Drone Photography Buying Guide

What are the Most Important Features to Look For?

By: Scott Wilkinson


Whether you are an experienced photographer or an aspiring Instagram influencer, adding aerial photography and video to your toolbox can give your work a serious boost, not to mention how fun they can be to fly.

So, what exactly is the best drone? It depends on what you plan to do with it.

What You Plan on Using the Drone For Matters.

Just like any photography equipment, how you plan to use a drone is very important in answering the question, “which is the best drone?” Everyone can agree that the Canon 1DX III is a great camera, but is it the best? Well, if you are doing street photography, maybe you want something a bit more discreet. The situation, to some extent, determines which camera is best.

Same goes for drones.

Are you planning on using it for travel photography? You may want a smaller drone that fits in a carry-on bag. Are you planning on using video as well as photos? Find one with a gimbal.

Though it isn’t possible to say definitively which is the best drone for everyone, I can explain some of the major features and how they can affect performance in a variety of situations and help you pick the drone that works best for you.

Image Quality Is Key to Picking the Right Drone (Obviously)

Image quality is one of the main factors to focus on when choosing the best drone for photography. While there are drones that allow you to mount a full-sized DSLR camera, for this article, I’m going to focus on drones with integrated camera systems.

Most prosumer and entry-level professional drones have cameras with fixed lenses and sensors slightly larger than those found on smartphones.

For example, the iPhone uses a sensor that is 1/3 inch [17mm2]. Compare this to drones from DJI, such as the Mavic Pro, Phantom 4, and Spark, which use a 1/2.3 inch [28mm2] sensor, and the Phantom 4 Advanced or Pro models which have a 1.0 inch [116mm2] sensor. Compare this to a full-frame sensor which has an area of 864mm2, and you can get an idea of the types of sensors available.

Though most drones have sensors substantially smaller than full-frame DSLR cameras, they are more than capable of delivering exceptional photographs in conditions with sufficient lighting.

For more advanced photographers, especially if you use professional editing software such as Lightroom, you will also want to choose a drone that shoots in a raw format, for example, the DNG format used in DJI drones—just like with a DSLR, shooting in raw format with a drone gives you extra control over the editing process and can allow you to pull more out of photos shot in lower lighting.

Should You Go for The Full 4K Video?

4k video or 1080p? 24fps or 60fps? Again, it all depends on what you plan on using the drone for.

For most video, 24fps will provide smooth footage, especially for static shots or flyovers made with a straight flight path. If you plan on using slow motion or action shots with lots of twists and turns, you may want something closer to 60fps.

As far as resolution, I always prefer 4k, but probably not for the reason you think. 90% of the work I upload is in 1080p or below. But, I like to use 4k because it allows me to crop, “zoom,” and edit to my heart’s desire and export to a full 1080p video.

If you don’t plan on doing a lot of post-production, 1080p is probably more than enough.

Does the Drone Hover in Place and Make Smooth Movements?

Blurry subjects can make or break a great photo or video, which is why it is essential to have a drone that can fly smoothly and hover in place steadily.

Having a gimbal can help somewhat, but nothing is going to save a photograph if the drone is continuously rocking back and forth in flight. Same goes for videos. We all want our videos to be silky smooth. It’s hard to make these shots if the drone is jerking when you try to make a turn or if it is wobbling while performing a flyover.

In my experience, DJI has, by far, the best flight control system for ensuring smooth flying and stationary hovering.

Size Is A Big Factor When Buying A Drone.

As a travel lover and avid photographer, I always want to bring my newest toys tools with me whenever I travel, and I always have to consider size when making a decision on which gear to buy. Drones are no different.

Smaller drones are going to be a better choice if you plan to take your drone on vacation and are only able to take one or two suitcases. But smaller isn’t always better.

Many higher-end drones are quite large and weigh several pounds. While these wont be fitting into the overhead compartment on your next flight, they do offer some distinct advantages over their smaller counterparts. Larger drones are able to carry larger cameras, meaning larger sensors and better low-light performance, as well as larger batteries, which provides longer flight times. Heavier drones also have a leg up when it comes to stability in less-than-ideal flying conditions and are much easier to maneuver when flying in the wind.

One last thing to consider is the weight. In the US, any drone that weighs 250 grams or more must be registered with the authorities. So, it is no coincidence that mini-drones such as DJI’s Mavic Mini come in at a very light 249 grams.

Flight Time Isn’t as Important as You Think.

Many drones, even professional ones, have limited flight times. Typically drones have a flight time of 15 to 30 minutes on a single charge. And, while that may not seem like a lot, I have found that flight time is not as important as I thought.

What is important is having extra batteries. Think of it like this: Even if you are creating videos with your drone, rarely will you ever need a single shot that lasts longer than a few minutes. You are more likely to send the drone up several times to take several different shots. Simply replace the battery when it gets low and voila.

Many drone companies offer special accessory packages, like the DJI Fly More Combo, which include multiple additional batteries for a discounted price.

Special Features May Tip the Balance.

So, you’ve gotten this far. You know everything there is to know about picking the best drone for your needs, right? Well, not exactly. The devil, as they say, is in the details. Maybe after reviewing the specs of several drones, multiple models tick all of the boxes on your wish list of size, image quality, and price. But don’t forget to look at the extras that each drone offers

Basic drones may have decent cameras but lack subject tracking capabilities, making it difficult to capture moving targets. If you are taking selfies, you may want to find a drone that offers hand gesture controls rather than using a videogame-style controller.

There are drones that us AI to lock on to a subject and follow them throughout the duration of a shot; there are drones that include dozens of sensors to avoid crashing or flying too far from the pilot; there are even drones that have unique controls for racing and performing tricks such as barrel rolls and flips.

By looking not only at the image quality but also the quality-of-life features, you should be able to pick the perfect drone that fits your unique needs.

6 Simple Tips for Drone Photography for Beginners

Thanks to rapidly advancing technology, it has never been easier to capture amazing aerial images and video of the world’s most beautiful places. Even a very basic drone can produce some of the most breathtaking photography you have ever seen. And, just like many could have predicted, a drone that is basically a remote-controlled toy for those obsessed with photos and videos is just as much fun to fly as it is to capture images. 

When you are just getting started into drone photography, it might seem a little overwhelming. Luckily we have compiled a list of some great tips to not only help you get a good start with a brand new drone but excel in drone photography!

1. Pick a drone that will suit your needs and your skills

As you probably already know, there are hundreds if not thousands of different drones out on the market to choose from. So what kind of drone should you consider getting for yourself? There are two basic types of drones, those with built-in cameras, and those that are not. Drones with built-in cameras are usually larger, and their cameras are often unable to be upgraded. This means that you are stuck with whatever quality (good or bad) the camera gives you. 

Other drones that allow you to attach your own camera, like a GoPro, could be a little easier to handle as you will already know how to run your camera. These might also be cheaper, but these types of drones will not allow you to see what your drone sees as many that have their own built-in camera allow you to do. 

2. Read the Instruction Manual and Learn to Use Your Drone

It’s no secret that everybody hates to read the instruction manual, but with something like a drone, it is important to know how to use it before you ever try flying it. The instruction manual will have everything you need to know about your drone and give you the basics of how to use it. It will also answer any questions you might have, and let you know what your drone can and can’t do. This could save you valuable time, as you will avoid having to learn everything the hard way. The last you want to do is wreck your new drone because you did not know how to fly it correctly!

3. Learn All of the Local, State, and Federal Drone Rules and Regulations

With all of the popularity of drones, there has been a lot of new rules and regulations on how, where, and who can pilot one. For example, here in the United States, anything weighing 0.55 to 55 pounds requires a Federal Aviation Administration registration. It is a simple process, but one that must be done to legally fly a drone of that size.

You must also be aware of where you can and cannot fly your drone. Places like airports are obviously no-fly zones, but there are others as well. Every country and province have varying laws, so it is best to study and learn any and all rules and regulations before you put your drone in the air. 

4. Edit Your Photos After Flying

Capturing the images from a drone is only half the battle, and you should make it a habit of going through and processing all of your photos after a flight. Whether it is color correcting images that you are unhappy with, or editing something out of a shot, editing the photos from your drone can be just as important as what you are doing when you are flying. 

While drone images look great, they need editing in order to really make them shine. This entire process can take just as much practice and learning as flying and capturing the images takes. Even if you already have experience in photo editing, editing images taken from a drone high in the sky are often very different than other types of photography. While it may be tedious work, every good drone photographer carefully edits all of their images!

5. Have the Proper Gear and Accessories

Just like any professional camera, a drone has different gear and accessories that you may want to bring to make your shooting much more enjoyable. Some of these include extra batteries, spare propellers and propeller guards, and empty SD cards. These are just some of the basic gear items that you might want to consider bringing whenever you fly your drone, as each one could come in handy should you need them. Once you got the basics put together, you can start to expand and acquire more advanced gear and accessories for your photoshoots. 

6. Properly Prepare Before a Flight

Before sending your drone off into the air, it would be a good idea to take a note out of pilots’ notebook and go over a pre-flight checklist. A simple checklist will ensure that you not only have everything you need in order to fly but that you and your drone will be able to fly safely. Some things to check before taking off could be the fly zone, weather conditions, surroundings, drone settings, and battery life. A quick check of some of these factors could not only save you a lot of time and trouble, it could also save you from costly damages to you and your drone!

Final Thoughts

Drone photography can be a great way to expand on your photography and open up an entirely new world of possibilities. While it may seem like a challenge to get started, it doesn’t have to be. By following these simple tips, even a beginner can hit the skies with confidence and come home with some incredible images and a newfound love for drones and ariel photography. 

Real Estate Photography With A Drone!

The importance of professional photography for success in real-estate

There is no way to go around it – photography sells real estate! Beautiful, engaging, professional photographs attract potential buyers, exude quality and virtually guarantee success!

According to recent studies by the National Association of Realtors, homes with professional photographs sell 30% faster. Additional photographs increase your chances as well – a house with one photo spends more than 70 days on the market, while one with at least 10 photos spends less than half of it. Professional quality real estate photographs also raise the perceived value of property – houses in the $200k-$1million range sold for $7k more, on average, than those with lower quality photos.

For these reasons and more, investing in professional real-estate photography is a no-brainer!

What sets drone photography apart?

Aerial photography via drone opens up a new and exciting world for real-estate photography. New angles, better views, unique compositions – these are all possible with the help of drone technology. Drone photographs offer humans a radically new perspective on their subject as it allows us to see things and places from angles that are otherwise inaccessible to our own eyesight.

So, by employing professional drone photography in your real-estate marketing efforts you can easily capitalize on this factor of uniqueness. Not only this but you will show potential customers you’re in line with the latest hot technology, you’re invested in always improving your activity and reaching new heights and ultimately – show that you mean business.

Unique types of real-estate photos that drone photography can deliver

What drone photography delivers today could only be achieved in the past when real-estate agencies or developers hired expensive helicopters. Now, all that great content is more accessible than ever.

First and foremost, through drone photography you can create and deliver an impressive aerial tour of the property. This gives a holistic overview while still allowing us to focus on areas that are more interesting or beautiful. It will surely delight any potential buyer.

Another option is the classic cardinal stills. This process means dividing the 360 view of the property in 8 equal parts, then taking a still shot from each of the 8 resulting points, the first one being perfectly aligned with the front of the house.

A unique type of presentation that can be done through drones is the inside to outside presentation. In this scenario the drone starts inside the property and is flown in a panning shot , exiting the property and flying away, up in the air. Imagine it as a kind of zooming out on the house, starting with the interior and finishing with an all-encompassing, beautiful shot of the exterior.

Through professional drone photography you can easily highlight features of the real estate property quite inaccessible otherwise. Does it have a cool, large pool, with a unique shape? No problem! Is the property located near a breath-taking marina or a hot beach you’ve got it! Is the property surrounded by a beautiful pine forest that offers fresh air, comfort and intimacy – highlight it with ease!

These are just a couple of the exciting options at your disposal when contracting the services of a professional drone real-estate photography company like us. There are many more cool features we can share with you. For that, just send us an email at hhphotography@dronephotographywi.com or give us a call. We’d be happy to cater to your needs with everything from classic promos to unique, customized presentations tailor made for you!

6 Simple Tips for Drone Photography for Beginners

Thanks to rapidly advancing technology, it has never been easier to capture amazing aerial images and video of the world’s most beautiful places. Even a very basic drone can produce some of the most breathtaking photography you have ever seen. And, just like many could have predicted, a drone that is basically a remote-controlled toy for those obsessed with photos and videos is just as much fun to fly as it is to capture images. 

When you are just getting started into drone photography, it might seem a little overwhelming. Luckily we have compiled a list of some great tips to not only help you get a good start with a brand new drone but excel in drone photography!

1. Pick a drone that will suit your needs and your skills

As you probably already know, there are hundreds if not thousands of different drones out on the market to choose from. So what kind of drone should you consider getting for yourself? There are two basic types of drones, those with built-in cameras, and those that are not. Drones with built-in cameras are usually larger, and their cameras are often unable to be upgraded. This means that you are stuck with whatever quality (good or bad) the camera gives you. 

Other drones that allow you to attach your own camera, like a GoPro, could be a little easier to handle as you will already know how to run your camera. These might also be cheaper, but these types of drones will not allow you to see what your drone sees as many that have their own built-in camera allow you to do. 

2. Read the Instruction Manual and Learn to Use Your Drone

It’s no secret that everybody hates to read the instruction manual, but with something like a drone, it is important to know how to use it before you ever try flying it. The instruction manual will have everything you need to know about your drone and give you the basics of how to use it. It will also answer any questions you might have, and let you know what your drone can and can’t do. This could save you valuable time, as you will avoid having to learn everything the hard way. The last you want to do is wreck your new drone because you did not know how to fly it correctly!

3. Learn All of the Local, State, and Federal Drone Rules and Regulations

With all of the popularity of drones, there has been a lot of new rules and regulations on how, where, and who can pilot one. For example, here in the United States, anything weighing 0.55 to 55 pounds requires a Federal Aviation Administration registration. It is a simple process, but one that must be done to legally fly a drone of that size.

You must also be aware of where you can and cannot fly your drone. Places like airports are obviously no-fly zones, but there are others as well. Every country and province have varying laws, so it is best to study and learn any and all rules and regulations before you put your drone in the air. 

4. Edit Your Photos After Flying

Capturing the images from a drone is only half the battle, and you should make it a habit of going through and processing all of your photos after a flight. Whether it is color correcting images that you are unhappy with, or editing something out of a shot, editing the photos from your drone can be just as important as what you are doing when you are flying. 

While drone images look great, they need editing in order to really make them shine. This entire process can take just as much practice and learning as flying and capturing the images takes. Even if you already have experience in photo editing, editing images taken from a drone high in the sky are often very different from other types of photography. While it may be tedious work, every good drone photographer carefully edits all of their images!

5. Have the Proper Gear and Accessories

Just like any professional camera, a drone has different gear and accessories that you may want to bring to make your shooting much more enjoyable. Some of these include extra batteries, spare propellers and propeller guards, and empty SD cards. These are just some of the basic gear items that you might want to consider bringing whenever you fly your drone, as each one could come in handy should you need them. Once you get the basics put together, you can start to expand and acquire more advanced gear and accessories for your photoshoots. 

6. Properly Prepare Before a Flight

Before sending your drone off into the air, it would be a good idea to take a note out of pilots’ notebook and go over a pre-flight checklist. A simple checklist will ensure that you not only have everything you need in order to fly but that you and your drone will be able to fly safely. Some things to check before taking off could be the fly zone, weather conditions, surroundings, drone settings, and battery life. A quick check of some of these factors could not only save you a lot of time and trouble, it could also save you from costly damages to you and your drone!

Final Thoughts

Drone photography can be a great way to expand on your photography and open up an entirely new world of possibilities. While it may seem like a challenge to get started, it doesn’t have to be. By following these simple tips, even a beginner can hit the skies with confidence and come home with some incredible images and a newfound love for drones and aerial photography. 

100 Surprisingly Helpful Drone Photography Hobbyist And Business Tips In 2020

Take Time To Learn The Basics

Learning the basics is essential. Whether you want to be a professional or impress your friends. You need to learn how to use different settings on your drone camera, terminology, and modes you can shoot in.

Terminology

ISO

“In Digital Photography ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The same principles apply as in film photography – the lower the number the less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer the grain. … By choosing a higher ISO you can use a faster shutter speed to freeze the movement.” –More Info

Aperture

“The opening in a photographic lens that admits the light” – Merriam-Webster

Shutter Speed

“A camera component that allows light to enter by opening and closing an aperture” – Merriam-Webster

Exposure

“A photograph’s exposure determines how light or dark an image will appear when it’s been captured by your camera. Believe it or not, this is determined by just three camera settings: aperture, ISO and shutter speed (the “exposure triangle”). Mastering their use is an essential part of developing an intuition for photography.” – More Info

Grain/Noise

“Just like with sound, where noise refers to auditory disruptions, in photography, the term digital noise refers to visual distortion. Noise looks like tiny colored pixels or specks in your photograph, and sometimes resembles the grain that you may see in film photography. You will likely notice noise more in photographs taken in low light situations. Noise can distort the visual detail of your photo, making it something that photographers try to avoid. Several factors can affect the level of noise, including sensor size, higher ISO settings, and long exposures, to name a few.” – More Info

Bokeh

“the blurred quality or effect seen in the out-of-focus portion of a photograph taken with a narrow depth of field” – Merriam-Webster

Focus/Focal Point

“the main object or interest, or the attention given something” – Cambridge

Depth Of Field

“the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects that give an image judged to be in focus in a camera.” – Oxford

Drone Photography Modes

 Single

Single Photo Mode is the most basic and preset mode on your drones camera. It takes one photo when clicking the picture button on your remote.

Multiple/Burst

Multiple Photo Mode on your drone camera takes multiple images in a timed interval.

AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing)

(Auto Exposure Bracketing) is a mode I use all the time to take multiple photos at different exposures in order to give me multiple options when editing.

HDR

High Dynamic Range Photography takes multiple photos at different exposures and merges them together to lighten the shadows and darken the highlights resulting in a better image.

Timed Shot

Timed shot is when your camera is set on a timer before taking a photo.

Pano

Pano Mode is short for panoramic imagery. There are several types of panoramas you can take with a drone

  • Interactive 360 / Sphere – Great for an interactive image on Facebook and Google Maps
  • Tiny Planet 360/ Sphere – Great for a different perspective on drone photography. Works on all social media
  • 180 – ultra wide photograph
  • Vertical – perfect for capturing tall buildings in an photo
  • Horizontal – Wide photograph but not as wide as the 180

Learn Your Camera Settings

Exposure

ISO

Higher ISO will make your image brighter but will also result in more noise. Lower ISO will result in a darker and less noisy image

Aperture

Large Aperture will create a brighter image allowing more light into the cameras sensor, bokeh, and a narrow focal plane.

A small aperture will create a darker image, less bokeh and broader focal plane.

Shutter

Higher Shutter Speed will take the image faster causing less time for the light to reach the sensor making a darker image. This is good for capturing something moving fast.

Lower Shutter Speed will keep the shutter open longer taking a longer image allowing for more light to reach the sensor. This will make a brighter image and is good for taking night photos, star photos, firework photography, light-trails, or any other form of long exposure photography.

This can also cause your image to blur especially if its windy out.

Learn To Shoot In Manual

Shooting in manual is a bit more difficult then shooting in automatic but the results are so worth it.

If you limit yourself to automatic shooting you will never reach the full capabilities of your drones camera.

Here are a few different things you should know with manual photography.

Exposure

Exposure Triangle

Exposure Triangle is the Balance of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to capture the desired photographic result.

Exposure Compensation

Exposure Compensation is used to darken and brighten your whole image using the

-2EV, -1EV, 0, +1EV, +2EV settings on the camera. The + settings make the image brighter the – settings make it darker.

Exposure Assistant

Auto

Auto mode automatically adjusts the ISO, Shutter speed, and Aperture. to take the cameras idea of the “best image”

A/Mode

Aperture Priority Mode locks the set Aperture and adjusts the shutter speed and ISO to automatically balance the photo while keeping the desired bokah or focal length locked.

S/Mode

Shutter Priority Mode keeps the set shutter speed of the camera locked and automatically adjusts the ISO and Aperture to balance the image.

M/Mode

Manual Mode is completely under your control. the camera will take whatever image you set it to take. this is the only mode where you can unlock the full potential of your drones camera.

Overexposure Warning

This is a setting you can apply to your preview screen. When it is turned on your camera display screen will show black and white lines over any part of the image that is overexposed.

This is good to use if you are a beginner.

Histogram

Histogram is great to use in order to tell if your image is over or under exposed.

If the peak on the graph is on the left side your image may be underexposed.

If the peak on the graph is on the right side then the image is probably overexposed.

Focus

Focus Assistant

AF/MF assist when turned on will focus the image when you tap on the display picture. Making it easy to focus.

Focus Peaking

The highest contrast point on the screen will be highlighted in bright red if AF/MF is turned on. Another way to aid focusing on the image.

Shoot In Raw Format

Shooting in raw format will capture a lot more detail in your image. This will create a noisier image due to how much information is in the photo. However, all the extra detail gives you a lot more editing potential.

If you only shoot in Jpeg you will not have enough details to edit your image like a pro.

JPEG

Jpeg photography is the most common way of shooting due to the small file size, most of the editing is already done for you, it being a preset on the camera, and how easy it is to send an image this small.

RAW

Raw Photography will give you a grainy / noisy image that looks bland. This is a good thing!!! You have full control on how the image can be edited. Allowing for a lot more flexibility on how the image can look in the end.

After your done editing you can export in Jpeg in order to downsize the file to send to people or upload to social media too.

Utilize The Thirds Grid Overlay For Composition

Rule Of Thirds

Rule of thirds is a rule involving a grid just like the one below. You want the center of attention to be in one of the four inner corners where the lines intersect.

This gives you the best composition in your image.

Stick To A Lower ISO

ISO 100

If you can stick to a low ISO like ISO 100 this will give you the least noisiest image and should be how you shoot most pictures.

However, most modern cameras can go all the way up to ISO 1600 without noticeable grain in the photo.

Take Advantage Of Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB)

Using Auto Exposure Bracketing can take many images for you between exposures. This will give you dark images that preserve details in the highlight areas like the sky. Then the bright images will save details in the shadows.

When you get into Lightroom you can Merge several images together so that way you can have details from the highlights and the shadows.

Create Higher Resolution Images With Panoramic Shots

This is a technique similar to the one above where you take multiple images from a slightly different angle and stitching them together in Lightroom.

This will give you a nice wide angle image with a ton of detail.

Experiment Both Aspect Ratios (16:9 or 4:3)

“When it comes to digital photography, you need to pay some attention to the aspect ratio. Many digital cameras and camcorders are now shooting and filming in 16:9. This may be detrimental if you do not have a television or computer monitor that supports a 16:9 aspect ratio. If you are simply shooting still photos, then you want to ensure that your digital camera has an aspect ratio of 4:3.

The aspect ratio you choose for digital photography will have an impact on the size of your pictures. If you want to shoot 4×6 photos, then you should use an aspect ratio of 3:2. However, if you are looking at printing 5×7 or 8×10 photos, you want to use the 4:3 aspect ratio.”-More Info

Seek Out Symmetry

Finding Symmetrical objects, buildings, and landscapes will create a very pleasing image to the viewer. Symmetry is very pleasing to the eye and will look awesome in your drone photos.

Look For Patterns

Look for patterns to step up your photography game. A good example of patterns that look really good in drone photography would be cornfields or solar panel fields.

Play With Lights And Shadows

Playing around with shadows and lighting while taking photos.

You can create beautiful composition in an image by adding shadows created by the sun being behind a building. this can make for a much better image then a photo without any shadows.

Just try many different angles with your camera and different times of the day to see what it looks like.

Take A Drone “Selfie”

Drones don’t have to always fly super high.

They can fly right in front of you and hover. Then you can put the camera on a timer mode and capture a funny or creative selfie of yourself.

Another way you can use this would be to flu your drone off of a cliff and photograph yourself on a cliff for a really cool tourist selfie.

Maximize Your Depth of Field

maximize your depth of field by using a high aperture causing the near and far objects to be in focus in your photo.

This is great for photos of mountains.

Use Tripod Mode

Tripod mode is exactly what it sounds like. Your drone will hover in place as still as possible to replicate a camera on a tripod.

Use this mode for slower shutter speeds.

Look For A Focal Point

A focal point is a center of attention.

If you took a photo of the river and trees it would look kinda boring.

However, if you took a photo of a boat on the river with trees in the background the boat would be your point of interest.

Be Prepared To Improvise

You might be flying and someone decides to walk under your drone. FAA law states you cannot fly over anyone who isn’t participating with consent.

In this instance safely fly your drone away from the person until they leave the area you were going to shoot.

Another instance you might have to improvise would be if a plane was flying below 400 feet in an area it would not normally do this.

This is very serious as you don’t want to collide with the plane. I would recommend lowering your drone as quickly as possible while being safe and alert of other obstacles.

Check The UAV Forecast

Check the flying weather to make sure you are properly prepared for cold weather, heat, wind, ice, rain, snow.

I recommend using UAV Forecast to get the current weather in your area.

Work With The Weather

Working with the weather means if it’s mid-day and super bright out to use a ND Filter to darken your camera so that its not over exposed.

If it’s windy plan on flying in a open area and do not expect the drones battery to last long since it is fighting the wind.

If it’s grey and dull outside then try not to include the sky in your image or use a sky replacement app like Luminar 4

It’s Snowing!!!

If it’s snowing but not to bad you can fly still!!!

The snow might catch on the drones camera lens and block it.

Big Snowflakes look really cool in photos.

It’s Foggy Outside Today?

Fog can make for some awesome photos. However, it does limit your view of the drone and potential planes that you could crash into. Just be extra careful flying in foggy weather.

When It’s Too Windy Do Not Fly!

Wind is okay to fly in as long as it’s not strong enough to control your drone. If you want to keep your drone in tact and mot injure anyone I highly recommend to be considerate of the wind speeds for the day.

Disturbing Wildlife Will Not Be Worth The Shot

Disturbing wildlife is not cool and will result in a lot of hatred on social media as well as a hefty fine from the FAA and the suspension of a licence. Do not harass any form of animal. Respect the wildlife.

Think Foregrounds

Foregrounds are huge in photography and can add a lot more meaning to your image. This is a good time to mention not being afraid to fly your drone low to the ground or close to the river to add some foreground to the image.

Alberta, Canada

Consider The Sky

Sky is very important in your image!!! Even if the sky looks gross don’t be afraid to taker the image you can always use a sky replacement software like Luminar 4 or even swapping it out in Photoshop. If you don’t want to replace the sky then just shoot at a downward angle hiding the sky or even Top-Down photos.

Look For Lines

Leading lines to your subject make the image wayyy better. Also photographing just lines like in a corn field makes for a good image too.

Capture Movement

Capturing movement such as cars driving, water flowing, or clouds moving. These can be captured with slow shutter speed creating a motion blur. this causes a very artistic look in your images and is known as long exposure photography.

Golden Hour

Golden Hour is shortly after sunrise and right before sunset. The position of the sun lights everything up with a beautiful golden look.

Blue Hour

Blue hour is right before sunrise and right after sunset giving a twilight blue glow to the sky

Think About Horizons

This is an amateur mistake to take a photo that for some reason the horizon is not level and they forget to straighten it in Lightroom. Straighten the image as soon as its in your editing app. I personally do this for every photo.

Change Your Point of View

Look for as many angles as you can possibly take of the subject. you can always decide not to use images later on. The more angles you capture the more creative you can be and the more options you’ll have to choose from in the end.

Make Something Out Of Nothing

Sometimes you’ll turn around your drone and see something like a bunch of trees. Don’t look at it as just trees and look for a creative way to capture them and make a cool image out of it. I’ve done this with Ice, a group of birds, boats, and trees.

Fly Your Drone Even When You Don’t Think There’s Any Point

You’ll be surprised some of my best work happens on the days where I fly my drone not knowing what i’m going to photograph. Just go out there and have fun.

Learn To Fly In ATTI Mode

“If you train in the ATTI-Mode, you will become a good drone pilot later. The reason for this is that all auxiliary modules are switched off in the ATTI Mode (or they are not active working in the background).

In the ATTI Mode the drones keep their altitude through barometric pressure. The position won´t be stabilized using GPS or Glonass, as it is the case in most other modes. That means if the drone goes with the wind, it probably won´t keep the same position, you will often have to readjust and so you will develop a feeling for flying.” – more info

This mode is needed to fly close to objects like through trees or in your house.

Think Ahead And Decide How To Process The Scene Later

This means shoot for the edit. Take photos that you plan on editing a certain way, merging, stitching, 360’s, etc…

Scout For New Locations With Google Maps

Google maps lest you see landscapes and structures in the area before you drive there allowing you to scout for locations before you waste time driving around and searching.

What Is Composition

“Composition in photography can be defined as positioning the objects in the frame in such a way that the viewer’s eye is automatically drawn to the most interesting or significant area of the capture.” – Definition

Visualize Before Take Off

Plan where you’re going to photograph from the ground in order to save your drones battery. I usually look for buildings that stand out to me from the road and plan on the flight plan before ever flying my drone in the air.

Don’t Let The Initial Images Fool You

Taking a photo that you think is really cool can sometimes result in a very boring or uninteresting photo in the editing room. Do not delete the photo!!! editing can do very powerful things and can bring back the beauty that you recall from being there in person.

Learn The Focus And Metering Buttons

Making sure your image is focused properly will insure your photo takes a nice sharp image. Auto Focus will focus on whatever point on the screen you tap on.

In order to use MF you have to turn it on in the settings and then switch it from AF to MF. Then you should turn on the Peak Focus Threshold.

Peak Focus Threshold will create more red lines on the image the more you are in focus.

Consider Getting A Polarizing Lens

“A polarizing filter or polarising filter (see spelling differences) is often placed in front of the camera lens in photography in order to darken skies, manage reflections, or suppress glare from the surface of lakes or the sea. Since reflections (and sky-light) tend to be at least partially linearly-polarized, a linear polarizer can be used to change the balance of the light in the photograph. The rotational orientation of the filter is adjusted for the preferred artistic effect. For modern cameras, a circular polarizer (product labeling abbreviation: CPL) is typically used; this comprises firstly a linear polarizer which performs the artistic function just described, followed by a quarter-wave plate which further transforms the now-linearly polarized light into circularly-polarised light before entering the camera. This additional step avoids problems with auto-focus and light-metering sensors within some cameras, which otherwise may not function reliably with a simple linear polariser.” – Wikipedia

I personally use a polarizing lens to make the colors look a lot better in my image.

Don’t Fly Too High

Everyone when they first get there drone thinks about flying as high as possible. This can result in a cool photo but think about the details.

The higher you fly the less detail you will have in the image.

Not to mention all the amazing photos you can capture on the ground or close to the ground.

Play With The Color

Mess around with colors. In the summer time when the trees and grass are green everything can look “too Green”. To balance this out look for more colorfully things to take photos of.

In the Winter time everything can look “too white”. I recommend taking photos when the sky is blue so that the blue helps balance the photo more.

Compensate For Parallax

Parallax occurs when different viewing angles create a completely different image.

Using your drone from high up at about a 45 degree angle can cause the background to be expansive.

This will result in an image that looks much higher up then just taking a photo directly above the subject.

Learn How To Avoid Obstacles

In My first few months flying my drone I learned what to look out for and managed to not crash my drone for 5 months straight.

But then…. I planned for some trees in an otherwise open field. I for whatever reason was not paying attention and backed my drone directly into the tree.

It was stuck about 30 feet up. I managed to get it down with a rope and a metal piece.

The point is do not get overly confident in your skills and always pay attention.

Most drones have sensors to stop crashes. They are not perfect and do not sense small objects like sticks, leaves, power lines, etc…

Drone Law?

FAA Part 107 Regulations

The’re are a few Drone Laws you should be aware of. First of all is the FAA’s Laws. These are the most common laws that apply throughout the whole United States of America. – FAA

State Laws

Then there are State Laws that govern each states drone usage. State Laws should be available online.

Local Laws

After that is the Local Laws that govern the city, town, municipality you are flying in. You might have to contact the city or township in the area in order to know these laws.

Since drone flying is relatively new to most areas they don’t publish laws in every city yet.

Try Direct Overhead Photos Top-Down

Top Down Photos are among my favorite photo types to do.

This style works awesome parallel lines, cars, trains, roads, and symmetrical photos.

It’s super easy to do just fly above your subject and point your camera all the way down.

Learn To Shoot At Angles

I know i talk about angles a lot and that’s because it is super important.

Many different angles gives you so much to choose from in the editing room as well as causing you to get creative and think outside the box.

The Eye of A Designer

Watch out for Architecture, lines, symmetry, texture, shapes, patterns, and colors.

Capture A Good Image Without Knowing Anything

If this is too much for you and you only want to have fun taking photos without getting technical then don’t be afraid to use P (AUTO) mode. It will still give you great photos.

Dealing With Drone Shake And Shooting At Night

Shooting long exposures at night time will cause the cameras shutter to be open for multiple seconds.

When this happens even with the slightest wind your drone will shake causing a blurry image.

I recommend taking long exposures in the lowest wind possible and not doing a shutter speed longer then three seconds long.

Keep in mind the higher up you go the more wind there will be.

It’s Too Bright Outside? Neutral density (ND) Filter

ND Filters are amazing!!!! When its too bright outside an ND filter is basically sunglasses for your drone. It darkens the image so that you don’t lose detail from changing your drones settings to much.

I use personally use ND 400, 800, and 1000 filters. The higher the number the darker the lens.

Create Light Trails? Long Exposures

“Long-exposure, time-exposure, or slow-shutter photography involves using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements.” – Wikipedia

If you’ve ever seen light trails on the road in a photo where cars would usually be its created using this type of photography. Slow shutter settings capture movement in photos.

Capture The Whole Landscape??? Panoramas

When your building, subject, or landscape is really big then you can do a few different things.

One of them is using the drones ability to take panoramas.

These are all great ways to capture the whole image in detail

  • Interactive 360 / Sphere – Great for an interactive image on Facebook and Google Maps
  • Tiny Planet 360/ Sphere – Great for a different perspective on drone photography. Works on all social media
  • 180 – ultra wide photograph
  • Vertical – perfect for capturing tall buildings in an photo
  • Horizontal – Wide photograph but not as wide as the 180

Another way is to take photos close by each other and stitch them together in editing. Then you can create a custom Panorama.

Watch Out For Airplanes And Airports

This one is super important!!!

Not only can you break your drone from crashing into a plane you can also end up taking down the plane.

Do not fly within a 5 mile radius from an airport, over 400 feet above the tallest structure in the area your flying in or inside a military training ground.

If you hear a plane or a helicopter then fly your drone lower if you can as quickly as possible. Always be alert and keep your drone in your visual line of sight.

How To Deal With Police

When flying your drone you may be confronted by police. Remember they are just trying to do there job.

If one of them confronts you stay calm, answer there questions, provide identification, provide your licence, and do not get smart with them or talk down to them. Ask the,m politely if you can land your drone for everyone’s safety.

They’re used to dealing with people doing things like flying in peoples backyards, spying, possibly flying too high, or even flying too close to an airport.

Some officers might not even know the proper drone laws and might give you a warning or ticket for doing something illegal when you were not doing anything wrong. Do not worry you can just fight the ticket in court and get it thrown out. Never try correcting the officer that will just anger him.

How To Deal With Drone Police

Drone Police is a phrase used to describe people who try telling you your doing things illegally when you are not.

You can do one of two things for this. Inform them of the correct laws or just ignore them.

If they confront you in public and act irrational then call your local police department.

Social Media Critics

Social media critics is a tough one for a lot of people. You post your photo and people start harassing your editing style or just talking down on your work/you.

This is a good thing for a couple of reasons

First reason is the extra comments will cause your work to be seen by more people.

The second reason is you have enough exposure that you have people who don’t like your work.

Either ignore them or respond to them. Responding to them will create more comments and more comments leads to more exposure on social media.

What Is The Exposure Triangle?

Exposure Triangle is the Balance of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to capture the desired photographic result. This is used a lot by photographers to understand how to set their camera.

Use A Quick Enough Shutter Speed

Fast Shutter speed is great for capturing a sharp image of a moving object. The faster the object is moving the faster the shutter speed you will need

My Drone Broke Now What Do I Do?

If you are going to do drone photography as a professional you will need a backup drone. Your drone may malfunction, land in water, drop out of the sky, get shot out of the air, crash into something, get stuck in a tree, or even get hit by something.

I have a Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Pro Platinum, and a DJI Phantom 3 Pro.

I recommend having insurance on your drone in case anything happens too. I purchased my first drone with Geek Squad Protection.

It was a Mavic 2 Zoom and when i took it down to Chicago I was flying it and the camera quit working. I was able to exchange it for a new one.

Then my second drone said it needed to calibrate on the computer and refused to calibrate completely. I exchanged this one too.

How Many Batteries Should I Bring?

Batteries on a good day (not to hot and not to cold) will last about 25-30 min each. On a windy, hot, or cold day the battery will last about 20-25 min each.

As a professional I recommend having at least 3-4 batteries. this will give you between 1 hour to 2 hours of flight time.

Fall Time Photography Tips

Fall time last year in Beloit, Wisconsin lasted about 1 week before the colors fell from the trees.

If you want to capture all the beautiful colors in the fall time to watch the trees and get out there and take photos as soon as you can.

Use Small Items To Show Scale

Compare a small item to the massive landscape to show scale. For example a car next to mountains to showcase how big they are compared to the car.

Architecture Photography

As a drone photographer architecture is perfect to photograph. I especially prefer historic architecture. The old styles make for some awesome shots.

How Get Social Media Reactions

This one is by far one of my best tips.

Take photos of all of the things listed if you want social media reactions. People love new things, horrific things, and places that have a spot in there heart.

  • Photos of known locations
  • Photos of tourist attractions
  • Capture images of places that people have strong emotional ties too (memories)
  • New events, buildings, companies, anything new!
  • Aftermath of storm damage, fires, accidents, etc…

Getting A Company To Recognize You

In order to capture the attention of a company you want to work with you have to do these things

  • Follow everyone who works at the company
  • Study the content they like, share, and comment on.
  • Figure out how you can help them for free.
  • Ask them if they would like your help
  • If they ignore you find a different way you can help them without asking them
  • Stay active on social media
  • Create so much free content for them that they will either recommend you to someone else or hire you.

I have done this with multiple companies that have hired me for drone photography. I found out what projects they were involved in and started taking drone photos for free for them. At first I was ignored but I kept being persistent. Not only did I end up getting work doing this I also got better as a drone photographer

Brand Awareness As A Drone Photographer

Brand Awareness is the goal as any business owner. Ill give you my advice on how to gain free exposure

Facebook

  • Build a Facebook business page
  • Join photography groups, construction groups, city groups, state groups, etc…
  • Share images to groups
  • Build your own group
  • Build your Facebook page to 5000 Friends
  • Share images on your person Facebook page
  • Post consistently 1-3 times a day
  • Interact with comments

Instagram

  • Post consistently 1-3 times a day
  • Use hashtags relevant
  • Interact with comments

Linkedin

  • Connect with everyone you can
  • Connect with everyone in the area you want to work with
  • Post consistently 1-3 times a day
  • Interact with comments

Pinterest

  • Post consistently 1-3 times a day

Snapchat

  • Post consistently 1-3 times a day

Youtube

  • Create videos to help your ideal client
  • Document your journey (vlogging)
  • Post consistently 1 to 7 times a week
  • Interact with comments
  • Share on Pinterest, Facebook, Linkedin, etc…

Blogs

  • Create blogs that are helpful
  • Use your images
  • Make blogs about your industry to help people

Google Photos

  • Set up a Google Businesses Account
  • Upload photos to your Business account
  • Set up a Google Local Guide Account
  • Upload photos to every location you take a photo of

Timing Is So Important

A huge part of photography is timing. You have to be in the right spot at the right time.

Waiting for the weather to be just right or the sun to be at a perfect position are all part of a photographers job.

Be patient and always prepared to take photos at any moment. This is why I take my camera everywhere I go.

Focus On The Scenery

The scenery matters. Before taking an image think about the background, foreground, sunlight, weather, sky, and even how the land looks.

Shoot In Burst Mode

“Burst mode, also called continuous shooting mode, sports mode or continuous high speed mode, is a shooting mode in still cameras. In burst mode, several photographs are captured in quick succession by either pressing the shutter button or holding it down.”Wikipedia

This is a good mode to use if your trying to photograph things that are moving fast. Giving you multiple photos to choose from in case some of them turn out bury.

Dress For The Weather

This isn’t addressing your drone. This is talking about you.

Be smart and plan for cold weather, rain, or heat if you plan on flying the drone that day.

Planning ahead will allow you to stay out longer and take more photos without heat exhaustion, frostbite, or just getting drenched in rain.

Brighten Up Your Phone Screen

When its sunny outside you will have a hard time seeing the screen. This is simply fixed with brightening your phone screen.

When its not sunny having a bright screen will aid in capturing the most accurate photo.

Protecting your Drone With A Case

If you set your drone down on a seat in your car and have to stop quickly your drone will fly off the seat. Keeping it in a hard case will protect the drones gimbal and the drone.

A hard case can also make it very convenient to carry your drone and all of its accessories.

Car Charges Will Save Your Life!!!

They make Drone Battery Charges for your car and it is a must have as a drone photographer especially if you do not have many batteries.

Using Your Histogram

Histogram is great to use in order to tell if your image is over or under exposed.

If the peak on the graph is on the left side your image may be underexposed.

If the peak on the graph is on the right side then the image is probably overexposed.

Focus Stacking

“Focus stacking is a digital image processing technique which combines multiple images taken at different focus distances to give a resulting image with a greater depth of field than any of the individual source images.”-Wikipedia

Stuck In A Tree OMG!!!!

What to do if you get your drone stuck in a tree. It has happened to me in the past and has happened to some of the best drone photographers

  • Climb the tree
  • Shake the tree branch
  • Use a ladder
  • Use a very long stick
  • Use a robe and something slightly heavy
  • As a last resort call the fire dept

Spare Parts Are Absolutely Necessary

Accidents happen and you may brake a propeller or crack a lens.

This is why you should have spare parts with you in case something happens you can swap it out and continue flying your drone.

How To Not Be Bombarded By Security?

If you are taking pictures where a company is who has a security team. This is a simple one to overcome.

Find a location next the the business were you can still get a decent view of the drone and take off from there.

Public parking lots and the side of roads are my go to places for takeoff.

Ways To Sell Drone Photos

If you regularly upload your images to social media occasionally people may contact you to use your photos. I charge 75$ per image that the plan on using for any and all marketing purposes.

Then I email them the JPEG photo with a statement saying they can use the photo for whatever marketing purpose they intend after payment is received.

Who Can Use Drone Photography

Construction / Demolition Companies

  • Great for before and after photos
  • Time lapses
  • Marketing material

Real Estate Agencies / Realtors / Brokers

  • Houses for sale
  • Land for sale
  • Commercial properties for sale
  • Businesses for sale

Hotels / Tourism

  • Historic locations
  • Hotels
  • Tourist attractions
  • Golf courses
  • Restaurants
  • Country Clubs

Private investigators

  • Aiding in workman comp cases

Insurance Agencies

  • Fire damage
  • Roof damage
  • Storm Damage
  • Flood Damage

Farmers

  • Estimating soil condition
  • Planting future crops
  • Spotting infections and pests in crops
  • Overall crop surveillance
  • Livestock monitoring

GOVERNMENT

  • Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Fire Department
  • Police
  • Parks and Recreations
  • Highway construction
  • Economic Development

News

  • Breaking news
  • New Businesses
  • Fire, water, storm damage, etc…

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

High Dynamic Range Photography takes multiple photos at different exposures and merges them together to lighten the shadows and darken the highlights resulting in a better image.

Drone Photography Pricing

Drone Photography Pricing is a difficult topic to cover. Here are all the factors to keep in mind when creating a price.

Make sure you charge enough most people don’t compensate themselves enough.

A professional should start out at a minimum of 200$ per hour.

  • Equipment
  • Skill
  • Experience
  • Drone insurance
  • Aviation Insurance
  • Licenced Professional
  • Knowledge
  • Time
  • Driving expense
  • Brand
  • Speed of delivery
  • Cost of operation

Contrasting Colors

“Complementary colors are pairs of colors which, when combined or mixed, cancel each other out by producing a gray scale color like white or black. When placed next to each other, they create the strongest contrast for those two colors. Complementary colors may also be called “opposite colors.””Wikipedia

How Shadows Can Up Your Game

Taking a photo with shadows can create a whole new photo.

Try photographing the same building at different times of the day and see how the photos look with shadows.

What Is Juxtaposition?

“Juxtaposition is an act or instance of placing two elements close together or side by side. This is often done in order to compare/contrast the two, to show similarities or differences, etc.” –Wikipedia

Juxtaposition can be great for drone photography.

What Is HYPERLAPSE Drone Photography

“Hyperlapse is a technique in time-lapse photography that allows the photographer to create motion shots. In its simplest form, a hyperlapse is achieved by manually moving the camera a short distance between each shot. The first film using the hyperlapse technique dates to 1995.” –Wikipedia

Hyperlapse photography can make for some really cool drone photos

Texture Can Make A Huge Difference

Taking photos of textured things such as sand, rocks, buildings, trees, etc.. Will enhance your photos by a long shot.

I prefer adding a little bit of texture to most of my photography.

Drone Photography Is Art

Yes that is right!!!

We are artists.

That means we can enter into photo art shows and potentially win some money!!!

Photography is an art form in itself and not easy to do. Then your editing style is your unique perspective.

Think like an artist. Be different and creative!!!!

Clean Your Lens And Sensor

This is one i did not know about when I first started.

If you decide to take long exposures and haven’t cleaned your lens it will show up in your photograph.

Buy A Multi Battery Charger

What!!! This is a thing and makes it so convenient to charge all your batteries in a short amount of time.

Beware Of The Small Obstacles Like Tree Limbs And Power Lines

These are small enough that the drone will not sense them.

That mean that your drone will not stop flying towards them with obstacle avoidance activated.

Just be very alert of your surroundings and be careful no matter where you are.

Flying On A Plane

Flying on a plan it is important that you take your drone batteries in your carry-on bag.

What Happens If You Break The Law

If you break the law you can be arrested, lose your licence, be fined, and even imprisoned.

Beware Of Your Car Ruining Your Gimbal

Well… It doesn’t quite ruin it. However, it does Decalibrate your gimbal causing you to do the calibration process after every time you turn your drone on inside your car or near your car.

I recommend inside and near your car to keep the drone off at all times.

Drone Insurance In Case Of A Crash Or Malfunction

Drone Insurance that covers a malfunction or crash of your drone is a must.

Considering I’ve already used this twice when I never even crashed the drone it has paid for itself in the long run.

Drone Aviation Insurance To Protect Your Client

In the event of a drone malfunction or crash having aviation insurance protects your client and you. This has never happened to me but its better to be safe then sorry. The insurance runs about 1000$ per drone per year for 1M in aviation insurance

Editing With Lightroom

My editing process is typically along these lines.

Crop

I first crop and straighten the image

Light

  • Lower highlights
  • Raise shadows
  • Increase/decrease whites
  • Increase/decrease blacks
  • Increase contrast slightly
  • Increase/decrease Exposure

Color

  • Increase vibrance a little
  • Increase saturation if needed

Effects

  • Increase texture
  • Increase clarity
  • Increase dehaze slightly
  • Adjust Color panel if needed

Detail

  • Increase sharpening slightly
  • Increase noise reduction
  • Increase color noise reduction

Presets

Presets for lightroom can make editing easy and fast. I don’t recommend buying them. Only because if i bought preset packs i would’ve never developed my own editing style. Plus if you can learn how to make your own presets the you can sell your own!

DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY STATISTICS

CONSTRUCTION

  • 74% of contractors expect to adopt advanced tech in 3 years
  • Drone Deploy Report suggests that drones can increase the safety on a construction site by 55%.
  • 65% Improved communication and collaboration — DroneDeploy
  • 52% Reduced time to data insights — DroneDeploy
  • Construction customers report a variety of benefits as a result of implementing in-house drone programs — DroneDeploy
  • 61% More accurate measurements — DroneDeploy
  • “Drones change the game in communication. A photo is worth a thousand words, and potentially millions of dollars.” Ryan Moret, Field Solutions Manager McCarthy Building Companies Inc

REAL ESTATE

FARMING

  • Drones can also inspect up to 1,000 acres of farmland a day – as per Goldman Sachs Research
  • The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates that farms will eventually account for an 80% share of the commercial drone market. — Source
  • Drone data can show where crops are healthy and where crops are weak so farmers can make adjustments. — Source
  • Thermal cameras on drones can be used to detect leaks and determine if crops are getting too much or too little water. — Source
  • The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that farmers could see a return on investment of agriculture drones of $12 per acre for corn and $2 to $3 per acre for soybeans and wheat. — Source
  • According to a study, corn, soybean and wheat farmers could save an estimated $1.3 billion annually by using drones to increase crop yields and reduce input costs. — Source
  • A drone can zoom down to the square inch and even count each individual plant, which would have previously been very difficult and impractical. — Source
  • Drones that could be used by farmers have a wide range of prices from below $1,000 to over $30,000, depending on whether they come with sensors that measure moisture content and plant light reflectivity. — Source
  • Sensors in drones can also evaluate drainage and track how mature crops are. — Source
  • A drone’s software can plan a flight path to maximize coverage of a farm’s cropland as well as fly itself from takeoff to landing. — Source
  • Crop imaging with a manned aircraft can cost $1,000 per hour, while a drone can be bought for less than $1,000. — Source
  • Drones can be used to survey a crop weekly or daily to create a time-series animation that shows changes or issues that can be acted on — Source

MAPPING

  • 90% of Commercial Mapping Still Occurs on Drone Models that Cost $1500 or Less – Drone Deploy Report
  • Companies now rely on drones every day for data collection and analysis. On average, DroneDeploy customers create 5 maps a week. This resulted in 30,000-45,000 automated drone flights every month in 2017. Why such a range? Drone use is affected by seasonal changes in weather. Commercial users are most active in the spring and summer months when the weather is warm, and rain and snow are less common. July stood out as the most popular month for drone mapping.
  • Companies use drone technology to collect real-time data about projects, understand what’s happening on site, and identify potential issues before they become costly. Construction is currently the fastest growing sector—surging 239% in the last year — DroneDeploy
  • Hours of waiting for crop imagery are over. We can capture real-time data in seconds without an internet connection, and begin making smarter crop management decisions before the drone hits the ground. Justin Metz, Technology Integration Specialist Bowles Farming Company — DroneDeploy

GOVERNMENT & CITY

  • Businesses and civil governments spend $13 billion on drones between now and 2020 – Source: Goldman Sachs Research
  • Between now and 2020, Goldman Sach’s forecasts a $100 billion market opportunity for drones—helped by growing demand from the commercial and civil government sectors. – Source: Goldman Sachs Research

INSURANCE

  • Roof Report helps professionals in the roofing, solar, and insurance sectors generate accurate roof measurements with computer vision and machine learning. The number of roof reports generated doubles every month as drone adoption continues to rise. The number of Roof Reports double each month with the use of drones according to — DroneDeploy
  • A drone can get closer to damaged property and inspect it more thoroughly. It can also gather and relay images, audio, video, and other crucial data. — Source
  • Faster rebuilding after a devastating storm due to rapid assessment of the damage. Drones can cover larger areas in a shorter span than human claims adjusters. This leads to more accurate processing of claims, which also makes affected policyholders happy. — Source
  • Reduction in Loss Adjustment Expenses (LAE). These are costs associated with assessing and settling claims. Since drones work faster and can survey the most dangerous properties, the number of claims adjusters needed is reduced. — Source
  • Improved safety. Being a claims adjuster is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Because they usually assess damage to unstable homes after dangerous storms, they’re more likely to be hurt in the process. Drones eliminate this problem because they can do a better analysis from various angles. — Source
  • More unbiased claims processing. Unlike human claims adjusters whose decisions may be influenced by emotional factors, drones can be trusted to be objective. They collect data and forward it for further analysis. — Source

DRONE INDUSTRY

  • There were around 1.1 million drones in the United States as of December 31, 2017. During 2019, that number will reach 2 million. Source: FAA
  • The number of drones is expected to more than double over the next year to more than 2.4 million units. – FAA
  • In 2016, there were 788,570 drones in the United States, increasing around 40% year-over-year. Globally by 2017 there were more than 3 million. This substantial growth rate is driven by the consumer market and stems from falling equipment prices, improved technology such as built-in cameras, and the relative ease of piloting. – FAA
  • The industry is expected to grow to more than $82.1 billion in annual revenue by 2025.
  • Commercial drones represent just 6% of all drone sales in the US, but make up 60% of the drone industry revenue due to their high price points relative to consumer models. – Economist
  • The fastest growing commercial adopters of aerial data come from the construction, agriculture, and mining industries. – Drone Deploy Report
  • The FAA announced that there were more than 122,000 commercial drone pilots in early 2018. Combined with the 878,000 hobbyists, there were more than 1 million total drone registrations.
  • Since the launch of online registration, more than 110,000 commercial operators had registered their equipment by the end of 2017 – FAA
  • For each week the registration has been available, over 1,000 aircraft have been registered – FAA
  • Top industries for drone job opportunities include Construction, Agriculture, Insurance, Oil/Gas, Police – Source: Goldman Sachs Research
  • “Tremendous opportunities for growth in employment associated with commercial activities of the UAS. ” – FAA
  • Consumer grade dominates the non-commercial, with a market share approaching 98% – FAA
  • The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification which is currently in testing, is designed to allow considerable flexibility in UAS operations and incorporate recreational hobbyists as well commercial usecases. – FAA
  • Applications requires waivers for night operations (86% of all waivers granted), operation of multiple unmanned aircraft by one pilot (1.5%), and operation above current altitude limits (1.3%) – FAA
  • Almost 13,000 airspace authorizations and waivers were approved for UAS operations in controlled airspaces by the end of December 2017 – FAA
  • Remote Pilot Certifications are issued in accordance with the FAA’s Part 107 and are used primarily to facilitate non-model sUAS flights for commercial activities. – FAA
  • As of December 2017, more than 73,000 Remote Pilot Certifications were issued. Over 90% of individuals who took the required aeronautical knowledge exam passed and obtained an RPC. – FAA
  • The FAA introduced rules requiring drone pilots to register to a national database.  The regulation was briefly paused when a judge shot down the rule, however it was reinstated in 2017 National Defence Authorization bill – TechCrunch
  • By the end of May 2017, more than 772,000 owners had already registered with the FAA.
  • Crash risks are acute. QBE claims data reveals that one in fifty drones will be involved in an accident, equivalent to a crash occurring approximately every 2,000 hours of operation.

DJI

  • DJI generated more than $2.83 billion in 2017 which represented an 80% increase from 2016. – TechNode
  • DJI remains the leader in the commercial drone market with an estimated market share of up to 85% – Drone Deploy Report
  • DJI is based in Shenzen, China, however 80% of their products are sold overseas. – Business Times

The Different Types Of Drone Photography

Different Drone Photo styles

This blog covers advanced image techniques and panoramas in order to educate photographers on how they can mix up there style. 

Top-Down

This is a photo taken from above the location, event, business, etc..

Beloit, WI

HDR

High-Dynamic Range
This type of photography is accomplished when the drone takes multiple photos at once and merges the best features of each photo together

Janesville, WI

Hyperlight

Low light photography with reduced noise allowing for a crisp photo close to sunset

Long Exposure

A photography Style that captures the movement of lights, clouds, water, cars, people, etc…

PANORAMA – 360 Sphere

Captures a 360 sphere panorama

PANORAMA – 360 SPHERE

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Panorama – 180

180 horizontal photos

Panorama – wide angle horizontal

Multiple images stitched together to make a higher quality image

Panorama – wide angle vertical

Multiple images stitched together to make a higher quality image in a vertical format