Hello everyone. This is Joseph, from California. Let’s talk about high definition digital aerial photography, using a drone.
My very first drone mission was residential real estate, in an exclusive neighborhood, along the costal cliffs of Santa Barbara. I was given a specific format to follow, to produce 15 to 20 aerial photographs. There were beautiful homes on the cliffs, overlooking the Pacific. However, my mission was an estate that was embedded into the mountain, on the backside of the cliffs. Monster trees and thick brush surrounded the property. I was doing my best to follow the guidelines that were given to me, as my DJI Phantom 4 hovered inches away from branches and leaves. I was asked to take photographs at very specific heights. I thought: “Man! I don’t want to lose my drone, on my first job! That wouldn’t look good on my resume!”
With sweat on my brow, I started moving through the mission. As the photos were snapped, I stared into my monitor screen. I was attempting to be professional, as I meticulously hovered my drone in the airspace. However, I could see huge shadows coming from the trees and bushes. When the mission was complete, I had doubled the number of photographs I was asked to take. The reason is because I couldn’t quite tell which images were going to be too dark and which ones were going to have sufficient light. I rushed home to see the quality of my work. When I arrived, I was able look at the pictures, on dual 30-inch high definition computer monitors. Some of the images were too dark and others were just right. There were some photos taken, in a medium light, which captured a unique and beautiful perspective. Others, in the same light, weren’t acceptable. I realized if the drone moves 2 or 3 feet, in any direction, it could dramatically change the quality of the photos.
Fast forward to my first mission to capture high definition aerial video, for real estate marketing. The property contained two houses, on 1.5 acres, in an exclusive southern California neighborhood. The broker had slated a National Geographic photographer, to capture the drone footage of the estate. Ultimately, the photographer was not able to complete the shoot. This created a new opportunity and I was booked. The broker was extremely meticulous about what he wanted. Because of the size of the property, as well as the fact that it held two structures, I produced a four-and-a-half minute video. A time was set to reveal the footage to the broker. He looked at me and said: “Joseph, I have no notes for you. It’s great! However, I see some shots in here that would make outstanding digital images. If I tell you which frames I like, can you produce some high definitional aerial photographs for me.” I said: “Sure no problem.”
I use Final Cut Pro editing software on a Mac Pro tower. As I moved through the footage, to pull the exact frames the broker wanted for his aerial photographs, it struck me. This is how you are guaranteed to deliver (the precise) images your client will love. Why? The answer is you don’t produce the photos “you” think your client will like. Instead, your “client” gets the opportunity to choose the specific images they want. No more guessing, hoping, and anxiety. It’s a done deal! And you get a reputation for producing a high quality product. If you have a client that requests only photographs, take video that includes a flight path that will encompass the requested images. You can even stop the drone, where you think you would have taken a photo, and then continue flying. Show the video to your client. Let them choose the clear-cut images they want for their project. Everyone goes home happy! On a side note, you might be pleasantly surprised your client also wants to purchase the beautiful high definition aerial video you produced.