Flying High With Andrew Buchanan
Photographer Andrew Buchanan has always loved the feeling of being in the air—so much so, in fact, that he got his pilot’s license when he was only a teenager. It seems natural, then, for a man who loves flying so much to make aerial photography such a big part of his career.
When he first moved to Seattle in 1998, Andrew fell in love with the city’s architecture. Like most major cities, the unique designs of its buildings are a reflection of the character of the city itself. Seattle residents like Andrew are a mirror image of their city: quirky, progressive, but solidly built upon a firm foundation. The photographer decided he wanted to capture these buildings as they’d rarely been seen, so he started booking architectural and land design firms as clients for his photography business and took to the skies to photograph what exactly he found so fascinating about the landscape and urban planning of his new hometown.
As word about his unique talent began to spread, Andrew’s business began to take off. Of course, there are challenges inherent in aerial photography that more traditional shooters don’t have to deal with: Andrew quickly found that at about $5 a minute, the cost to rent a helicopter for each individual job for which he was commissioned was prohibitive for his clients.
So to better serve them, and book more jobs, Andrew started combining projects from multiple clients into a single session in order to cut down on costs. His clients are happy to wait considering the quality of his work, and creatives are also happy he can charge lower prices by fulfilling multiple commissions in a single flight.
Perhaps because of its uniqueness, the business model has managed to pay off. Andrew now averages between eight and ten aerial shoots a year for clients as varied as The University of Washington and global architecture firm NBBJ. In fact, in 2012 he was commissioned for seventeen aerial jobs!
His work has deservedly garnered a lot of recognition, the most recent example being a featured spot on Photoshelter’s main buyer’s page—particularly impressive when you consider Andrew’s photo was chosen from a pool of 70,000 accounts.
Andrew looks forward every year to flying the friendly skies and doing these exciting shoots. “I think I enjoy it so much partlybecause of the way I look at the world and see photographs–it’s very graphic- and design-oriented. I love the challenge of compressing a three-dimensionalspace into a two-dimensional photograph. That’s aerial photography in a nutshell. You don’t get much volume from 500 feet up!”
See more of Andrew’s impressive work here.