When it comes to aerial photography, drones are a total game-changer. These flying robots are one of the most recent technologies in the industry, and as a professional photographer, you need to keep with such modern techniques to maintain the quality of your work.
The journey to mastering drone photography involves so much more than just buying a drone, snapping some shots, then selling them – it requires technical knowledge, legal considerations, and of course, patience. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a drone photography business.
1. Find the Right Equipment
First things first, you should find the right equipment for the job. This doesn’t just mean buying a drone, but also figuring out what accessories are necessary to handle your photography needs.
Drones, for starters, come in various models with different specs. However, some features must be present in your drone to deem it suitable for aerial photography. These include:
- Camera Gimbals: if you’re planning to land high-quality aerial images, then you can’t do without the assistance of camera gimbals. A gimbal is a stabilizer that’s responsible for keeping your drone steady throughout the vibrations that accompany the flight process.
- FPV: standing for “First Person View”, FPV refers to when the camera on the drone broadcasts live video content to you while you’re flying your machine. FPV is usually used for drone racing, but it really pays off when you want to snap an awesome mid-air shot.
- GPS: serving the same purpose as with your smartphone, the GPS functionality of a drone enables it to determine its exact location and deliver this information back to the controller. That way, you always know the position of your drone.
- Collision Avoidance: as you can probably tell, this feature reduces the chance of your drone crashing into obstacles in its flight path.
- Intuitive Flight Controller: the controller you’ll use to fly the drone should be easy to figure out with a long-lasting battery. It should also offer plenty of monitoring and controlling features such as flight status data, waypoint control, live streaming video, manual flight control, and a map overlay.
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Besides these crucial features, there are several vital drone accessories that you can use to up your game and raise the quality of your work, which include:
- Propeller guards to protect against damage from getting too close to obstacles such as foliage.
- Replacement propellers in case they do get damaged during flights.
- LED lights to enhance visibility for nighttime photography.
- Extra SD cards to avoid running out of storage memory while shooting.
- Spare batteries for your drone because these machines usually fly for about 10 to 25 minutes before dying.
2. Learn How to Fly
Buying the necessary equipment for your photography business should be immediately followed by learning how to fly your front properly. If you can’t do that, how do you expect to take worthy shots?
Don’t hesitate to start training with a basic drone camera, you can always work your way up to more advanced models and specialty add-ons as you improve your skills.
Reading the manual should be the first task on your to-do list. This makes you familiar with all the different controls and how everything is supposed to operate.
Also, be sure to configure your speed and maneuvering settings before taking the drone out for a test drive. Remember to check the camera settings prior to each session to ensure you grab the best possible shots.
Besides the above steps, you should read up on common features such as smartphone feed, tracking, smart mode, and geofence. This will give you a solid foundation to build on.
3. Acquire a Drone Flying License (Part-107)
Now that you know how to fly your drone and capture decent images, you need to get a drone flying license. That’s right, you can’t professionally fly a drone (and make money out of it) without acquiring a license. This will also help you join other photographers in collaboration projects to further expand your horizons and earn extra money.
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4. Purchase Drone Insurance
Drone insurance is a must for any successful drone photography business. Not only will drone insurance protect your investment in case of accidents involving your drone, but it also shows the legitimate and professional side of your business.
Additionally, drone insurance gives you an edge over other drone flyers working without insurance. It makes potential clients feel more secure about doing business with you.
5. Create a Drone Photography Portfolio
This is a critical step when it comes to launching your drone photography business. A well-built drone photography portfolio can really take your business to the next level as it demonstrates the sort of skills and services you can provide for your clients.
For this reason, you want to include the works you’re most proud of. You also want to include a variety of styles to show that your photography skills aren’t limited to one domain.
Consider creating your own photography website where you showcase your best images. Of course, you should give visitors the option to either buy art from your online store or contact and hire you.
6. Market Your Drone Photography Business
This step is to further grow your drone photography business by expanding to reach more and more people. What better way to do so nowadays but create profiles on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your work.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to be active on your social channels so you always stay relevant. This means constant updates and possibly interacting with fans.
There you have it! Hopefully, you enjoyed and learned a couple of things from our guide on how to start a drone photography business.
As you can tell, launching a successful drone photography business doesn’t happen overnight. You need to carefully plan your moves, put yourself – and your work – out there, and keep trying until you make it!