You've seen them around – these strange, small, flying apparatuses – and you know what they are... “drones” to us lay people, UAS (unmanned aerial systems) to the pros. And maybe you've thought to yourself, “Cool, I'd like an aerial photo of ____.” So how do you go about hiring a drone photography company, and what do you need to look out for before you do?
To ensure a safe flight, we've put together the top 3 things to avoid when hiring a drone photography company:
#1. Hiring an Unlicensed Company
Be sure that the company you're considering to hire to capture your aerial images has its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization in place; recently the granting of the FAA Section 333 authorization for the commercial use of drones has been replaced with the part 107 Unmanned Aircraft Rule. The Section 333 is still good (it's a 2 year authorization) but soon it will be completely replaced by the part 107. With either authorization, FAA requirements must be followed strictly – there are operational limitations, pilot certification and responsibilities, as well as aircraft requirements. Just one example is flight height: experienced professionals understand the risk of irresponsible operation and would not fly a drone higher than the FAA recommended maximum height. You want to make sure that the company you're using practices safe flying and has all of its credentials in place. A professional, reputable aerial imaging company will willingly share with you exactly what authorizations it has been granted. If you don't see this information, ask for it.
#2. Not Researching the Drone Photography Company
Make sure you do your homework when seeking aerial imagining companies. Look at their previous work and check out whom they've worked with; learn what you can about them – who they are and what their reputation is. Look them up on Google, Facebook, and read their reviews, not just the testimonials on their website; many sites such as Yelp, for example, may have reviews of the company you're considering. Get references. Your research phase is as important as your subsequent collaboration with the company – you want to trust your creativity to experienced professionals, not the cheapest guy with a drone!
… which brings us to perhaps the most important thing to avoid ...
#3 Not Hiring An Experience Professional
Drone photography might be a hobby for some; however, your best bet will be to go with the most experienced professional your research yields. Whether you are making a marketing investment in your business with aerial images, or looking to capture a birds-eye view for your event, hire a company that utilizes only trained and experienced UAS pilots who follow strict safety and regulatory guidelines. A bonus: hiring experienced professionals should get you the most current technology, too. Have them tell you what equipment they fly, what they use to capture the images, when the equipment was released, and how long they've used it. Technology is ever-changing, and you'll want your “partner” in your creative process to have the very best at your disposal – from drones, to cameras, to editing software. Experienced professionals will also have any necessary permissions or permits for what you want to capture. They'll give you realistic expectations as to when you'll receive your final product. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the best ones will listen to your ideas, collaborate with you, and offer guidance to bring your ideas to life. Whether you're capturing images of real estate, construction, events, or special locations, how it's captured and then how it's edited is crucial to your outcome – an experienced professional will keep you covered on all fronts.
In the ever-changing technological world we live in today, the use of innovative UAS photography and video aerial perspectives has become invaluable for the marketing of real estate, golf courses, live events, hospitality services, construction projects, and more; it's also now a trending technique in pop culture.
Have some fun with your ideas and explore the possibilities with aerial images. And, by following these things to avoid, you'll come out on top!
About the author
Barbara Barclay is the marketing arm of Aerial Agents, a Cleveland, Ohio-based FAA Approved, commercial drone aerial photography & videography media production company. In the birthplace of aviation, Aerial Agents is established as the foremost experienced, professional and licensed expert in UAS (unmanned aerial systems) or "drone" piloting. Drone aerial imagery has multiple applications in a wide variety of areas including sales, marketing, education, entertainment, real estate, travel, hospitality, information, instruction, insurance, news and even court cases.