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Why Real Estate Agencies Need Certified Drone Pilots for Real Estate Jobs

In today's commercial and residential real estate world, there is becoming a great need for drone photography. Drones provide a unique perspective when it comes to showcasing properties. Drones can easily be used to showcase large properties and industrial areas. Drones can provide high-quality aerial photos and videos. For many real estate agencies and agents, drones play an important role in selling properties. The reality is, all drone pilots are not the same and it is important for agencies and real estate agent to choose wisely.

One of the biggest questions is to decide if an agency buy there own equipment and drone and do the job themselves or hire someone. One would think it would be easier to do the job themselves but that could be a costly mistake. Flying and drone is not that easy for everyone and purchasing one is not cheap. A good quality drone with a high-quality camera can cost between $1200 and $5000. Crashing one can be very costly.

Another option is to hire a licensed FAA certified drone pilot. A licensed drone pilot who is Part 107 certified is authorized to shoot photos and video for their clients. The Part 107 certification requires a pilot to pay $150 and pass a written test. The test is very detailed and provides the pilot with the knowledge needed to work legally and commercially for their clients. To see what is required for a certified drone pilot visit "Become a Drone Pilot"

Another reason to choose a certified drone pilot is that most professional drone pilots understand the importance of having liability insurance coverage. Drones can cause great damage and personal injury. That is why having insurance coverage is so important.

When making a decision to use drone there are important factors that you have to take into consideration when using a drone. Do you buy a cheap drone and try to do the job yourself? Do you take a chance and hope you don't damage property or injury individuals during a commercial shoot? Do you hire an FAA certified drone pilot that has the skills to use a high-quality drone, knowledge of FAA drone standards, understands how to get the proper images, and can legally do the job? My advice is to hire someone. You will be glad you did.

If you need an FAA drone pilot for a commercial or residential shoot, contact me to schedule an appointment.

Until next time!

Roger

Using a Drone For Commercial Use and The Importance of Using a Certified Drone Pilot

Today more and more businesses are using drones to survey all types of locations. According to Geospatial World, “There is an aerial revolution happening across the globe. Drones have emerged as a highly viable commercial tool with applications in numerous sectors, most notably, construction. This isn’t surprising, as their benefits range from on-site safety to a level of project monitoring which wasn’t previously possible”. Today photographers are using commercial and non-commercial drones to survey all types of sites.

Recently, I visited a construction site in Jamestown North Carolina and did some surveying of my own. In Jamestown, major road construction is ongoing and the road construction is massive. I was interested in knowing how much progress was made on the new road. I could see locations were the road was being built but I wanted to see the true progress of the road construction. However, getting a true representation of how much had been completed required the use of my DJI Mavic Pro drone.

Using a drone to fly over a construction site is not so easy. If you do it right and understand the does and don’t when it comes to FAA regulations you will be fine. If you don’t understand the FAA drone regulations or you are not a certified FAA drone pilot doing commercial work you can be hit with some pretty steep fines. One of the reasons why I feel it is important to become a certified FAA drone pilot is that is important to understand how to legally fly a drone. Commercial drone operators must comply with restrictions and understand how and when drones may be used. The FAA prohibits drones being flown:

  • outside of the operator’s visual line of sight

  • when visibility is less than three miles

  • at night

  • less than 500 feet below a cloud or within 2,000 feet horizontally from a cloud

  • directly over people not directly participating in the drone’s operation

  • higher than 400 feet above either ground level or a structure, whichever is higher; and

  • without permission in controlled airspace

I find there are many uses for flying a drone and being a certified FAA drone pilot can be profitable. To learn more about flying a drone or if you are in need of an FAA-certified drone pilot, contact me. Maybe, I can help.

Until next time!

Roger

Capturing Images of The Carolina Field of Honor

One of the best things about being a photographer and someone who loves to capture images using a drone is visiting unique locations. Some people don’t realize some of the best locations are within in an hour of their homes. One such place is the Carolina Field o Honor in Kernersville North Carolina. In this post I want to cover what is the Carolina Field of Honor and about my experience was in capturing images from the location.

What is the Carolina Field of Honor

The Carolina Field of Honor has several functions for it’s visitors, but the main function is the veteran’s memorial. The veteran’s memorial was officially dedicated back on Memorial Day in 2014. The memorial’s main function is to serve as tribute to fallen service members of the armed forces. The memorial is an important part of not only the town of Kernersville, but also for other surrounding counties and even the state of North Carolina.

Why I Chose to Photograph The Carolina Field of Honor

I had visited the Carolina Field of Honor not long after is was officially opened in 2014. I had seen some images of the memorial on different websites and social media outlets. To me, there was not enough images of the Carolina Field of Honor Memorial location.I felt the memorial needed more visual imagery to showcase it importance for the communities and help visitors not forget our fallen heroes. I wanted to create not only photographs of the structures, but I wanted to provide aerial imagery of the memorial.

Getting Drone Footage at the Carolina Field of Honor Memorial

Prior to visiting the memorial I did my research and found that taking photos of the memorial was not going to be too difficult. I chose a day when I felt the site would have few visitors. I chose the middle of the week when not only fewer people would be there but kids would be in school. Schools love to take students there to show the kids the memorial and explain the reason why the memorial was built. One the day of my photo shoot, no kids visited the site. That was a great thing for me because I had the entire memorial to myself. For a photographer, that is awesome!

As part of my planning, I had to find out if I could fly my drone at the site. As a FAA certified drone pilot I understood there are steps you have to take to find out if you can legally fly at a location. Many people that are not FAA certified do not understand the rules for flying a drone and that the FAA can fine them if rules are not followed. I had no desire to have the FAA fine me. So I did my research.

AirMap App

AirMap App

Part of my research was to find out if I could fly my drone so I could get some drone footage. I used a very useful app called AirMap to determine where restricted areas are anytime I go to a location to fly my Mavic Pro drone. While visiting the location I found out I was slightly within restricted airspace of the Triad Park where the Carolina Field of Honor is located. I first thought I may not be able to fly the drone. However, in some cases, a drone pilot can request a waiver from the FAA to fly in a restricted airspace. In most cases, getting approval could take 90 days. However, at the Triad Park, I was fortunate to be able to request a limited temporary waiver while I was onsite using the Airmap app. I requested a one hour flight time and the permission to fly up to 400 feet. For those of you that may not realize it, 400 feet is the limit drone pilots can fly. After getting the permission to legally fly my drone I took the air to get a few pass over shots of the memorial.

it was a lot of fun to be able to capture images and video of the Carolina Field of Honor. As a photography and a drone photographer it was a way for me to help remind people of the veteran’s memorial in Kernersville and why they should visit the Carolina Field of Honor.

To learn more about the Carolina Field of Honor visit Carolina Field of Honor website.

Until next time!

Roger

The Benefits of Using a Drone for Inspections

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Today drones can be a great benefit to help industries and companies collect all types of data very quickly. The problem is most companies are unaware of how beneficial and useful UAV's can be to help inspect all types of assets and properties. Traditional methods used to inspect properties and other assets can be very costly and the safety risk can be very high for personnel that may be used to conduct hazardous inspections. That is where the use of an FAA-certified drone pilot and a high-quality drone can be very helpful to an organization.

The companies that do understand the benefits of using a drone to conduct inspections use drones for aerial photography survey's, deliveries, asset inspections, and other types of tasks. Other companies don't fully understand the great benefits of using a drone. Companies that do take advantage of the use of drone understand that drones are very helpful in getting information and valuable data very quickly and safely. Drones can provide accurate inspection data in a shorter amount of time. Drones can be used to inspect many types of facilities, industrial building, energy resources, real estate, insurance related incidents and activities, and a wide range of other inspections. Traditional inspections without the use of a drone can be risky, costly, and take a lot of valuable time. Drones in a sense can help eliminate inaccurate or incomplete data due to human errors and other mitigating factors. There are benefits to using a drone for inspections and using a FAA certified drone pilot to do the job.

Reduces Dangerous Risks and Health Risks to Personnel

Depending on the area needing inspections, drones can be used to inspect structures that may be too tall or complex. Many industries have facilities and structures that can be very complex and difficult for personnel to inspect. Drones can be used to access hostile locations, inspect tall structures and be can be used to easily access locations that may be too risky for personnel.

Data Collection

All drones are not the same and it is important to make sure that an FAA certified drone pilot is used for any type of commercial work. A high-quality drone has the capability to inspect areas because of the unique features of the drone, such as obstacle avoidance, 4K video, and a high-resolution camera. The high-quality of the camera allows a certified drone pilot the ability to inspect the properties in greater detail and can be accessed much easier than using an inspector or inspection team.

Access Properties Very Quickly

The benefit of using an FAA certified drone pilot is that inspections can be done very quickly. In a matter of moments, a drone pilot can quickly and safely launch a drone. Drones are very helpful not only for routine inspections but for emergency situations. Drones are fast and in many cases, an inspection can be completed in less than 30 minutes. The quick use of a drone can help insurance companies, engineers, lending companies, home buyers get the information they need very quickly.

More Capabilities of a Drone

Drones have the ability to conduct inspections from different altitudes and angles. They have the ability to collect accurate data because of how they are equipped. Drones can take a wide variety of images, capture in-depth and impressive video, and gain access to locations that require effective data collection. In many cases, access to some properties would be very difficult and unsafe for an individual.

No Downtime

For some companies, an inspection would require downtime. Downtime may require a company to shut down operations during the inspection to eliminate potential risk to personnel and equipment. Drones can be used to safely inspect facilities and locations with complex systems such as communication towers, radar systems, and other important and highly complex structures. Drones can eliminate downtime so operations and can safely proceed.

Saves Time, Money, and Insurance Costs

Personnel inspections cost money and so does the insurance cost to protect inspectors and workers needed to conduct high-risk inspections. Drones can help eliminate the costs and the risk. Using a drone eliminates the need, time, and cost of using high-risk equipment to conduct inspections. A company does not have a need for ladders, heavy equipment, and large commercial vehicles to conduct sometime dangerous inspections.

Drones can be used for more than just aerial images and videos for photographers and hobbyists. They can be used to eliminate the risk of personnel, properties, and save companies a great deal of time and money. More companies should consider using a drone for their inspection needs. Companies just need to make sure they hire a pilot that is FAA certified and qualified to do the job. All drone users are not the same.

Until next time!

Roger

Choosing a New DJI Drone

Well, it is time to make a decision on what drone I will purchase next. Just recently I decided to sell my DJI Phantom Pro 3 drone. My original plan was to keep the PP3 until Springtime and then sell it to help purchase a newer drone. Then I started thinking that I was most likely not going to be flying my drone too much during the winter so I decided to sell it early. I figured until I find a buyer I would continue to use it. Little did I know, I was going to sell it faster than I expected. I was able to sell the PP3 in one day. I sold it to a gentleman from Greensboro who just happen to have several drones and he said he was experienced in flying them. However, he did not have a DJI Phantom Pro 3. I was a little nervous about a guy buying the drone and not have any experience in flying a PP3. It all worked out because he was experienced in flying other drones. That was good news for me because the last thing I wanted to do was sell my drone to a novice and he ended up crashing it and claiming the drone was defective and he wanted his money back. Thankfully, I did not have to deal with that issue.

After selling my PP3 I knew I had to save up some funds to purchase a new drone fairly quickly. Saving up money to buy a new drone is one issue I have to deal with but another important issue is what drone do I select for my next drone. I know I will be buying a new DJI drone and it will not be the Phantom Pro 4. I liked my PP3 but I wasn't too thrilled with having to carry around a large case to transport the drone. If I bought the PP4 would have to deal with the hassle of carrying it around like I did the PP3.

I want something more portable. The dilemma is DJI has some very nice small, high quality, portable drones. DJI has the Spark, DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, and Mavic Pro 2. My dilemma is figuring out which one to buy. As with any purchase, there are many factors to take into consideration and DJI makes making a decision very difficult. However, my decision will be based on two important factors; price and needs.

I am the type of guy that looks at many reviews when purchasing any product and looking at reviews online and on Youtube is how I normally select a product I plan to purchase. I have been looking at many resources and Youtube channels to find reviews from not only tech reviewer but more importantly reviews from those that have purchased several types of DJI drones. I needed specs information on each drone type as well as hands-on reviews from users that have a lot of experiences with drones. One thing I am very aware of is that many Youtuber reviews can be very misleading because some YouTubers have hidden agendas when it comes to giving true product reviews on purchasing drones. They get paid to endorse them to make money.

One good review that I did like was a review from "Cruising Off Duty" on Youtube. The review was good because it provided me with a good comparison between the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I have been eyeing both of them. Even though the reviewer was new to the Mavic Pro 2 drone when he tested it he did give a nice breakdown between the two drones. The drone specs between the two drones can be found at DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Mavic Pro.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro

After reading dozens of reviews and looking at many Youtubers that do photography and shoot videos with drones I have to make a decision before Springtime. Do I buy what I know is the best drone or do I buy a very nice drone that is very popular, is much cheaper in price, and will most likely fulfill my photography and video needs? Based on the specs of the Mavic Pro 2, it is a much better all around drone. But the price tag is very high. It looks like I could get a Mavic Pro 2 for around $1500. Of course, that does not include extra batteries, SD, and other needed essentials.

Mavic Pro 2

Mavic Pro 2

Or I could purchase the Mavic Pro for around $1100 that would include 2 extra batteries. I have to decide is paying up to $700 more for the newest drone worth it. From what I have read from those that have purchased a DJI Mavic Pro they are very pleased with it. I have also read that many of those same people would buy the Mavic Pro 2 in a heartbeat if the price tag wasn't so high.

I will hold off and conduct more research on the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I will also be waiting to find out if there will be any sales on the two drones. I have plenty of time to do more research. As of today, I am leaning toward the DJI Mavic Pro because I feel it will fill all my needs as a photographer and videographer.

So do you have a DJI Mavic Pro or Mavic Pro 2? If you do, what do think of your drone? If you don't have a DJI drone are you considering buying one? If so, which one? I would love to find out your views on the drones. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Until next time!

Roger

Understanding Your Drones Capabilities

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How well do you know your photography gear? I was thinking about that and realized I don't know everything I need to know about my drone and its capabilities. I am pretty familiar with camera settings but I wasn't too impressed with my drone shots. To me, they seemed sorta flat. My first reaction was the drone camera was not that great. Then I started thinking, maybe it is me. So I started doing a little "Youtubing" and found I was not as familiar with the drone camera settings as I should be, especially the photo settings. I was finding that many of my photo images were not good at all and I needed to get a better understanding of the settings and learn more about how to more effective usage out of the available manual setting options.

Most people that have a drone that has a camera normally know enough to get the drone in the air and have the auto setting do all the work. That is not knowing your drone and its capabilities. Many times you end up with bad photos and sometimes those photos are unusable. Unusable photos equal a waste of time. I don't like wasting my time when I flying my drone. Those that know about drone batteries understand you have a limited time when it comes to battery life and time is important when trying to get good images.

It is important to understand how your drone works. You can't always blame poor quality shots on the drone. It is good to dig deeper into your drone settings. All photographers must fully understand ISO, shutter speed, types of formats, and aperture settings when using a camera. That includes the drone camera. Yes, auto settings are cool but that is also the lazy way to do. Manual settings can be very cool and produce some amazing images even when using a drone. You just have to be willing to dig a little deeper if you want to improve as a drone photographer and get great quality shots.

Knowing how your gear works are so important when it comes to doing photography. That is equalling important as a drone pilot. As a certified drone pilot I understand no one is going hire me if my images and videos are not a good as they should be. It is very important to embrace seeking knowledge of my gear. Knowledge is cool and never-ending. That also applies to any drone that has ability to shoot great images. What I have learned is not to blame my gear when it come to photography. It is me that needs to put in the work and learn as much as I can about all the gear I use, especially, when it comes to my drone.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Drone Images of the Furniture Land South Building

Well, this Sunday morning was pretty fun for me. My photography goal for the day was to take some drone footage of a unique building that is not too far from my home. The building is called the Furniture Land South Building in High Point North Carolina. Actually, the building is less than a mile from my home and I have always wanted to photograph it but never really got around to it. Of course, since I now have a drone I finally took the time to go get a little drone footage this morning and finally shoot the building. It is funny how one becomes more eager to get out of bed to shoot drone video footage when they have a drone. 

The building is massive and used when the furniture market that comes to our town. Visitors from all over the world come to look at furniture in the showroom throughout town and the Furniture Land South building is stop that all visitor makes. What really stands out about the building is the large dresser that leads to the entrance of the building. You can't miss it. I wanted to do two things this morning. I wanted to get both still photos and of course, videos with the drone. I was pretty lucky this morning. I actually thought I would have some issues with getting a good location to launch the drone and getting some good angles for my shots. Even though the place was closed on Sundays I was still able to launch the drone and get some nice images from a variety of angles. That is the beauty of drone photography and videography, we have better access from above our subjects and the skies are unlimited (unless you violate FAA guidelines). If you are a drone pilot, don't do that. 

I was able to get some nice still images and a nice "pull away" shot of the Furniture Land South Building. Below are the images and video. 

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This morning I was able to accomplish the goals I set out to do. I try to establish daily goals when it comes to my photography and building my photography business. Now, I need to decide what's next on my agenda. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Drone Photography Can Be Fun and Profitable

In the photography world, today drone images and drone video images have become more popular. It takes a skill drone pilot get great images. I am not talking about the person in their backyard trying to fly their homemade drone and hoping they don't crash it or hit someone. I am talking about photographers that are looking for unique images that have a totally different perspective than the traditional photography and videos that are shot from ground level. 

As I fly my DJI Phantom 3 drone more and more I truly appreciate the images that come from the drone. I have the option to shoot nice still images with the drone. More impressive is the quality of the video footage from the drone. When I fly my drone I make it a point to capture still images and video footage during every photo shoot. I want to get a unique view of my subjects. Just recently I flew my drone in High Point NC with my son, Jordan Younce. He is a very talented drone pilot, photographer, videographer, and photographer trainer. I learn a great deal from him during our photoshoots. He and I went into downtown High Point NC to shoot some videos and stills with our drones. He was working on a drone video series for his company and I was just wanting to shoot some drone footage to improve my drone skills. My other objective was to get images I could use for future advertising. 

During my flights, I was able to capture a couple of unique images from downtown High Point. I captured some overhead footage of a nice business building, a new construction site, and a video of a small portion of downtown High Point. Drone photography provides me with an opportunity to look for images that I cannot get when doing my normal photography. I actually get pretty excited when I see what I can actually photograph or video from hundreds of feet above me. Below are a few images I captured;

Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Drone photography can open up a whole new world for photographers. It can be a little expensive to get started. Of course, you need a decent drone and it is very important to get FAA drone certified. Getting FAA certified opens up more opportunities for a drone pilot. It is also important to know that to fly commercially in the United States, all drone pilots that offer commercial services as a business have to be certified. Believe me, the FAA is continually looking for individuals that violate that policy. Youtube has many videos of drone pilots that have been slapped with fines for improper drone uses and safety violations. 

It takes patience and most of all practice when flying any drone. The last thing you want to do is crash your new drone or even worse, hurt someone because you don't have the skills to fly a drone. Drone photography is not that easy. Just search on Youtube for "Drone Fails" and you will see what I mean. I do not regret getting into drone photography. It opens up new opportunities for me and I can provide new services to my clients and customers. There are businesses that need certified drone photographers and videographers. So, why not provide those services to them. As a photographer, I don't understand why I would not want to do that. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger