Drone Photography Masterclass – Tasmania

Want to lift your drone images up to the next level? And take on great drone information in a fabulous venue, amongst an interesting and friendly like-minded group?


On May 25 2021 I am running a full day drone photography workshop in Tasmania. Aerial photography workshops aren’t just rare in Australia, they are almost non-existent globally. Normally I only run 1 of these aerial photography events each year.

  • What will you gain? A unique opportunity to take on a vast amount of professional-standard aerial photography knowledge gained via 30+ years of on-the-job experience. (Specific topic details are further down the page.)
  • Date & time: 25 May 2021; 8.30am for a 9am start, until 5pm (afterwards, attendees who don’t have to rush off may decide to have dinner together, to continue conversations. I usually do!)
  • Venue: The historic Hadley’s Orient Hotel, 34 Murray Street, Hobart (attendees who are staying overnight receive an accommodation discount from the hotel)
  • Catering: Morning and afternoon tea included, plus a light lunch.
  • Cost: The early booking price is $345; the standard rate applies after 5pm on 26 April. Attendees often travel from far and wide and attendance numbers are limited. Early interest suggests this may sell out, so booking early is recommended.
  • To avoid disappointment, reserve you place in the Tasmanian Drone Photography Masterclass today, via Eventbrite


There’s plenty below! Skip to the headings of interest and then contact Fiona Lake via email or phone (07) 4728 4922, if you have any other queries.

Masterclass venue:

  • The George Cartwright room in Hadley’s Orient Hotel, Hobart, Tasmania. Built in 1834 by convict labour, this is one of the most historic hotels in Tasmania and much loved by all who appreciate accommodation with genuine character.
  • I’ve been a speaker at events across Australia plus other countries – and this is hands-down the most glorious venue. A unique location for a genuinely unique event.

Venue for the afternoon on the second day:

  • This afternoon could be used for a field trip, so no venue has been booked at this stage. I will determine whether to make it a formal session with more in-depth information, for an additional cost, after hearing participant feedback when bookings for day 1 are made.
  • I had contemplated running a full 2 day workshop as there is plenty of material to cover, however I felt this may be too much of a time commitment for many attendees.

Accommodation options:

  • Must be booked by attendees directly as it is not included in the masterclass arrangements or cost – there are a raft of options nearby.
  • If you are a visitor to Hobart I do recommend staying on the spot in the Hadley’s Orient Hotel in order to meet other attendees before and after, eg at breakfast. The value and enjoyment of networking should not be underestimated and I always work to enable people to enjoy the whole experience. I’m often asked some of the most valuable questions in conversations after a workshop has concluded – so I always stay at the venue myself.
  • Attendees will also receive a discount if they stay at Hadley’s Orient Hotel (& no I don’t receive a commission!)

Attendance numbers:

  • Are limited to ensure everyone receives personal attention; so it is recommended that you book as early as possible.
  • Late bookings cannot be accepted, due to caterer requirements.

Catering – special dietary requirements:

  • If you have medical dietary requirements these must be advised in advance, IE when you book, so we can ensure you’re properly fed.
  • Dinner in the evening is not covered by the masterclass attendance fee as it is optional. If there is enough committed interest expressed in sufficiently in advance, I do have a couple of great local guests in mind.
Fiona Lake was awarded the Industry Education & Safety award in 2021 by Australia’s largest drone industry organisation – the Australian Association for Unmanned Aircraft (AAUS), for her Rural Drone Academy work.

What topics does the Hobart drone photography workshop include?

…apart from great food, interesting company and a fabulous venue? Global standard information:

We begin with the fundamentals of drone operation, including safety issues – especially as relate to photographers. Then, camera/image-creating principles. Vital for anyone new to photography or drones but also useful revision for even the most experienced amongst us.

We then move on to a plethora of professional-standard aerial photography tips. Doing a good job of aerial photography is a much greater challenge than ground photography and these significant differences are explained.

Lastly – cinematography, where myths and mistakes abound.

Some of the photography topics included: image administrative management (rarely discussed but vital for efficiency), best-practice filter use (with some myth-busting), copyright essentials (reducing and managing unauthorised image use), privacy issues and managing the public, travelling with drones (including battery management tips), and editing. As in selecting the best image or footage. Choosing sounds obvious? It’s the most common fail I see photographers and cinematographers make – so this could be one of the most valuable discussions you benefit from.

We cover a raft of cinematography information – too many topics to list, but several examples: using sound for maximum effect, overcoming challenges re producing smooth footage, film industry industry terms and flight moves to practice.

The presentations are illustrated with a raft of image examples taken across Australias.

Tasmanian Drone Photography Masterclass workshop
A range of photography subjects and styles will be discussed. Fiona Lake has been commissioned to produce images for a number of Australia’s largest companies, and has taken drone photographs in every state and territory.

The potential second session, on the afternoon of 26 May:

If there is a feasible amount of interest is expressed a second session will be arranged for the afternoon after the Drone Industry Summit, for an additional cost. This additional time may be especially appealing for drone operators who sell their images or who plan to; but it could also be useful for anyone with specific problems or who would like some of the first day’s content in more detail. Whether this second session happens really depends on how much time attendees are able to commit to learning.

Second session topics could include these unique topics:

  • Pricing (rarely discussed. What is reasonable? What is typical?)
  • Undertaking commission work (what T’s & C’s are vital, creating shotlists, headaches to avoid etc)
  • Tips relating to specific fields of commercial photography (from marketing real estate or businesses, to creating artwork)
  • Insurance (where to get it and what do you really need?)
  • Marketing – what actually works and what is a waste of time or money (based on more than a decade of social media results and 18 years of running a website now included in the National Library of Australia’s ‘Pandora’ project)
  • Self publishing books (common but expensive mistakes to avoid)
  • Photography exhibitions (can you make a profit?)
  • Entering photography awards (is it worth the trouble?)
  • If there are RePL holders attending, who can legally fly at night, then night flying preparation and requirements can be covered. I’ve trained with the best night flight instructors in the business, in the US. (But this is a topic I’ll need to be advised of in advance, so I bring what is required.)

And/or a hands-on session session could occur, to test camera and drone settings and filter use, as discussed on the first day.

A great diversity of people attend my workshops so what is arranged for this second afternoon depends on participant interest expressed sufficiently in advance.

  • Minimum numbers will apply for a formal group session indoors however individual mentoring is also an option and there’s no limit on numbers attending an outdoor session.
  • If you may be interested in a second session let me know exactly what you’d like straight away.
  • Another reason why booking in advance is advantageous – you get a say in what is covered in more depth!

What will not be covered in this drone photography masterclass?

  • Image alteration software. I touch on a few thought-provoking points that are rarely discussed, but that’s it. Why not in depth? Condensing a wealth of information into a day requires culling so it makes sense for me to devote the time to my specialties and topics that are just not covered accurately or comprehensively, elsewhere. Many people have produced quality online education material regarding how to get the best out of Photoshop, Lightroom and other software. Camera clubs are also a great source of in-person digital manipulation advice. It’s important to remember that Photoshop was invented before digital camera ramped up, a couple of decades before off-the-shelf consumer drones proliferated. So many ground photographers have worked on perfecting software skills for many years.
  • Video editing. Excluded primarily because there simply won’t be time to do a decent job of what is a detailed specialty. Instead, this drone cinematography training concentrates on producing quality material for an editor to work with.
  • I run full-day drone workshops that run through operation in great detail – from laws and safety to flight planning and problem solving. Unfortunately there’s not enough time to include all this detail in one day; so instead, there’s just a summary of fundamentals then we move on to photography-related topics.
  • Printed workshop notes are not supplied – because it would run to thesis length, include a lot of information that wasn’t relevant to some audiences, and add a great deal of cost to running workshops. But more significantly – such a tome would always be out-of-date as the drone industry is so fast paced and I update presentations right up until I’m in front of an audience and even while delivering, to adapt to the interests of the people in front of me. Instead, attendees are encouraged to write or type notes or take photos of particular slides, for referring back to for their own use, afterwards. We will be covering a huge amount. Some points will be more valuable for you than others and the process of writing down your thoughts is far more worthwhile than supplying an expensive doorstop of paper that few of us get around to reading after an event. (*Note – I just found an excellent but unread handout from a digital photography workshop I attended in 2010!)

For more information on the workshop content: Contact Fiona Lake

Who is this drone masterclass best for?

  1. All ages, but under 16s must be accompanied by a parent (if this is you, ask me about your cost of attendance). It’s common to have an age range from late secondary school up to retiree age and all points inbetween.
  2. Recreational as well as commercial drone pilots.
  3. Urban and rural residents.
  4. All skill levels of drone pilots and photographers are welcome, from beginners to advanced. Because the style of my workshop presentation is interactive, participant stories are shared and we always have some good laughs. I’ve had quite a few fully licenced, experienced drone pilots attend my workshops, as well as established professional photographers, and all have said attendance was well worthwhile. So if you’ve been around for a while, don’t think it will be too basic for you.

Yes – this wide range of people does actually work really well – it results in much more productive discussions and reciprocal learning for all involved, even amongst the most experienced people.

What will you get out of attending?

The saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ is twee but it applies to the drone industry more than any other. The feedback I most often hear from drone workshop attendees is ‘I had no idea so much was involved’, and on topics participants didn’t even know existed. Some are age-old professional photography topics that many are unaware of. Here’s a few of the specifics you’ll get by attending and making maximum use of the whole day (& perhaps into the following day):

  • Understand how to fix frustrating issues you’ve had with still images and video footage (if you haven’t had any, perhaps you’re not scrutinising hard enough).
  • Technical skills – whether it’s using different equipment, settings and how to actually use filters properly (including when not to use them) to a truckload of drone cinematography tips, many of which you won’t find online. (Those in the know rarely give the really worthwhile information away for free!)
  • Obtain practical and realistic information re selling your work plus how to build a reputation and become a respected specialist – or improve your existing position. Including an honest appraisal of the challenges in a competitive marketplace and pitfalls to avoid.
  • Have a sense of where you are placed in the drone industry, natural advantages you may have, and exactly what changes and improvements to make to forge ahead.
  • As a result of the above, you’ll feel a lot more confident, as now you have a roadmap, clarity of purpose, better skills and know what to do to go forward.
  • Get more satisfaction and less frustration, every time you’re out capturing images or creating videos.
  • Be inspired with new ideas and knowledge and feel keen to get out and put it into practice.
  • Have an expanded network of like-minded drone pilots and know where to head for reliable information and inspiration.

Book your spot at the Tasmanian Drone Photography Masterclass through Eventbrite

Fiona Lake, Night Flight training in Las Vegas, USA. In addition to many hours of drone flying, Fiona Lake has undertaken drone training & education in other countries with some of the best operators in the world.

About the drone workshop presenter, Fiona Lake:

  • Professional aerial photographer for more than 30 years and flown drones in every Australian state & territory. First photographs sold in 1982.
  • Multi award-winning, EG:
  • 2021 Winner of the Industry Award for Education & Safety, from Australia’s largest drone organisation – the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems (AAUS)
  • 2020 Winner of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalist’s ‘Star Prize for Photography’ (more than 30 member countries and entries received from five continents)
  • 2018 Named as one of ten ‘Women to Watch in UAS’, globally, by Chicago-based Women and Drones
  • Social Media & Photography Awards received from the Press Club, Queensland
  • Photography exhibitions in a number of high-profile venues, including Sydney’s Bondi Pavilion and the Australian Embassy in Washington DC.
  • Judge of national & international photography competitions
  • Publisher of three best-selling photographic books
  • Repeat invitations to deliver presentations at drone conferences on four continents
  • Interview invitations from the most prominent English-speaking drone commentators in the world (US, Canada, Australia)
  • Fully licenced drone pilot (CASA RePL, AROC, ReOC)

Like to read some comments from participants in previous drone workshops?

And – an extra drone event to attend:

  • This drone photography masterclass has been specifically timed to facilitate attendance at the inaugural Tasmanian Drone Industry Summit; on the morning of 26 May.
  • Run by Taz Drone Solutions, a range of interesting speakers has been lined up.
  • I’ll be attending and hope all masterclass attendees will be able to also; bookings can be made directly with Taz Drone Solutions via the above link.

Drone gatherings of any kind are rare in Australia. So don’t miss this great opportunity to be part of something not only useful, but enjoyable and memorable. Make your Drone Photography Masterclass booking now, through Eventbrite

Is this drone photography masterclass worth travelling a long way for?

  • This is a holistic drone photography workshop with a plethora of interrelated information – I’ve created the drone photography workshop that I would have travelled to the other side of the world to attend when I was starting out – if it had existed. I’ve attended many of the world’s largest drone events and combined what I’ve learned there with what I’ve learned hands-on over many years, to create a ‘one stop shop’. Realistic, practical information that you can put to use immediately.
  • Location – chosen as it’s in the midst of so many inspiring image opportunities; man-made and natural.
  • Timing – coincides with the Tasmanian Drone Industry summit, so attendees can maximise their ROI and go to both.
  • Tax deductible expenses – if you are deriving income from drones then the costs of attending may be tax deductible – but check with your accountant.

You haven’t been to Tasmania yet? It is heaven for photographers:

The Hadley’s Orient Hotel is right in Hobart’s CBD. Close to many art galleries (paintings have a lot to teach photographers), restaurants, photogenic Battery Point and just a short walk to the famous Salamanca markets. There’s even a horse & carriage tour that can be booked on Fridays, that arrives back at Hadley’s hotel just in time for their traditional afternoon tea.

There’s a feast of fantastic options for visiting photographers close to Hobart – historic buildings plus a range of agricultural, coastal and wilderness landscapes. And it’s less than 300km from Hobart on Tasmania’s south coast (close to where the Great Southern Ocean and Tasman sea meet) to Devonport on the north coast (overlooking Bass Strait). I’ll be hiring a car and travelling around myself.

Tasmania does have a lot of National Parks and reserves were drones cannot be flown except by CASA licenced drone pilots doing commercial work or scientific research, who have applied in advance and received approval from the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. This still leaves a vast area of Tasmania that drones can be flown in, without requiring special permits. Truth be told – most features that make densely vegetated national parks and wilderness areas special can be more effectively photographed from the ground rather than the air (with some specific exceptions, which include some waterfalls, cliff faces and coastlines). In Tassie parks, mostly the drone will just show a bucketload of trees as far as the eye can see in every direction. Beautiful tree tops, but there’s a limit to how interesting they look in drone images.

Tasmania’s late autumn weather is unpredictable – it can snow before winter arrives, and drones have minimum operating temperatures. However difficulties sort out the sheep from the goats and the stamp of a good aerial photographer is the ability use challenges to add atmosphere and create genuinely memorable images. Everyone is doing ‘easy’! The time-off reward is great local food in cosy historic buildings warmed by wood fires.


Being out of school holidays and peak summer demand, the Tasmanian hire car shortage may not be a problem. But better safe than sorry, so it is advisable to book a car ASAP, if you’ll want to be driving out of Hobart. If you’re just visiting Hobart you won’t need one, as the hotel is walking distance to a stack of restaurants, shops and historic buildings.

If you’re wanting to bring your own car on the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ ferry (Melbourne to Davenport), it’s also best to book ASAP as the Federal Government subsidy on free car transport runs out in June. Although given that ferry car transport only costs from $99 extra each way, during the quieter months, it’s a cheaper option than hiring a car anyway.

Fiona Lake has worked as a professional aerial photographer since the 1980s, beginning in helicopters. Since then she has flown drones in every state and territory in Australia and run drone information sessions in all states except WA & Tasmania. Her work has won numerous awards and she has received repeat invitations to speak at many of the largest drone events in the world, located on four continents.

Covid19 & refunds:

  • Workshop fees; if the workshop had to be postponed for any reason, the full cost of the masterclass attendance fee that you paid would be refunded (or a credit issued, for attendees able to attend the rescheduled date). (I would refund the booking fees, although Eventbrite would not refund them to me.)
  • Workshop fees; if a declared hotspot or border closure prevents your attendance or return home without quarantining, the masterclass attendance fee you paid would be refunded in full. (Please note this does only apply to people directly affected and explanatory documentation may be requested.)
  • Accommodation: most hotels now offer full refunds on cancellations however you must check this with your accommodation provider when you’re making a booking.
  • Airfares: many airlines, eg Qantas, now offer fee-free flight changes (I’ve had to make quite a few fee-free flight changes over the last 7 months – usually quickly and easily, online).
  • Nervous about flying? The stay-safe Covid19 fundamentals are – firstly; wear a well-fitting mask properly – in the airport, when flying and when in close proximity with other people elsewhere (EG shops and on public transport such as trains and buses). Secondly – do practice social distancing as much as possible. Staying in the one place surrounded by people for a length of time is deemed a greater risk so if you’re buying food at the airport, carry it to seating that is distant from other people, before taking your mask off and eating. Thirdly – be very conscientious with hand hygiene everywhere you go (avoid touching your face and no eating chips or anything else if you haven’t washed your hands thoroughly first). Follow these three principles and it seems you’ll be unlikely to have a problem in Australia – however, it is every individual’s responsibility to keep up to date with the latest government advice on this. (I’ve travelled through every state & territory over the last 6 months, except WA.) There is always some risk of catching an illness when mixing with other people. For detail freaks like myself, there’s also my blog post Tips for Australians travelling during Covid 19.
  • Covid Safe protocols will be implemented at the event, as instructed by the Tasmanian Government; however the responsibility for abiding by government directions, and risk, rests with event attendees.

Booking deadlines & other refunds:

  • Participants who book early make event management less fraught, so the first three people to book will receive one of my books as a thank-you for helping me sleep at night. You’ll receive your book at the workshop (I’ll just need to know in advance whether you’d prefer the Barkly Tableland (NT) book or the book covering stations in the Kimberley, Top End and Outback Queensland). So leave room in your case!
  • Cancellations for reasons other than Covid19 restrictions – a full refund less a 10% admin fee, for all cancellations prior to 5pm 26 April. Thereafter a full refund less 25% cancellation fee, up until 5pm 10 May. Sorry no refunds after 5pm 10 May (except if due to a change in Covid19 circumstances/regulations, as explained under the separate heading; when event fees are usually refunded in full).
  • You may like to consider taking out travel insurance – annual policies are hard to find, at present, but single-trip travel policies are now available. Then again, given that most airlines, hotels and car hire companies now accept fee-free changes and/or cancellations, you may not want to bother; whether travel insurance worth it depends on your circumstances.
  • Definite bookings are bookings that have been paid in full.
  • I advise booking ASAP to ensure you don’t miss out on a place.

Changes & unexpected events:

  • Invariably there’s minor wording and information improvements that are made to blog posts in-between the announcement and the day of the masterclass – but no fundamental changes are foreseen.
  • In the unlikely but possible event that significant changes had to be made to arrangements, everyone who had booked would be immediately notified via the email supplied and a refund or credit options given. However no responsibility is taken for travel-related costs, so making unalterable travel bookings is not advised.

Cost and what is included:

Prices below are per person and include the full day drone masterclass, light lunch, morning and afternoon tea, GST and Eventbrite booking fees:

  1. $345.00 – ‘early bird’ rate, until 5pm 26 April
  2. $395.00 – standard rate, until 5pm 17 May
  3. $445.00 – late booking rate, until 5pm 21 May (it’s unlikely that any bookings can be taken later than this, due to caterer’s requirements, or there may be a higher charge).

Second afternoon, 26th May – details TBA, depending on feedback from those who book the main day.

Purchase your Drone Photography Masterclass ticket now, and receive the early-booking discount!

If you have any queries don’t hesitate to ask:

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