Not many of us know exactly what we want to be when we grow up, but I can say with very real certainty that as a ten-year-old, I wasn’t announcing to my peers: “When I grow up, I want to be a drone pilot!”

Now that’s not because of any lack of ambition or passion for what I do now – drones simply weren’t around yet. A lot has changed since then, and now I support businesses and organisations across the UK using drones, harnessing my expertise, skills and specialist equipment to take their projects to new heights.

But I haven’t always had my proverbial head in the clouds…

Before soaring in the sky, I was pounding the pavement

I enjoyed quite a varied career before establishing the Midlands Drone, including running my own branch of the franchise Ringtons.

With Macclesfield as my patch, I would hoist a basket of biscuits, teas and other sweet treats on my arm and go door to door selling directly to my client base.

I loved connecting directly with my customers. I was able to develop some great relationships within the community on behalf of the company and profits were on the up. Plus, the ginger biscuits were out of this world.

But in 2017, my head was turned by a franchise called Skycam which empowered would-be drone pilots to start flying professionally as part of their business. How could I resist?

How I first became a drone pilot

I’ve always been drawn to remote-control vehicles and innovative technology and I’ve always enjoyed photography – a profession where I could indulge both interests seemed absolutely perfect. I knew right away that I wanted to commit myself completely to this new career.

Whilst I loved learning how to fly and quickly accumulated the necessary skills and flight hours to go pro, building a business proved challenging at first.

Despite diligently networking and expanding the range of services I was offering; I could count on one hand the number of clients I had in my first year. It was incredibly tough and as many self-employed people would probably admit to, I sometimes wondered if I’d made the right call.

Building the drone photography business

But I believed in what drones could do for people. Drone photography has the potential to make tasks like surveys and inspections so much easier, saving my client time, money and resources.

While the quality of the footage captured with a high-end piece of kit and a pilot who knows exactly what he’s doing speaks for itself, it helped to say it to the right people. Not everyone knew about drone photography, and it was my job to connect with my potential clients.

In 2018, it would take quite a number of hands to count the number of clients I was supporting. When that number doubled in the following year, I set up a new business to run alongside the Skycam Franchise: Midlands Drone.

While navigating through a pandemic was challenging, I was very lucky. The nature of piloting a drone meant I could safely operate within social distancing regulations and as such, the business has continued to reach new heights.

Why I love it

One of the biggest motivators for me in building the business was (and still is) the breath-taking photography I’m able to capture with drones. Some of the images are truly stunning and allow you to see the world from a totally unique perspective.

When I photograph active building sites to support the work of big developers, the images and video that the drones can capture absolutely transform the setting. What feels like an ordinary reclamation site spotted with mud-splattered diggers suddenly seems grand and alive with fascinating detail from the air.

Drone photography can pull even the most mundane scenes into a startling new context simply by showing them off from a new angle. When edited together with the right music, overhead footage of an industrial site can be surprisingly moving!

I intend to keep growing Midlands Drone and connecting with businesses that benefit from the power of brilliant drone photography.