a highly intuitive app, making your aerial mapping projects as easy as the results are accurate.


Drone Deploy is a tool for professionals looking to add an intuitive aerial mapping solution to their business plan. See below for examples of how you can successfully use this software in a range of industries.

Inspection, Construction & Mining

  • Automated Flight: Use the free DroneDeploy app (available on iOS & Android) to fly DJI’s drone series
  • Rapid Map Processing: You can upload images from your drone to create a high-quality map
  • Elevation & 3D Models: DroneDeploy allows you to create and analyse elevation maps and 3D models
  • Instantaneous Measurements: Real-time measurement of distance, area and volume are possible
  • Collaborative Focus: Share maps with other users and access a range of powerful tools to turn your insights into actions


  • Automated Flight: Use the free DroneDeploy app (available on iOS & Android) to fly DJI’s drone series
  • Rapid Map Processing: You can upload images from your drone to create a high-quality map
  • Detect Crop Stress: View maps in the NDVI format to detect crop stress and any worrying variance
  • Collaborative Focus: Share NDVI maps with other agricultural professionals and access tools that turn your insights into actions
  • Widely Compatible: Export your maps to a range of precision agriculture software to allow for planning and crop management

Drone Services

  • Automated Flight: Use the free DroneDeploy app (available on iOS & Android) to fly DJI’s drone series
  • Rapid Map Processing: You can upload images from your drone to create a high-quality map
  • In-Depth Analysis: DroneDeploy gives you access to a number of tools that can analyse data for a range of disparate industries
  • Build A Drone Services Brand: The data you collect can be shared with clients using your own unique brand
  • Widely Compatible: Export your maps to a range of precision agriculture software to allow for planning and crop management


Map + 3D Model Processing5 / monthUnlimitedUnlimited
Max Photo Upload per Map5001,0003,000
Max 2D Resolution5 cm/pixel2 cm/pixel1 cm/pixel
Processing Priority++++++
SupportCommunityEmail + ChatEmail + Chat
Android + iOS Mobile App
Annotations + Collaboration
NDVI + Elevation Layers
Volume Measurement
Map + 3D Export
Shapefile + Contour Export
RTK + Custom Coordinates
User Management
Co-Branded Portal
Ground Control PointsCost per map




Call: 07962444482


Pix4D has been designed to allow professionals to generate high-quality 2D and 3D data through the use of aerial imagery. The photogrammetry aspect of the software uses the images captured by UAVs to generate results ranging from point clouds to digital surface and terrain models, orthomosaics to textured models.


Pix4D Products

There is a range of products available for Pix4D all aimed at different markets and professional services. Read on to find out what each of the versions offers and how it could benefit your business.

Pix4D mapper Pro

Pix4Dmapper Pro turns your aerial imagery into a series of precisely georeferenced 2D maps and 3D models. The results are open to customisation, processed accurately and at speed, as well as complementing a variety of applications and software which makes it a truly personalised solution.

  • Create 3D Point Clouds: Offering a series of results that are ‘denser’ than traditional laser-scanning, the Pix4D point cloud is derived from a number of overlapping images which gives you precise locational data on your reconstruction of the object space
  • Digital Surface & Terrain Modelling: Pix4D’s digital models provide you with the elevation value of each pixel (with or without above-ground objects) which means they’re prepared to complement your preferred GIS workflow
  • Orthomosaic: Create a high-resolution map utilising each pixel of the original images which are projected onto the digital surface model which means there’s no distortion of perspective, allowing you to access truly accurate geolocation
  • Volume Calculations: You’re able to output calculated volumes which offer a flawless representation of stockpiles, supported by an editable base height, allowing for even more precise measurement
  • Contour Lines: For a quick, simplified visualisation of an area’s topography, this feature lays out a series of contours which roughly display the elevation of your subject
  • 3D Textured Model: Create a model using full-3D triangular mesh and photorealistic texturing
  • Thermography: Generate a radiometrically-precise thermal map with an accessible temperature value for each and every pixel

Pix4D bim

This product gives you the power to visualise, analyse and verify the ‘as-built’ data on-site using a suite of image processing features which are available both on your desktop or over the cloud. Your results can be studied and shared via Pix4D’s cloud-based server and compared to your original BIM ‘as-design’ concepts.

  • Photorealistic 3D Modelling: The desktop version of Pix4Dbim lets you create 3D models, conduct surface and volume measurements, implement contours, and carry out generic visualisation. High-res imagery can be viewed for inspections by simply clicking anywhere on the 3D model
  • Cloud-Based Timeline: As you collect your data it is displayed on an intuitive timeline broadcast over the cloud and allows 2D and 3D data to be accessed, as well as annotated and shared
  • BIM Comparison: You’re able to import drawings into the Pix4Dbim cloud to compare ‘as-built’ orthophotos with ‘as-design’ concepts, which means that construction errors can be spotted before they have a chance to impact the build and schedule diagrams ensure that you’re on track to hit targets

Pix4D Ag

Created with agricultural professionals in mind, the Pix4Dag suite has been built to convert multispectral imagery into a series of accurate reflectance and index maps (i.e. NDVI, NDRE) and uses multiple RGB images to generate high-quality orthomosaics. This means that you can easily integrate a number of drone-based solutions into your agricultural ops, with processing carried out locally as and when it is required.

  • Generate Reflectance Maps: Reflectance maps are used to capture plant reflectance within specific bands, storing this right down to pixel level and providing information on vegetation health. All of the maps created with Pix4Dag are radio metrical accurate, meaning that any variables (i.e. light intensity, sensor response and sun angle) are identified and accounted for, meaning you’re left with the most accurate reflection data of your crops
  • Index Maps (e.g. NDVI, NDRE): Utilising the data from the previous feature (reflectance maps), index maps combine this information to highlight issues with plant health caused by a range of variable including water stress, nutrient deficiency, pest infestation etc.
  • Orthomosaic: Create a high-resolution map utilising each pixel of the original images which are projected onto the digital surface model which means there’s no distortion of perspective, allowing you to access truly accurate geolocation
  • Application Maps: Collate and visualise the data from your index maps and export them as a shapefile (*.shp) which can be directly imported into farm equipment for application in the field

Pix4D model

Looking for an intuitive, powerful 3D modelling software to use alongside your drone? Pix4Dmodel has everything you’ll need. You can process imagery automatically to create photorealistic 3D models and export fly-through videos and full-textured mesh models to add to a drone showreel which is shareable on your business website and social media channels.

  • Shareable 3D Models: Export your imagery in a range of file formats ready to upload to various 3D visualisation platforms
  • Fly-Through Videos: Especially useful for a real-estate company, the ability to create a fly-through path allows you to capture a dynamic 3D video that highlights properties inside and out
  • Output Compatibility: You can import Pix4D’s file types (.obj, .fbx, .dxf, ply and 3D pdf mesh files) into a wide range of 3D modelling and animation software
  • 3D Printable Outputs: The meshes you can create with Pix4Dmodel are 3D printable which allows you to develop your design plans rapidly, from architectural models to industrial concept prototypes


Pix4D is a suite of tools for professionals looking for a powerful aerial mapping and modelling solution to add to their business plan. See below for examples of how you can successfully use this software in a range of industries.


Pix4D enables you to benefit from the disruptive force of aerial imagery in the surveying and mapping sectors. The software makes obtaining highly accurate results much more time-efficient and provides the scope for intuitive measurement and detailed project analysis.

  • Mining: Reduce the danger of surveying mine sites with a more efficient method that can – amongst other use cases – monitor extractions, distribution and disposal without exposing the operator to hazardous situations
  • Mapping: With Pix4D, you’re able to create 2D and 3D results that benefit a range of industries from architecture and city modelling to environmental surveys and emergency service incident monitoring
  • Forensics: It’s crucial to get as much detailed information as possible from a crime scene. Pix4D’s aerial imaging solution gathers this critical data rapidly and effectively allowing for the preservation of visual evidence


Detailed monitoring of construction sites as they evolve has been made possible by georeferenced orthophotos and 3D data from Pix4D’s software. You’re able to view the ‘as-built’ situation of your site in real-time which ensures up-to-date measurements and targeted analysis, making overseeing site productivity and giving you access to virtual inspections for increased efficiency.

  • Earthworks: Volumetric analysis, stockpile measurements, and contour data.
  • BIM: Monitor ‘as-built’ site status to stay on task with BIM scheduling.
  • Inspection: Photogrammetry ensures safe and efficient post-flight inspections.


One of the most rapidly growing sectors for drone services, it’s no surprise that Pix4D has focused an entire product on agriculture. Access vital data for quick response and workflow efficiency that will result in better crop yields. You’re able to convert multispectral and RGB images into NDVI maps, and orthomosaics of your fields for complete oversight of your operation.

  • Available Offline or Online: Pix4Dag offers both desktop and cloud processing – whatever the requirements within your operation, you can intuitively adjust the workflow to your needs
  • Access the Index Calculator: Enabling you to access the potential of your multispectral data, you can generate NDVI maps as well as classifying and preparing your own prescriptive maps
  • Integrate & Collaborate: From prescriptive maps to variable application maps, you can export results in a variety of industry standard formats ready for use in farming equipment. Share NDVI maps directly from your browser for collaboration without compromising your privacy thanks to Pix4D’s dedication to user security

Real Estate

Looking to get an edge on the competition? Pix4D allows you to show 3D representations of your properties on the web. You can use the software to pilot your drone, take still and convert these images into photorealistic 3D models. Visitors to your site will be able to easily navigate your models to observe their chosen property from a detailed aerial perspective. You can also create and customise fly-through videos and 3D models to add an extra USP to your service.


  • Compatible with Consumer Drones: Use Pix4D’s mobile flight planning app to capture the images you need to construct your maps and models
  • Automated Processing: With Pix4D’s app or web uploader, you’re able to send images to the Pix4Dmodel cloud and create detailed 3D models
  • Share Your Work: Oce you have produced a 3D model or fly-through it can be viewed or shared via any browser


Desktop ProcessingUnlimited (desktop + laptop)Unlimited (desktop + laptop)Unlimited (1 device)Unlimited (1 device)
Cloud ProcessingUnlimited*Unlimited*Unlimited*Unlimited*
Flight PlanningPix4DcapturePix4DcapturePix4DcapturePix4Dcapture
Flythrough video
Digital surface model (DSM)
Digital terrain model (DTM)
3D point cloud
3D textured model
2D measurement
2D vector output
Volume measurement
Index map (NDVI, etc.)
Timeline analysis
CAD drawing overlay
Web sharing
SupportPersonal supportPersonal supportPersonal supportForum and knowledge base



* based on fair usage, 15 projects/month of 150 images @ 15 MP. Conditions may change at any time.


Hovershoto aerial drone photography video & inspections can offer 3d surveys and photogrammetry to customers in Cumbria, the Lake District,  Lancashire & the North West of England using either Drone Deploy or PIX4d

Hovershotz commercial drone service Cumbria Lancashire Lake District NW & NE

Tips and advice for Aerial Drone Photography & Video by Hovershotz Drone Operator Lake District Cumbria

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys | No Comments

The sky’s no limit for drone photography

Photographers in many sectors, from property to filmmaking, will be aware that drones & UAVs can be a wise investment. But whether you’re looking to win new business or an Oscar, you’ll want to be sure you can capture the best images possible.


Expert tips from Hovershotz: Making the most of drones for filming and photography


Who needs aerial images?


When you consider the creative possibilities of aerial filming and its undisputed advantages over manned helicopter hire, it’s no wonder that, until recently, television and film work accounted for 75% of UK commercial drone activity. Drones are a dream come true for videographers & filmmakers – reducing hazards and costs while maximising versatility and manoeuvrability. And the results speak for themselves: dynamic images and unique perspectives.


Seeing the commercial potential for their own applications, the property and construction industries have become the biggest sources of aerial work, with drones being used for property marketing, building and site inspections, land surveying and mapping, as well as for agriculture and video filming.


Getting started: equipment


In an innovation-led industry that moves faster than an FPV racing drone, there’s plenty of scope to run up large bills in pursuit of the latest tech for amazing aerial images. (It’s worth noting that it’s not just camera technology that evolves, but other drone components too, such as gimbals and even obstacle sensors.) That said, even entry-level drones have good on-board cameras.


The drone


You don’t have to go large to get good results. Small drones ‘like the Phantoms and the Inspires’ do the majority of commercial aerial photography work. Although   small drones (20kg or less for regulatory purposes) are not as stable as their larger counterparts. The heavier the drone, the greater its stability and the better its images, that’s why Hovershotz deploy the DJI S900 hexacopter in the Lake District, a drone that can cope with the Cumbrian weather.


Depending on your needs (and budget!), you may decide to splash out on more than one drone. Different models are suited to different types of aerial work – but don’t forget that they may need different licences too, as regulatory requirements vary according to weight.


The camera


You don’t need a fancy camera to get high-quality aerial images. An on-board camera is your starter for ten.  Obviously Hovershotz being a professional drone operator use a Lumix GH4 external camera but you can still get good results using drones with built in cameras, such as the X3 or X5 on the DJI Inspire 1.

External cameras are for when you’re Professional UAV camera with optical zoom


If you’re looking to upgrade, remember that a heavier camera will drain your drone’s battery more quickly and reduce flying time. It sounds obvious, but it’s something that can be easily forgotten while you’re caught up in the thrill of a flight.




A stabilisation mechanism that steadies the camera, a gimbal guards against those frustrating blurry images. Essential for smooth video footage, they also let you move the camera, giving photographers more flexibility with composition.


Most drones have a built-in gimbal for their onboard cameras, but you’ll need a separate one for an external camera. For perfectly smooth images, look for a three-axis gimbal. Again, keep battery life in mind and make sure you’re not asking too much of your drone in terms of payload.




There are  different ways to monitor your drone’s camera. If your transmitter has a built-in video monitor (or attachments for a smartphone), you’ll be able to see the live video feed on your mobile device.


Bear in mind that what you see depends on the quality of your equipment – if you have an HD kit, you can expect to enjoy top-quality footage.


Your crew


Safety is paramount, so it often makes sense to divvy up the tasks on a photography shoot. You may be surprised at just how many people you need for some scenarios – and you’re not alone. Hovershotz have at our disposal, a dedicated licenced pilot, where needed a dedicated camera operator (usually for complex video such as action sports, where the pilot can concentrate on safely flying the drone, while the camera operator captures perfect footage), observers and spotters (for safe drone operation in crowded urban areas or at events . There are many one man bands out there that try and fly the drone, while at the same time try and operate the camera, with no regard for crowd control – as can be expected, the results from these one man drone operators is often poor in comparison.


Some drones have dual operator control – just as well when you consider that most aerial photography cameras can’t optically zoom, and pilots have their work cut out to get the right focal length to frame a shot. Having a dual pilot system – where one operator controls the UAV and the other operates the camera – maintains safety, as both can focus on the job at hand.


In fact, you might need anything from a two-person operation to a crew of eight or 10 to tick all the boxes. Take the scenario of a shoot in a local council playground, for example. There might be several entrances to the area, so you’d potentially want one person at each with a walkie talkie (a step up from a traffic cone and warning notice). You’ll need observers to alert you to everything from birds to helicopters, and you may have specialist roles, such as gimbal operator, too.


But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. There are plenty of jobs to do before you’re ready for take-off…


Pre-flight planning


The beauty of drone photography is that it can capture views that would otherwise be tricky, or even impossible, to achieve. The results can be breathtaking – so it’s easy to get carried away with the exhilaration of the experience and fail to notice a pigeon in the wrong place, or that giveaway shadow of your drone in shot.


Even if you have a co-pilot to help you out, you may only have 20 minutes in the air to get it right. Good planning will minimise the potential for problems that waste time and battery power.


Know your subject


Research your subject thoroughly and decide on your desired image composition, so you can launch your drone exactly where you want it. You don’t want to be flying around in search of the perfect shot.




This is a biggie for aerial images: consider time of day and the position of the sun. You don’t want overexposed shots or your subject obscured by shadow.




Where possible, Hovershotz aim to film in the ‘golden hour’, which occurs at dawn and dusk, for optimal light levels and a beautiful soft ‘glow’.



In colour temperature terms, the light is warm and golden because more of the blue wavelengths are scattered.


Colour temperature


Getting to grips with colour temperature charts may sound daunting, but it will pay dividends for your photography skills.


Different light sources emit their own colours, or ‘colour temperature’, which vary from red to blue. Candles and sunsets give off light that’s close to red, giving a ‘warm’ look to images, while blue skies give off a cooler, blue light.


Confusingly, lower colour temperatures are called warm colours, and vice versa. Once you’ve got your head around that, you’re ready to find out how to capture accurate colours in tricky lighting conditions such as hazy skies and sunsets. How? Check where they sit in the colour temperature scale and the corresponding recommended camera settings.


Know your camera


Being formally trained and qualified photographers, gives Hovershotz the knowledge of being able to set up and control the camera (even in the air), to capture the perfect shot. Many drone operators are just gadget fans who have taken their RC flying hobby into a job but are not qualified photographers and have no real idea how to set up a camera and take professional aerial photographs.




One of the first things that needs doing,  is getting the correct exposure, and how to set it before and during flight.


Although very elaborate cameras will be able to zoom and focus while airborne, many won’t offer this luxury, so you’ll need to figure out the best settings beforehand. Specifically, we’re talking shutter speed, aperture and ISO, which all work together to create exposure.


Shutter speed


Shutter speed is one of the most important – possibly the most important – camera setting for aerial drone photography.


Unless you’re aiming for artistic blur, you’ll want sharp images. Use the fastest shutter speed you can, to ‘freeze’ the movement of the subject and offset the vibration of the drone.


Keep slower shutter speeds for shooting video, as you’ll want a certain amount of motion blur for smooth playback.




Aperture affects depth of field – happily not an issue in aerial drone  photography. This is good news, because you’ll want the largest aperture possible to get short shutter speeds. Find the largest aperture at which your lens is sharp, and go with that.


(If you’ve got an integrated and/or small camera, it may have a fixed aperture.)




The ISO setting gives you the flexibility to capture subjects in a range of lighting conditions. For example, changing to a higher ISO value lets you continue taking photos as light levels drop, without using flash.


You might say that the ‘three Rs’ of aerial photography are resolution, resolution, and resolution, so the lower the ISO setting, the better.




Your camera’s light meter determines the correct shutter speed, aperture and ISO for optimal exposure. There are several metering modes available, so it’s useful to know what each one does. The sun is a pivotal factor in aerial photography, so choosing the appropriate metering mode can work wonders.

In Hovershotz next blog article we will discuss how to set up the DJI X5 micro four thirsd camera for perfect still image shotz and 4K video.


Whether you’ve got 100 grand flying a Red Epic on a Shotover U 1 drone up in the air or you’re experimenting with a DJI Phantom 4 drone at the other end of the scale, safety is paramount.  Whatever happens – including things that go wrong – you, as the pilot, are in charge, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got all your boxes ticked.


Permissions and other rules


There’s a lot to think about here – from permissions for take-off and landing to model release forms, and regulations around selling your images.


While amateur drone flyers don’t need official permission or training, if you’re operating a drone commercially in the UK, you need annual Permission for Commercial Operation from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA PFCO).

You’ll also need to be aware of the relevant UK law, including CCTV surveillance, privacy and data protection, which apply to any collection of personal information, including drone footage.

Hovershotz aerial drone photography video & Inspections are the leading professional drone operator company in the North West of England covering Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District.

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Hovershotz – the North West’s leading drone operator brings affordable aerial drone surveys & inspections to Cumbria Lancashire and the Lake District

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Every working day, across the United Kingdom, hundreds of UAV’s & drones undertake a myriad of aerial inspection flights to assist construction professionals in their trade. It is becoming more commonplace for drones to be used in everyday building, construction and property maintenance inspection tasks. Now the leading drone operator in the North West –  Hovershotz, can offer a full aerial drone inspection and surveying service across the North West of England to Cumbria Lancashire and the Lake District.

It is only recently that drones have begun replacing traditional inspection & surveying methods, and this is being driven by the ability for the job to be completed faster, safer and more cost effectively than the old school methods.

Take for example, a semi-detached house that has water leak originating from the roof. A roof inspection or survey needs to be carried out to find out where the leak is coming from.

Three options could be:

Option A – Hire and erect scaffolding to enable the surveyor to inspect the roof.

Option B – Hire an elevated platform to enable the surveyor to check the roof.

Option C – Hire an aerial drone operator to survey & inspect the roof. Images can then be inspected and analysed by surveyor.



We’ve done the calculations! Hovershotz aerial drone surveys & inspections has done some research into the most optimistic prices of scaffold, platform and drone hire costs in the North West (Cumbria & Lancashire). According to our checks, a ball park figure for scaffolding costs would start at £900 to scaffold three sides of a semi-detached house.


We have checked the different methods or surveying or inspecting a roof and here is a cost comparison:

Based this research the cost difference between using a drone (option C) versus an elevated platform (option B) with an experienced operator was over 70% cheaper. Time wise the drone saved more than 3 days of roof survey man hours.

The cost difference between using a drone (option C) versus scaffolding (option A) to inspect a roof was 85% cheaper. Time wise the drone saved more than 3 days of roof survey man hours.

Our drones can be set up in a fraction of the time compared to using scaffolding or an elevated platform. Scaffolding requires man power to erect and dismantle the access scaffolding.

Compared to an elevated platform or scaffolding, a drone can be set up and ready to fly in approximately 20 minutes. The usual flight operation is 30 minutes. When you compare the time required to undertake a roof inspection with a drone compared to using an elevated platform or scaffolding the amount of time saved is significant. We are talking days saved not just a few hours!  Time saving in business equates to money saving!


In many circumstances an elevated platform or scaffolding simply will not be able to provide access to hard to reach areas on a building. Sometimes it is physically impossible to erect scaffolding on parts of buildings or manoeuvre a platform into the correct operating position. Drones are easy to transport and fly effortlessly into position to carry out a detailed inspection.

Working at heights, such as on ladders, an elevated platform or scaffolding creates additional health and safety risks. Utilising drone technology especially in the inspection sector reduces safety risks. There are also some powerful safety features that are being implemented by drone manufactures to mitigate risks such as collision avoidance and return to base functions.




Drones can fly close to buildings and the built in hi resolution cameras capture incredible high quality photographs & images. Surveyors can easily zoom in this imagery to investigate problem areas. Video, still photos and other types of data can be captured. Different sensors can be fitted onto drones in order to capture different types of helpful data including visual & thermal, infrared, NIR (near infrared).

Sophisticated software allows roof inspections to be carried out and collate all manner of information about the condition of a roof. Drone inspections produce high quality accurate data. During a drone inspection the surveyor can be given a remote monitor allowing a live feed of the drone’s view of the building or structure. The monitor works over the internet via a YouTube link, allowing surveyors to remain off-site or indoors. Surveyors can also direct the flight path or request more detail or time in a specific ‘problem’ roof area. Hovershotz can even carry out 3D mapping of properties or structures.


An aerial drone roof inspection from Hovershotz Aerial Drone Photography Videos and Inspections Cumbria, could save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds. You could save money on scaffolding costs, elevated platform costs, insurance excess, or even by inspecting the roof to avoid undertaking unnecessary work.


This could be for either commercial or domestic properties. You could be a real estate agent, A surveyor. Perhaps you are a construction company? Perhaps you are a home owner? Maybe you have a leaky or damaged roof? Perhaps you have a roof or chimney that is ageing and requires attention? Maybe you are considering buying a property through an estate agency and need to check the condition of the roof prior to bidding? Perhaps you have been approached to have work done and you want an independent drone inspection as a second opinion. Perhaps you require a roof ‘before’ & ‘after’ record? Or maybe you just want a physical record of your roof’s current condition? It could be that a traditional access (scaffold / platform) method is not possible.  Perhaps there is a safety or access issue and a drone is the only solution. Or perhaps you realise that using a drone will simply just save you time and money.  Whatever the reason; drones are fast replacing traditional methods of inspecting roof. Hovershotz are the leading aerial drone operator in Cumbria the Lake District and Lancashire and your first port of call for any advice on aerial drone inspections or surveys.

grisdales estate agents Cumbria aerial drone photography

Hovershotz to provide professional aerial drone photography services to Grisdales Estate Agents Cumbria

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments

Hovershotz aerial drone photography have been selected by Grisdales Estate Agency as their provider of aerial drone photography for their premium properties.

Grisdales Property & Estate Agents are based in Allerdale West Cumbria with offices in Cockermouth, Whitehaven & Workington, headquartered in Carlisle.

Hovershotz offer a wide range of aerial drone photography & video services to a range of clients across Cumbria, the Lake District & Lancashire, including property (domestic & commercial), estate agents & agencies, property developers, landlords, large countryside residencies, real estate, realtors.

Hovershotz also provide aerial drone photography video & surveys for commercial property & premises.

Hovershotz also provide aerial drone photography to Richard Turner & Son Estate Agents Bentham & Kendal



For further details:

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