knoxville certified drone photographer and aerial video

Colby McLemore is now a PPA Certified Drone Photographer, a designation that is above and beyond the required FAA Drone Pilot License. For any commercial use of a drone, the FAA requires a drone pilot license. This involves a written test focusing primarily on the laws and has nothing to do with photography or videography. Interestingly, to become a certified drone photographer requires a minimum of 30 hours of flight time, proof of general liability insurance, and passing a test showing proficiency in drone courtesy and artistry. There are only two people within a hundred miles of Knoxville who have become both a licensed drone pilot and a certified drone photographer.

Colby has been doing aerial photos and videos for over thirty years. Flying was a way of life in his family. His father was in the Air Force and owned planes for most of his life. Colby then started photographing cabins in the Smokies from a small plane that he owned. Trying to get a closer look, he also put his camera on tall poles. He was an early adopter of drone technology because drones saved a lot of money on camera repairs. He got his drone pilot license soon after they were offered and is proud of recently getting the certified drone photographer designation.

Colby is an even better photographer and videographer than he is a pilot. For techy people, flying the drone is the easy part as the drones have really advanced over the years. But exceptional images and videos come from the artist’s side. Colby has just as much time behind the camera as he has flying. He is a full-time photographer and videographer and has spent a career transforming the mundane into the extraordinary.

Making the process easy for clients is often overlooked. He gives quotes on the first call and is easy to schedule. His clients are able to easily download their photos or videos from the internet. Colby is familiar with restricted air spaces, which can be very confusing to the inexperienced, and he has the ability to obtain immediate waivers in a lot of instances. This only comes through years of experience and creating streamlined processes. Being licensed or a certified drone photographer doesn’t guarantee professionalism.

In addition, safety is second nature to him. He uses government suggested checklists and maintenance schedules, checks air space restrictions and weather, and creates emergency contingencies for each flight. It takes years of experience to implement these correctly and consistently. Flying into a person, vehicle, or building is the last thing a client wants. Colby also has a drone rider on his general liability insurance. It is shocking how many drone photographers in Tennessee lack insurance.

If you’d like to learn what a certified drone photographer can do for you, click here. If you have a specific project you wish to discuss, click here


Now is the time to stop worrying about finding a team that understands the complexity of working with large international corporations. Working with those who are not familiar with the challenges of international clients causes issues. Consequently, it wastes your time, burns the project timeline, often expands budgets, and can upset everyone who the vendor interacts with. Most importantly, it can make you look bad. As Kevin Karwoski from Emerson was looking for a photographer, he was well aware of these problems.

“I work for a large international business as a supply chain professional and was asked to find an efficient photographer for work that goes into one of our customer projects. My experience is not in this field and we had no one in-house who could help direct or guide me. I knew I would need the help of a photographer. After discussing my limitations with Colby, it was clear. I then knew I found the person who could get me the photographs I needed while meeting the project schedule. 

We didn’t have time for re-shoots and couldn’t afford additional costs. The photographs needed to be right the first time. Colby independently worked with our customers and delivered the photographs we needed within our budget. Colby is a very conscientious professional that will work with you to meet your needs and I highly recommend him for your next project.” — Kevin Karwoski 

Kevin needed photos for training software for a client. Starting off, he was unfamiliar with the complexities of photography so education was vital. We had to draft the right questions for him to send to other departments. This meant we knew exactly what they needed. Therefore we could deliver it correctly the first time. During the project, he was our contact, the person we were photographing for was never part of the discussion. We were able to coordinate with Kevin’s customer’s plant manager and we actually took photos with the person using the machines. Everyone had their own needs and requirements. During the processes, we made sure that Kevin and Emerson looked great!

Emerson and their international clients were interesting and great to work with. Emerson is an international company that uses innovative ideas to create air quality solutions. Kevin’s international company helps improve commercial, residential, and industrial air systems. Emerson works with diverse clients who have the same needs. You can see more about their business on Emerson’s website

If you’d like to learn more about our services, click here. If you have a specific project you wish to discuss, click here.  

Kickstart your Knoxville marketing project with professional images that stay within budget! David Jones from City People had spent a lot of time looking for a professional photographer who could create website marketing campaign photos. After a thorough discussion, Colby’s Photos and Videos determined an accurate estimated budget, stayed within the budget, and even came in under budget. His main concern was that the project might go over the amount his board had already approved, as projects often do.

 “Colby is a pleasure to work with. He listened to exactly what we were looking for and delivered professional and quality photos on time and on budget. I will certainly be using Colby for any photography needs in the future. ” – David Jones

Clients often find it hard to find a vendor who takes the time to give an accurate estimate of cost, but this shouldn’t be difficult. City People needed photos made for their new website marketing project. Colby discussed what they envisioned, asking lots of questions based on his experience of similar projects. Sometimes the project does expand beyond what was discussed. In these cases, he doesn’t just do it and charge more. Colby’s Photos & Videos discusses what the new desires are and then reports back on a new estimated budget. The final investment should be David’s decision, not the photographer’s. Colby strives to delight clients with invoices below what they expect, not frighten them with expanded invoices. This is exactly why they get testimonials like this, repeat business, and referrals. 

When David Jones isn’t looking for the best deals, he is working with City People. City People is a fresh, non-profit organization that strives to create a better community. They work with businesses and Knoxville locals to create the best community experience for everyone. David and his colleagues recognize that a community is more valuable today than it has ever been. Anyone looking for a community that has their back will want to check out their website and Instagram for exclusive information.

If you’d like to learn more about our services, click here. If you have a specific project you wish to discuss, click here.

Voting awards mean a lot; it is proof of recognition to be a top-pick in a field. They gauge the community’s awareness of the quality and service of your products. It was through your generosity that we have won this for years and years.

This particular award represents my peers’ support within the advertising and marketing industry. The American Advertising Federation of Knoxville, TN’s Big Wig Awards recognize “those behind-the-scenes advertising ninjas who get it done.” Therefore, I am honored to be named among some of the giants within the industry.

You can see other evidence of our dedication to exceptional service everywhere on the internet through our reviews. These reviews are expressions of the delight our clients have had with us. Consequently, a search through Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, or anywhere on the Internet will show you our 5-star reviews.

Through awards like this and all our reviews, we know that we are on track to provide what our clients need. Essentially, the trust established and shown through referrals, hiring, and votes for awards encourage us to push even harder to help fulfill your needs. We hope to earn the next Big Wigs award, as well, through our continued efforts.

If you’d like to learn more about our top-pick services, click here. Also, if you have a specific project you wish to discuss, click here

Putting a face to your name for your clients is vital. It builds trust and enhances the relationship. Hiring a photographer to take a quality portrait is the best way to achieve that goal. However, not everyone in Knoxville, TN, has mastered the art of taking hassle-free portraits. Drew Griggs, an insurance agent at State Farm, had such concerns, but Colby’s Photos & Videos effortlessly allayed his fears. They created painless headshots for Drew’s website, social media pages, email signature, and business cards.

Delayed updating my headshot for a while because the process has typically been a pain. NOT with Colby’s Photos & Videos. The studio is excellent. The atmosphere is fun. Simple process. The best part— edit the image right then and there and have the picture before you get home! That was my confirmation that hassle-free portraits were possible. Thanks, Colby!— Drew Griggs.

Most people would rather not have their portraits done because of all the stress involved in the process. It wasn’t the first time Drew had headshots done because he’s been in sales for a while, but the experience was always excruciating. That is why he always used to postpone updating his portraits. However, the story changed when he met Colby and his team. They are experienced in taking relaxed and hassle-free portraits and made Drew’s encounter a success. Colby ensured the session was fun, easy, and quick, with the end product being an excellent headshot.

Drew is an exceptional insurance agent. Life has a lot of risks and protecting yourself can be complicated and confusing. Drew makes it easy. He is the best, and you can contact him through this website or on LinkedIn.

If you’d like to learn more about our services, click here. If you have a specific project you wish to discuss, click here.