As more people are discovering the amazing footage that can be captured with a drone, hiring a drone to take pictures at a wedding or monitor the progress of a construction job is exploding in popularity. To accommodate this rising demand, DRONELIFE recently revamped our Hire a Drone feature in the form of JobforDrones.com. Using JobforDrones.com it is easier than ever to help people find an aerial photographer for hire in their area.
But, before you go out and book a drone for a graduation or to shoot a promo video for your business, there are a few things you should consider…
1. Try to be flexible with dates and times.
Weather is a huge factor when it comes to flying a drone. When you are looking to hire a drone, try to be aware of the weather forecast and, if an unexpected rainstorm blows in out of nowhere, understand the shoot may have to be postponed. Scheduling a second date is a good idea in case you get rained/winded out.
Obviously, if you are hiring a drone to take pictures at your wedding, there isn’t going to be a lot of wiggle room on the schedule, but that is when it is important to be conscious of timing. Early mornings or evenings are the best times of day to get drone pictures/video, as the sunlight is less harsh and can produce some beautiful colors and effects (i.e. sunrise and sunset).
Plus, the wind is usually most calm in mornings and evenings (less potential for shakes in camera). Your pictures and video will always be effected by the weather so, if it’s a gloomy day and you have a flexible schedule, consider rescheduling.
2. Research comparable projects and brainstorm some shots that you might like.
If you are considering hiring a drone, chances are you got the idea from seeing or hearing about someone elses’ aerial footage. Before you bring your project to a pilot, think about exactly what it is you liked about the footage you saw. Once you make a connection with a pilot (on JobForDrone.com, of course) it’s always beneficial to discuss shots you like prior to going to the site.
3. Do your best to fly in a safe area and use common sense.
Tools like Google Maps and Google Street View make it really easy for photographers to “scout” locations before they arrive to fly a drone. That being said, there is an onus on the customer to make sure the flying environment is suitable and safe. It is not recommended you fly over crowds or through your neighbor’s yard without getting permission. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about safety with your photographer.
4. Not all drones are created equal.
DJI Phantoms are found in pretty much every aerial photographer’s arsenal and can often be the cheapest way to capture excellent pictures and video. However, if you are looking to create a Hollywood-calibre promotional video, you are going to need to book a much more sophisticated rig. High-end drones can carry high-end cameras but often come with high-end prices. Be sure to check out your pilot’s portfolio and discuss the equipment he/she has at their disposal.
5. Post production work is often worth the investment.
While we are on the subject of Hollywood-calibre videos, it is important to mention post production. Raw video and photos rarely stand up on their own as promotional material. To put your new footage to work for you, it is often necessary to have someone mold it into marketing material.
If you or someone you know is proficient in Photoshop or Final Cut Pro, you are in great shape! If not, aerial photographers often offer their own services for post production. Just don’t be surprised if the post production work costs more than the time spent on site taking the pictures. Making grass greener and the sky bluer, enhancing clarity, minimizing vibrations… all these things can go a long way to enhance your pictures/video but it takes a deft hand and a considerable chunk of time.
It is almost inevitable that at some time while looking over your photos/videos, someone (either you or your photographer) will say the words “But what if we could have shot…”
If you have the budget and flexibility, it can sometimes be worth the investment to do a second flight. Plus, addition flights can capture the same subject at a different time with different light and give you a lot more material to work with.
If there is potential for ongoing work, don’t be afraid to ask about a bulk or package rate. Pilots like ongoing work and might be willing to offer a price break for multiple projects. They also might have special rates for various types of shoots (weddings vs 3D modeling vs promotional videos) so it is important to outline every aspect of your needs.
And ask about your pilot’s previous projects. It could be other people are hiring drones for reasons you never considered and learning about these use cases can be beneficial for you and your pilot
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com