Founded in 2013 by Reepham resident Michael Kheng, Kurnia Aerial Photography is an award-winning provider of commercial aerial photography services. Being amongst the first commercial drone operators in the UK, Kurnia have a wealth of experience and understanding about drones and how to achieve the right shots.
Michael’s successful business venture was initially born from a hobby. “I have always enjoyed photography. When I was a teenager, I had a dark room at home pre digital photographs and I’ve always been into gadgets. A friend that was also into gadgets and photography told me I should have a look at these new drone things when they came out, so I bought one and said, ‘yeah ok it’s a toy, I’m not sure I’ll do a lot with it’ and he said, ‘I bet you do!’” Michael chuckles.
In 2013 Michael got his first permission from the Civil Aviation Authority, and so Kurnia Aerial Photography was born; what started as a hobby soon turned into a very successful career. His business is currently in its tenth year of operating, and his clients range from private individuals to multi-national corporations.
Michael has witnessed many changes throughout those ten years, including the quality of equipment available. “When I started, to get good images you had to put a proper DSLR camera underneath a good drone and you were literally flying thousands of pounds in the air with very little feedback to yourself of what you were capturing, whereas nowadays they stay in the air longer, they’re a lot easier to fly and you can change all of the settings as well, so it certainly has become a lot easier.”
In the early days Michael worked alongside BBC Look North which opened the door for more work within the broadcast sector. “Someone asked me if I wanted to do a free shoot on one of the Guy Martin shows – it was on my doorstep so I went along and gave them a couple of hours for free which opened a door to do all of the stuff we’ve done with Guy Martin since which also lead onto more work, so it is like anything, you’ve really got to put yourself out there.”
Clients Kurnia Aerial Photography boasts includes BBC, ITV, Channel 4, BBC Four, Channel 5 and Discovery +. Although he has worked on many shows such as Top Gear and Strictly Come Dancing, one of the most memorable TV projects is the time he delivered ice-creams to Phil, Holly and Rylan live on This Morning. “That came about when drones were literally just taking off, East Lindsay District Council came to me and asked if we could do a video, so we came up with the idea that somebody would order an ice-cream on a deckchair via an app and we could then fly the drone out with an ice-cream!” Michael chuckles. “When we launched it all the national papers got a hold of it and then This Morning phoned up and said, ‘it’s our last show on Friday, can you come on and deliver ice creams to Holly, Phil and Rylan live on the show?’. I said yes but flying a drone in a confined space carrying 3 cornetto’s underneath live is a bit nerve-wracking!”
As well as the broadcast side, Michael offers his services for anything that requires filming from the air or the ground. From promo films showcasing factories, showrooms, businesses and shops to roof inspections, insurance claims, boundary disputes and house sales; whatever your needs, Kurnia Aerial Photography are happy to help. “A few months ago, we had someone ask if we could drop confetti from a drone!” Michael recalls, “I don’t like to say no to anything, so I said yes and had to figure it out later. We ended up making a release mechanism and went to the wedding and did drop confetti on the bride and groom!”
If you would like to find out more about Kurnia Aerial Photography or make an enquiry, visit thedroneman.net