Flights of Fancy

2017 has come out of the gate full force! We never had the time to finish up our highlight reel from 2016 and it’s already March. (We prefer to be busy, of course, than work on marketing pieces). But we also like to look back fondly at all of the great projects we have worked on.

This year’s reel includes plenty of sunset shots, a solar farm, beautiful Tennessee and Kentucky landscapes, a bridge under construction, bears, UT and a dam. We just can’t make this stuff up, folks….see for yourself!

2016 Drone Demo Reel Link


Hearts Happen

Remember playing I Spy? Looking for objects and shapes and getting your car mates to guess what you were looking at? Well, we do a lot of that in the air, especially with our favorite subjects like pond scum, strip mining, quarrys and hearts! For some reason, those things are just visually interesting from an elevated angle.

Since it’s Valentine’s Week, we thought we’d share some of our favorite hearts. Some we fly over every month (like Johnny’s heart island), some are on buildings and others just happen. We hope you have a hearty Valentines Day and keep your eyes open for that eye candy 🙂

Nothing Could Be Easier

Do you ever watch someone do something that looks easy but you know how difficult it is? Is there someone in your life that you know will just “handle” it no matter how complex the task? Those are the people we want to work with AND that is the kind of company we want to be. Nothing can derail your day like, “I can’t possibly do that, it’s too (difficult, fast, boring, long….you name it!)

  • Wendy and the rest of the AI team are so easy to work with and always accommodate our special requests or tight time frames. Their images turn out great every time! Natalie Hamilton, Brasfield & Gorrie, Senior Marketing Coordinator

We ask a lot of our photographers, pilots and vendors but they always deliver. A pilot will have our aircraft ready to go, our photographers anticipate delays and communicate quickly to keep the project on track and our office can handle every crazy request you can throw at them (except loops, we can’t do loop-de-loops…or time travel…yet).

Here are three ways to get it done!

  1. Do your homework! plan, rehearse, prepare, anticipate…anything can go wrong
  2. Communicate! know who needs to know and keep them informed
  3. Follow Through! you think your done but are you? nothing is worse than loose ends

For this project, our client asked us to do a very quick turnaround on some interior images. They had barely finished doing the final clean and in two days they were moving in! We met and worked around some holiday decor and construction items to provide quality images. We were excited to show off our full range on this project; aerial progress on our helicopter route, final interior and exterior ground images and some beautiful twilight images from our Inspire 1 Drone.



Is This Work?

It’s been said, do what you love and you’ll love what you do. Well, what if you also love WHO you do it for? We really enjoy our clients, not because they are clients but because they care about their work they are building and are proud of it. We get it.

When we take on a project for any client to photograph, we make it our own. We love to see it grow and become a building or an apartment or, yes, even a waste water treatment plant. And to visit these places on the ground WITH our lovely clients? Even better. From start to finish, we are engaged and aware of the work our client’s expect.

Three ways to love what you do?

  1. Whatever the job, be passionate about it!
  2. If you don’t like your clients, you won’t like your work. Find people you enjoy
  3. When it becomes “work”, it may be time to reassess your passion

Here are some shots from us loving our clients and loving our work. With Lee Company out and about around town. We make it easy for Lee Company by offering them mutiple products including stock images, interior images upon completion, progress shots and here…a little behind the scenes of their big new marketing campaigns.



It’s almost the end of January and we are back in the swing of things. With our flying and shooting schedule, we have no time for delay to figure things out. It’s a tight workflow and we need to have everyone on the same page from sales to photographers to production. They even laugh that they don’t have to think, we have a system for that! Well, we do want to be thinking about how to get a great shot!

A perfect example was a repeat client who wanted us to shoot an additional property for them. Because we had previously shot for them, we knew what they wanted, looked up all of our notes from past shoots and were able to deliver the same consistent quality. No one wants to reinvent the wheel.

Three steps you can take to deliver consistent results in not just delivering to your photography clients but any business that does a repeat service or product:

  1. Develop a thorough system from initial contact to final delivery
  2. Make sure everyone is using the system and understands each step
  3. Continually improve the system when necessary.

Here are some of the shots from the client, Crain Construction, whom we worked with seamlessly including a drone video shot of one of the hottest spots in Nashville:


Best Images of 2016 – Aerials

Each job we start looks pretty much the same, a lot of dirt, cleared pad, clean slate. Over the months the final project takes shape until completion. At any stage (including dirt!) there can be incredible images that showcase the structure and guts of a building. We like to think of them like class photos in a hallway showing your children as they grow up.

Are we sad when the job is complete? Yes! But all construction must come to an end. When we get the chance for a great final photo, it’s like graduation time. Our building is all grown up and ready to face the world. We’ll see you on the ground!

Here are the best job site aerials of 2016. We hold all of our jobs dear (but we do have some favorites…don’t tell the others!)

Best Images of 2016 – Creative

Oh the places we go!! From point A to point B there can be some very interesting eye candy. Each month as we fly our regular routes, we keep an eye out for that interesting field or sparkling blue quarry. Sometimes we even get lucky and shoot a rainbow!

When deciding which image is “best” over the others, trust your gut. If you don’t want to stop and look at an image just a little longer to see the nuances or if it doesn’t grab you immediately, it doesn’t make the cut. A lot can be said for first impressions when you are an image.

These are some of the best creative images we took in 2016 just for ourselves. We think they are pretty cool and hope you do, too!

Best Images of 2016 – Architectural

It’s a real treat when we get to photograph the same projects on the ground that we do the in air. We watch a building go up over the months that we shoot it from the air, watching cranes, concrete pours, framing, roofing, landscaping…but what does the inside look like?!

Thankfully, we have a lot of clients who trust their interior images with us. And each year, we deliver more and more dramatic spaces. The combination of a great space, a great angle and some low key post production let each space appear as intended.

Here are some of our favorite architectural spaces from the past year. We hope you enjoy these as much as we did taking them!



Help Us Help East TN Fire Victims

We have the honor of flying over one of the most spectacular areas of the country every month. This week, East Tennessee was taken by surprise by wild fires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Not only is this beautiful scenery affected, but families and businesses in the area will need our help.

Aerial Innovations has created a gallery of images of the Smoky Mountains and East Tennessee Landscapes. All net proceeds from print sales will be MATCHED and DONATED by us to help these families and businesses as they rebuild through the Sevier County Fire Relief Fund. We have included quality yet high margin products and lowered the overall prices so your dollar and ours will go further.

Help us by purchasing a beautiful print for yourself or a gift for others. We will keep you posted on the amount raised for the fund. This holiday, help us help East Tennessee and bring some beauty into your home of our amazing Smoky Mountains.

#Gatlinburg #PigeonForge #SmokyMountains #PrayforGatlinburg

Purchase Fundraising Images Here


The Story Behind the Photo

Every picture tells a story…and sometimes the story behind the photo can be just as fascinating . We love to share the stories of how we got the images because that is our motivation. We love scouting out a location, figuring what the best time of day is and how to get the best angle. The image below has created a lot of buzz in our office so we thought we’d share the story behind the photo.

The client hired us to capture their newly expanded water treatment facility on the Cumberland River. The choice to shoot at twilight was made by our client and we suggested to shoot with a drone to capture the water, setting sun and the facility from an interesting perspective. The sky was ordered about 2 weeks ahead of time and came in just like we wanted….ok, that was a joke, we can’t order a beautiful sky. But in this image, we could not have asked for a better sunset.


The image was shot in 3 sections and then stitched together in Photoshop in order to show the facility and the river in one image. The exposure of 1/5 sec gave some smoothness to the water and by keeping the ISO under 500 we had a very clean image to work with. The gimbals on the camera attached to the drone made it possible to shoot at such a slow shutter speed and keep it sharp.

Let us know what you think about the image….we look forward to sharing more stories behind our photographs!