Natchez Lens & Legacy – June 2023 Issue

Maintaining UAV/Drone Licensing: FAA Part 61 Certified Professional Drone Photographer

Navigating the skies as a certified UAV pilot and professional drone photographer demands continuous learning, regulatory updates, and skill upgrades. In that effort, recently I obtained the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 61 certification.


The Call to Upgrade: From Part 107 to Part 61

As a certified Part 107 Small UAS Recurrent pilot, I was already very familiar with the challenging but  thrilling world of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – commonly known as drones. However, once you’ve earned your license, it must be maintained.


Part 61 certification, compared to Part 107, allows for a broader range of operations, and prepares you for a more diverse set of flying conditions. This certification was my next step to enhance my flight credentials and keep up with my drone certification and licensing.


Moreover, the world of UAVs is continuously evolving, with new regulations, technologies, and best practices. To keep my knowledge and skills current, I regularly participate in online drone communities, and continue learning through professional development courses. It’s all part of maintaining a professional level of competence, skill, and flight safety.


In Conclusion

Achieving the FAA Part 61 certification was a fulfilling and enriching experience. It not only allowed me to elevate my drone flying capabilities but also deepened my understanding of aviation regulations, safety practices, and operational efficiency.

Our Comprehensive Approach to Building Trust with Website and Email Security

In today’s digital age, your security is paramount. To this end, we have invested heavily in a variety of measures to ensure that your experiences with our website and emails are not only convenient and enjoyable but also secure. Here’s an overview of our initiatives and commitments to maintain your privacy and trust.



Website Security Measures:


SSL Certificate Protection

The first step towards safeguarding your interactions with our website is the implementation of an SSL certificate. This encryption tool ensures that any data transmitted between your device and our website remains confidential and tamper-free. This protection is reflected in the “https” designation in our URL (rather than “http”), a tell-tale sign of a secure and encrypted website. Look also for the closed padlock icon at the head of our URL – another clear indication of a secure, encrypted website – ensuring that all data exchanges remain private and untouched. You might be surprised to learn that some of the photographers in our area do not use this secure designation on their websites. You will continue to see in this article how seriously we take your trust and your privacy in visiting us and in opening our emails that we send to you.

Above is the URL of our Website or Domain: Two ways to always check a website’s secure status: 1) Look for the “https” rather than merely a “http” – that “s” means secure and is extremely important; 2) Look for that tiny little closed padlock icon at the very beginning. If it’s not there, then the site does NOT have an SSL Certificate and it is NOT secure. Unfortunately, two of our competitors’ sites are NOT secure. 



Secure Hosting with SiteGround

Years ago, to ensure our website’s foundation is robust and secure, we chose SiteGround as our hosting provider. Known for their high-quality service, SiteGround equips our website with a stable, fast, and safe platform for delivering our content. We left another provider to migrate to SiteGround for those specific reasons. Extra protections we opted in for, such as SiteGround Security and WordFence, provide strong security against bots and spamming attacks. We get a report every week about how hackers attempted to find a way into our website (every website comes under attack) but ours is kept protected, clean, and free. Not once have we ever regretted our decision to go with SiteGround and these extra security measures.

Here is a real report from our WordFence security platform that we received recently. It shows the attempts at hacking into our site. We get this report daily, and it is always full of IP’s that are trying to get through. WordFence, along with other measures, helps keep them out. If any are able to get through, they are discovered by our malware scanner that constantly scans our site.


Extra Layer of Security with SiteScanner Premium

To go even one step further in ensuring website safety, we’ve integrated another paid service called SiteScanner Premium. This advanced tool performs weekly scans of our website for malware and viruses, ensuring our site remains clean and free of harmful software. This premium service is another facet of our commitment to your online safety and peace of mind.


MOZ scores our website with a SPAM score of only 1%. This is as low as it gets! Meanwhile, two of our competitors’ sites have Spam scores of 75% and 54% – respectively. That’s really high! How do we keep our’s low? Because we do all the things listed here. It doesn’t just happen. It happens because we are focused on it, and we care.


Low MOZ Spam Score

We pride ourselves on maintaining an incredibly low MOZ Spam Score of just 1%. This metric illustrates our diligence in ensuring our website remains spam-free. We regularly monitor this score, helping us quickly address any potential issues and maintain a clean, safe browsing environment for you. So, that’s our multi-layered protection protocols to keep our website safe and secure; and build your trust with us when you visit and peruse our website. Now for our emails…




Email Security Measures


Secure Email Service with MailChimp

For our email communications, we entrust our service to MailChimp. As a globally recognized email service provider, MailChimp places a high priority on security. Their robust systems and protocols mean you can trust the emails you receive from us.


reCAPTCHA is a seamless fraud detection service that stops bots.

reCAPTCHA Boots the Bots

At the very beginning of the process of signing up for our email list and our newsletter, we have just implemented a reCAPTCHA step that allows humans that are valid users through, but stumps the bots. This way, our email list that you are joining is only made up of real human beings. It does mean an extra step when signing up which can be a bit annoying, but we think it’s worth that extra step to ensure both your safety and trust, as well as ours. Also, we will NEVER share or sell your contact information. We truly value your privacy!


MailChimp and SiteGround Integration

Our email security doesn’t stop with MailChimp. We have also integrated our email service with our SiteGround hosting provider. This optimized connection between the two quality services maximizes security, as they are designed to work perfectly together. Not all hosting platforms and email service providers integrate seamlessly like these two do. Even in these “under-the-hood” systems that you perhaps don’t think about – we do – because we care about your safe and private experience with us, and we want to earn your trust!

This is the result we got when we ran a test of our website in Google SafeWeb… a nice green GO status. That’s the way we will keep it, and we’ll keep monitoring it. When you visit us or receive our emails, we’ve got you protected!


SPF and DKIM Authorization

Lastly, we have implemented Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) authorization protocols. These little-known tools allow your email provider to confirm our authenticity when we send out emails, ensuring we’re a safe sender and significantly reducing the risk of phishing or spam.


In conclusion, we’ve adopted a multi-faceted approach to security, resulting in a safe and trustworthy online environment. With SSL encryption, low MOZ Spam Score, SPF and DKIM authorization, and other measures, we are steadfast in our dedication to providing a secure platform. We prioritize and value your trust and safety and are continually seeking ways to enhance your safe, secure, and private experience with us!

Natchez Lens & Legacy – May 2023 Issue

Why Your Restaurant Needs a Professional Food Photographer in Natchez: A Visual Feast for Success


If you are a small, local restaurant owner in Natchez, you may have questioned the need for hiring a professional food photographer. For one thing, you may not know that food photography is even available right here in town, and another thing is concern that the cost is prohibitive. Well, it’s time to put those unknowns to rest! In today’s fast-paced, visually driven world, stunning food shots are essential for your restaurant’s success! Keep reading to discover why investing in a professional food photographer in Natchez is a recipe for enticing more customers and standing out in a competitive market.


Visual Appetizers to Attract Customers:

First impressions matter, and in the food industry, it’s all about presentation. As a professional food photographer who is located in Natchez, I have the skills, the special equipment, and experience to make your dishes look irresistible! With mouth-watering photos, you’ll not only entice potential customers but also build a strong and memorable brand image. Your food is your “product,” so why wouldn’t you want to present your food in the strongest possible manner – with amazing quality images? I have found that businesses that promote themselves through high-quality images (and video) are the ones that have made a commitment to doing everything they do with the highest of standards, and their customers are very attracted to that.


Spice up Your Social Media Presence:

Let’s face it; we eat with our eyes first, especially on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Beyond the images on your menu, captivating food shots on your social media marketing can generate buzz, garnering more likes, shares, and comments! A professional touch from your Natchez food photographer elevates your social media marketing, increasing visibility and bringing in new customers. One of the options we offer food photography clients is a two-fold one that helps your marketing going forward. First, we provide a certain number of images to help rebuild and spruce up your menu. This is needed especially if you’ve added new dishes, or some of the photos are old and outdated. Second, we offer a monthly package at a very affordable rate that supplies you with an image per month so you can continue to market your restaurant in a very high quality, regular, and consistent manner. View the initial “burst” of images as an investment in your business, and the second per-month package as being similar to having an “ad” that you are running monthly!


Consistency: The Secret Sauce for Branding:

Having me as your professional food photographer in Natchez ensures a consistent look and feel across all your images, creating a polished and cohesive visual identity. In fact, have a high-quality, strong IDENTITY as a brand is one of the major elements in your marketing that you must pay close attention to. Consistency helps establish trust and credibility with customers, making your restaurant more appealing. High quality photographs of your food are critical to building your identity as a brand. Coupled with excellent photos of your restaurant and your staff, all these images combined with your logo and brand imaging to exude quality as a business!


Delicious Marketing Materials:

High-quality food images are versatile and can be used in various marketing materials such as menus, websites, brochures, and advertisements. Built into your price quote is licensing for all these various platforms and streams. Having a consistent and professional visual presence from me as your Natchez food photographer will help strengthen your brand image, resulting in increased recognition and customer loyalty.


Expertise: Adding Flair to Your Menu:

As a professional commercial photographer, I know how to present food in the most appealing way, using the right angles, props, and backgrounds. I can also advise on which dishes to feature and how to best showcase your restaurant’s unique offerings. You can be assured that I will work very hard, and smart, to bring out the best in your culinary creations! My job is to present you and your food in the most amazing way possible – and I take the job very seriously.


A Hearty Return on Investment:

While hiring a professional food photographer in Natchez does involve an upfront cost (you may be pleasantly surprised at how affordable this is) the potential increase in customer interest, brand recognition, and revenue can far outweigh the initial investment. High-quality food shots are an invaluable asset that keeps on giving.




There’s no denying that investing in professional food photography is essential for small, local restaurants in Natchez. Stunning visuals not only captivate potential customers but also create a strong, consistent brand image. So, don’t hesitate to take the plunge and hire me as your food photographer – your restaurant’s success is just a click away. Call me for a free consultation and let’s explore together the best, most affordable way you can take your business brand up a couple of notches!



My Journey to Becoming a Certified Professional Photographer in Natchez


From a Child with a Polaroid to a Certified Professional Photographer in Natchez


There’s certainly a sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with becoming a Certified Professional Photographer in Natchez. It signifies a mastery of skills, a commitment to excellence, and a dedication to the craft. Today, I’m excited to share my journey to becoming a certified professional photographer in Natchez, Mississippi, through the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).


The Path to Professional Photography

My passion for photography started as a hobby when I was a child, capturing family moments and my G.I. Joe in desperate battle with WWII enemies. I started out with my parents’ Polaroid camera as a boy. As an older teen I graduated to film photography in high school. I took Journalism under a teacher named Charlie Ross. Mr. Ross took the time to teach me and others photography, even dark room developing. I purchased a Canon AE1, and when I joined the Army, it went with me everywhere. This included West Germany and my travels in Europe.


In the late 1990’s, I transitioned to digital cameras and was taking macro shots of jewelry and other small pieces of art in a business I had at the time. A few years later, I realized that I wanted to turn my passion into a secondary career. My “day job” was as a Criminal Investigator with the local Sheriff’s Department.  Both careers led to a multitude of various genres of photography and experiences, including crime scene photography. I began researching the best ways to enhance my skills and gain credibility in the industry. That’s when I came across the PPA and their certification program.


The Professional Photographers of America (PPA)

The PPA is a renowned organization that aims to foster growth and development in the photography industry. With over 30,000 members worldwide, it offers invaluable resources, education, and networking opportunities to photographers at all levels.

One of the PPA’s most prestigious offerings is the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation. This certification is a mark of excellence, demonstrating that a photographer possesses the technical expertise and artistic vision necessary to create exceptional images.


The Journey to Becoming a CPP

The road to becoming a certified professional photographer in Natchez was both challenging and rewarding. It truly was a journey of study and practice that made me better as a photographer in many ways. The process involved an extremely comprehensive exam covering technical aspects of photography, such as lighting, composition, and post-processing just to name a few. Additionally, I had to submit a portfolio of images that showcased my skills and artistic vision.


Throughout this process, I benefited from PPA’s extensive educational resources, including online courses, workshops, and webinars. These learning opportunities not only prepared me for the certification process but again, also helped me grow as a photographer.




The Impact of Certification on My Career

Achieving the CPP designation is going to be a game-changer for my photography career. The certification has already opened doors to new opportunities and allowed me to connect with other professional photographers in my region and far beyond Natchez.


As a certified professional photographer, I can confidently assure my clients that they are hiring a skilled, knowledgeable, and dedicated professional. This distinction sets me apart from the competition as I am the only P.P.A. Certified Professional Photographer in Natchez, and indeed in our entire region of Southwest, Mississippi.


Final Thoughts

Becoming a certified professional photographer in Natchez through the PPA has been an incredibly rewarding experience. The journey has allowed me to hone my skills, gain credibility in the industry, and ultimately provide my clients with the highest quality images.


If you’re looking for a photographer who is dedicated to excellence and committed to capturing your most cherished moments, look no further. As a certified professional photographer in Natchez, I am here to turn your dreams into stunning, lasting memories!

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