‘Mr Big Picture’; thriving on digital innovation

Imagine being able to see every aspect of a building, construction site or development in detail – in essence, a bird’s-eye visualisation without the need for scaffolding or aircraft – and the time and money it could potentially save.

That’s exactly what seasoned drone photographer Thomas Haywood is able to offer his clients. Drone photography and drone mapping have opened up a whole new world to property developers, maintenance and construction firms everywhere.

Having been a qualified drone pilot for the past four years now, Thomas is used to adapting to new situations and having to constantly think on his feet, as his business means he’s faced with unique jobs and scenarios on an almost daily basis.

Drone photography is constantly-evolving, so Thomas strives to add value wherever possible using innovative methods like aerial drone mapping, and converting photographs into accurate 3D printable models through photogrammetry.

3D model of Glenbervie House: Click here

Thomas said: “I’m what they call Mr Big Picture, which is exactly why I’ve gone into drone mapping. My business survives – and thrives – on digital innovation, and I knew that if I were to just sit still and just do photography, people would overtake me; I’d get left behind.”

He continued: “Drones are a very fast-evolving world. Four years ago, you’d have to time how long they were up in the air, and didn’t have a built-in camera, so you’d have to use something like a GoPro.

I’m always on the lookout for new challenges and experiences that push the limits.


Investing in new tech is vital for Thomas to keep up with the latest innovations, as the shelf-life of a new drone really isn’t expected to last particularly long.

He said: “One of the machines I’ve had since January will likely last another two or three years tops before being superseded – but it’s a good thing. Camera tech has gotten so much better, and cameras are no longer as heavy, so who knows where we’ll be in another three years.”

Since he began working with drones, Thomas has found himself travelling to historic sites, commercial buildings and remote locations where he’s been able to capture a plethora of different and varied shots – which he provides to his clients royalty-free.

He’s also fully safety-qualified with a CSCS card, and can provide detailed risk assessment before undertaking any job. However, Thomas’s work can still be limited depending on weather conditions and whether or not he’s granted permission to fly his drones in different locations.

One such situation where permission was withdrawn to fly a drone was when he’d been commissioned to photograph the new Queensferry Crossing.

Thomas said: “On the day, things didn’t go quite as planned. I had to adapt and find a way to get the best shots possible, which involved rigging up a camera dolly (or handheld extension) and photographing the job from the ground.”

He continued: “The client was happy with the images… however, I’m all about adding value. That’s why I went back very early the next day, found the perfect spot, and got permission to fly my drone at a distance to go alongside the bridge and capture some utterly stunning aerial footage.”

It wasn’t the first time Thomas had gone the extra mile to deliver the best shots for a client, and judging by the business he’s in, it probably won’t be the last.

So, what’s next for Thomas? He told us: “I’m always on the lookout for new challenges and experiences that push the limits.”

Download the Thomas Haywood Aerial Drone Photography Brochure here.