Warren – Photographer

UAVAIR Alumni Club

Warren Kirby
Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot – Visual Line of Sight)

Warren runs a very successful and longstanding photography business called Newsdesk Media. He is a very respected and skilled photographer who has just began adding drone services to his business. We were very keen to interview Warren and understand just how drones are having an impact on how he does business.

Tell me a little bit about your business.

I started the business Newsdesk Media in 2005 but I’ve been working as a professional photographer since 1990. Most of my work is cars, over my career I have worked for over 20 different brands, now I do the PR photography for Subaru and Kia. I have just started Newsdesk Aerial to both supplement my current work and attempt to engage new business as a drone pilot.

What training did you complete to become a drone pilot?

Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot, Visual Line of Sight) with UAVAIR

What is one of the more interesting/ challenging drone operations you have conducted so far?

My first car shoot after getting the drone was the Kia Stinger. That was really difficult to shoot with my normal camera, let alone the drone because we were battling below freezing temperatures, rain, sleet and even sago. I had the I2 flying in atrocious conditions – rain and high wind. I was amazed at how well both the craft and camera handled what I was asking them to do.

But the Sorento shoot stands out because this is the shoot where the results from I2 and X5s demonstrated how I can integrate it into my regular work and literally take that to new heights.

I photographed Sorento a couple of months after Stinger and some of the experiments I have tried proved extremely promising. For example, ‘tracking’ a car means shooting car to car. Sometimes this happens on a public road at highway speeds and traditionally it’s done by hanging out of the lead car shooting onto the car following – as in most of my upper body us out of the vehicle or tailgates/doors are open. I have successfully been able to mount the I2 to outside of a car and produce images that I have not been able to accomplish in the usual way. The new method is both safer and better. I am not only able to shoot angles that were impossible but techniques as well. Tracking isn’t possible to do on a dirt road without having the dust plume from the car in front, unless you do it with a drone.

I’m excited about what I know I can do once I develop my piloting skills.

So, we heard that you have not always been a fan of drones, why was this and what changed your mind?

It’s probably worth noting that I wasn’t a fan of drones and had completely dismissed them as a tool for my work. Car’s don’t look good from above or when shot with wide angle lenses – at least, not PR shots. After doing the Cert III course and with the help of my teacher, Andrew, I realised that there are possibilities. The X5s has the equivalent of a 90mm lens available – a common lens for cars – which means I now have a camera that I can put (almost) anywhere, with enough resolution and the correct angle of view from the lens.

What was the most beneficial piece of knowledge you took out of your training with UAVAIR?

How potentially dangerous these things are, regardless of how competent a pilot you might be. And learning how to read airspace maps.

Why did you decide to study the Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot – Visual Line of Sight), as opposed to a straight Remote Pilot License course?

I decided to study the Cert III because my intention is to continue working with cars and applying my experience with bot product and action photography to film work. I need a ReOC to operate commercially and I need to develop piloting skills to enable me to create the images I want to achieve.