What is drone photography and how can you make a career out of it?
Have you ever considered making a professional business by taking spectacular pictures from hundreds of miles in the air? Drone enthusiasts and hobbyists have started taking their skills of piloting a small aircraft camera into the realm of professional photography, producing stunning artwork. Drone piloting is quickly becoming one of the quickest growing hobbies, with tens of thousands signed up and more to come. As this trend expands, let us take a glimpse at what you should know to turn your drone hobby into a pro photography business.
Why Drone Photography?
Many people wonder why this is a growing trend. Drone photography is an unbelievably dynamic approach to photography that hugely differs from traditional and conventional photography. The rules of focus and lighting in photography change when the lens is hundreds of feet up in the air. This technologically advanced photography niche enables novice professional photographers to produce unique and spectacular photos that might not be attainable through conventional photography.
The drones’ mobile nature also works to its advantage when it comes to videography, for photographers who also wish to test the waters in video production.
What You’ll Need
It’s a no-brainer that you will need a drone with camera functionalities, but how do you know which gear to choose? The key is to lay out a comfortable budget that you are willing to allocate to your professional business and act accordingly. You’d be glad to know that many top-notch drones are equipped with quality cameras, so do your research to narrow down on drones that fit your needs.
Even budding professionals, depending on their experience piloting drones, might find it helpful to buy an inexpensive drone that they can hone and practise their skills on. This could help reduce the chance of accidents while maneuvering the camera drone that you plan to build your professional photography business around.
Much of the gear needed in drone photography is the same as for conventional photography. While you might not need a tripod, professional photographers still use different lenses, lighting, cameras, and photo editing applications and software. Ensure that you include these in your budget as well, since they are just as essential to your drone photography business as the drone itself.
Make Sure You are Licensed
Depending on what gear you are using and where your location is, there is a big chance you would need to have a license to operate your drone photography business. Although it is most likely that you already have this as a drone hobbyist, you might still need to invest in the best and high-end camera for your drone photography needs.
Over the last decade, the USFAA (United States Federal Aviation Administration) started to add to the policies and regulations that drone operators must follow. It is important to ensure that your gear and usage conforms to these regulations, or your drone photography business would not make it off the ground.
Practice Aerial Photography Techniques
There are several techniques and approaches that apply to conventional photography that’s rendered useless as soon as the camera is airborne. For instance, using a camera’s zoom capability is a quick way to ruin a photo captured with a drone. The propellers’ vibration is exponentially magnified the more the camera is zoomed, making zooming basically useless.
Many differences lie between conventional and drone photography, so put effort towards practising which new styles and techniques work and which ones won’t. If you haven’t practised on drone photography enough before, use this period to practice and hone your skills on some basic maneuvers until you are comfortable with your abilities. We strongly advise against attaching cameras until you fully know how to maneuver the drone alone to prevent accidents.
Work Towards a Portfolio
The biggest part of any creative adventure like drone photography is to own an interesting and compelling online portfolio. If you plan to build your photography business around a particular genre, like landscape or drone photography, make sure to fill your online drone photography portfolio with the best images you have captured that highlight your ability in that genre. Likewise, if you want to be a general photographer without a particular specialty, make sure your photography portfolio is as diverse as it could be.
It is advantageous to have a huge portfolio, but don’t make it too large that prospective clients get bored looking through dozens upon dozens of photos. Professional photographers should also take special care to ensure that each image in the photography portfolio serves as a strong representation of their skills and talent, so refrain from putting in any images that are not high-quality. Many experts suggest having a dozen photographs maximum, so go over and select your absolute best photos for your portfolio.
Build Your Platform
Once you have built your portfolio for drone photography, you could use it to build a social media platform. In today’s age, social media is among the quickest and most efficient ways to attract an audience and build a following. An estimated 77% of businesses all over the globe utilize social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram, to market and promote their services. Your flourishing professional drone photography would do best by following the same route.
Keep in mind that you should not limit yourself to just one social media platform, so put an effort towards creating an account or a business page on everything from Facebook to LinkedIn. Instagram is also extremely popular for freelance professional photographers because of the photo-heavy base of the platform.
From Hobby to Professional Drone Photography
Establishing a business takes an enormous amount of patience and effort, so don’t expect a sizable following over a few days. Treat the customers that trust your abilities with the utmost respect and a professional decorum to establish a professional reputation that keeps prospective clients returning and your drone photography business growing.
Most importantly, never give up–ever! Creative endeavours could take a lot, and professional drone photography entails a lot of time, practice, and patience in shooting and editing. You would be adding in the talent and skill required to pilot a drone-operated camera, too, so you can expect to spend a lot of time and effort practising and improving your skills. Nevertheless, you could turn your drone hobby into a professional drone photography business with sufficient practice and proper work.