• InFocus Film co-owner Rusty Self flies the drone he uses to take pictures.
    InFocus Film co-owner Rusty Self flies the drone he uses to take pictures.

InFocus Film: photos from a different perspective

SPRUCE PINE – Rusty Self brings a unique perspective to photography.

Self, along with his wife, Misty, and his sister, Jessica Farley, run InFocus Film, a Mitchell County-based photography company specializing in portraits, event coverage and group photos.

And now, thanks to Rusty, drone photos, too.

Rusty and Misty started the business about 10 years ago but closed it after about five years.

Misty is a math teacher at Mitchell High and Rusty is a software developer at Unimin.

The two focused on their respective jobs until they realized how much they missed the photography business.

“I told Misty, ‘Why not start the photography business back,’” Rusty said. “It’s almost like not working because she enjoys it a lot.”

Rusty and Misty brought the business back and added Farley to the ownership group. Now, Rusty, Misty and Farley run their photography business out of their home when they have time away from their day jobs.

Farley, who works at the Mitchell County Health Department, said the business has brought the trio closer.

“Like with any business, we work through things and talk through things,” she said. “But it does bring us closer. We laugh, cut up, have fun and make the best of it.”

It didn’t take long for the owners to decide to add a new perspective to their photography services – an aerial one.

Rusty’s interest in working with drones started about four years ago when he started building prototype drones out of wood before graduating to plastic and metal frames.

“I’m a geek by nature,” he said. “I kept stepping up when I was building. It eventually became more economical to just buy one than build one. I bought a couple and I’ve been using those ever since.”

What started as a fun hobby for Rusty turned more serious when Unimin asked him to shoot some footage of their plants and mines.

“That’s what really got me into it,” Rusty said. “I went on and got my Federal Aviation Administration license to do it commercially. Most people don’t realize you need a license to do it as a job.”

Farley said Rusty’s drone footage brings a unique aspect that makes the business more well-rounded.

“It’s new and exciting,” Farley said about drone photography. “Rusty brings a lot of knowledge to the table. All the kids love him because he’s flying a remote control airplane to film. It’s a win-win. We love serving our community and this is just another aspect of how we can do that.”

Rusty said the drone photography business ebbs and flows. During Christmas, he said, he did multiple projects, but even when he’s not busy with it, he enjoys every minute of it.

“It’s really good money for the time you put into it,” he said. “It’s something I enjoy doing. I was just looking for a reason to fly drones.”

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616