Photography

Crafting a new career and creating your own job has never been easier. In fact, solo entrepreneurs earning six figure incomes is a tangible reality with a book explaining how to do it! This growing free-agent field is expertly explored by independent journalist, Elaine Pofeldt in her new book: The Million-Dollar, One-person Business.

Clearly the avenues, opportunities and definitions around how we earn a living are expanding—mostly due to technology. New technology is firmly ensconced in modern culture and one of the most ubiquitous innovations transforming a diverse arena of human roles in the workforce are drones!

Guest author and tech enthusiast, Oliver McClintock, will unpack 40 of the best drone business ideas for 2018 in this special three part series for BE Journal. Drones have utility to an enormous range of applications and entry-levels, from large-scale enterprises to independent entrepreneurs…the accessibility and adaptability of drones means that, the sky’s the limit when it comes to their potential and our economic future!

Part One: Photography Drone Business Ideas

It is no secret that the demand for drones is skyrocketing across the globe. The global drone market is forecasted to be $127 billion by 2020! Every day, businesses and drone pilots are coming up with new drone business ideas that are fueling an entrepreneurship boom. A combination of new technology, falling prices, and new regulations have combined to unleash aerial advances like never before. Each of these drone uses has potential for a new model or plan, which means there is an opportunity for you to get creative!

If you are looking for how to make money with drones, this is the right place! The opportunities are almost endless, and we are here to help you figure out the best drone business ideas for your situation. It is not as easy as just buying a drone and having people pay you for pictures, however. The FAA has lined out the US rules (Part 107) for commercial drone operations, and drone pilots need to pass a test to become licensed before using drones for business, or face hefty fines.

Once you are an experienced drone pilot, have a drone of your own, and are Part 107 licensed, you are ready to make money with drones! (If you are not licensed, a training class can help you get there). There is way more to having a quadcopter business than just taking pictures of people’s houses and property.

In this series I aim to give you a sense of some of the hottest markets and opportunities to make money with drones right now!

1. Residential Real Estate Drone Photography + Videography

Residential real estate photography is among the best methods to figure out how to use drones for business. Many realtors and homeowners are looking for a way to make their property stand out in a crowded market. With so many buyers searching for homes online, having quality aerial photography and video can help a home sell faster and for more money. We recommend the very popular DJI Phantom 4 Pro or DJI Mavic Pro for real estate photography first timers.

2. Commercial Real Estate Drone Photography + Videography

The commercial real estate is another, arguably more lucrative opportunity for aerial video. Commercial real estate sites are typically larger than residential sites and therefore can effectively use drones to showcase the larger area. Large commercial clients also usually will have a larger budget than residential realtors due to the value of the properties being higher. Aerial video can specifically highlight property features such as specialized assets.

3. Drone Sports Videography

Drones can capture perspectives that have never before been seen in extreme sports. An experienced drone operator can cost much less than a helicopter and get much more closeup footage, which makes for some excellent surfing videos. Filming practice to analyze plays, taking a video of matches to review performance, and getting new perspectives are always that new drone pilots could take advantage here. Many pilots are using the Phantom 4 Pro to get aerial shots of extreme sports by using the ActiveTrack technology which allows the drone to lock on to a moving target. By locking in an extreme sports client, entrepreneurs could excel with this as a gateway to other drone business ideas!

4. Drone Wedding Photography + Videography

Everyone wants their wedding to stand out, especially in the age of social media. Combine that with the ridiculous prices that wedding photographers charge, and aerial wedding videos could be a very lucrative drone business idea for someone who is just starting out. Just try not to crash your drone into the bride.

5. Power Line Inspections

Inspecting power lines in person is very time consuming and expensive. It is also very unsafe for people to physically be on power lines. Powerful new drones equipped with zoom cameras and spectrometers can work with local governments to contract out drone power line inspections at a much lower cost than traditional methods. There is a massive opportunity for drone pilots willing to learn about how the utility industry works to make money with drones!

6. TV and Cell Tower Inspections

Much like power lines, traditionally manned inspections are risky and fraught with danger for the inspector. Drones can make these inspections cheaper and safer for everyone involved. The latest drones can provide high-resolution images that allow owners to see if there is damage from weather, old age, or even wildlife! Getting into the cell tower inspection game has a higher barrier to entry than some others, but could be one of the best margin drone business ideas on this list.

7. Solar Installation Inspections

Thermal cameras (like those from a well-known manufacturer, FLIR) can integrate with more and more consumer drones. New pilots can find excellent drone business ideas related to the inspection of solar arrays. By helping a company manage the productivity of these assets and identify problems, they can save a ton of time and money. By flying a thermal imaging drone, it can locate any damaged solar panels and use that intelligence to act before problems get too big.

8. Forestry

Drones can help those in the forestry industry both protect and monitor the health of forests while reducing costs to test commercial value of the forested property. Instead of walking through the woods in person, operators can fly drones over areas they wish to inspect and assess tree health from above. It could save both time and money while apprising the pilot of any issues like storm damage or illegal logging activity.

9. Wind Turbine Inspections

At the beginning of 2015, there were over 270,000 wind turbines in operation, with 800,000 blades in service. Drones can be used to inspect these turbine blades for damage caused by wear and tear, mechanical failure, weather events, or bird strikes. Inspection is valuable because fixing or replacing a rotor before failure is way less expensive and dangerous than a blade failure in the field. Sometimes you will even find more than you bargain for the pilot.

10. Oil and Gas Pipeline Monitoring

You know that a drone business idea is taking off when a big company like GE gets a hold. GE developed their drone to monitor gas leaks all over their service network. The drone allows them to respond faster, and to bring the right equipment for the level of the leak. It results in happier customers who are not losing as much money to the leak in the long run. Drone pilots and entrepreneurs would do well to link up with a larger company and find this type of inspection contract work.

11. Critical Infrastructure Inspection

Many state departments across the country grapple with limited budgets and aging infrastructure. Aerial inspection drones offer a solution for low-cost, accurate, high-resolution inspections. They can also typically be completed in less time than a traditional manned inspection while producing better results. By using quadcopters for bridge and infrastructure inspection, local municipalities can have a higher level of understanding about the actual health of assets and assess them at a reduced cost.

12. Roof Inspections

Roof inspections are one of the quickest entry points for people looking for drone business ideas. Almost everyone knows a friend or family member that has had their roof damaged in a storm or is looking at getting it replaced. Drone-based roof inspections are an excellent way to keep contractors honest and reduce quoted prices. They can also help validate insurance claims and make sure that both the insurer and homeowner are getting a fair assessment of any damage.

13. Drone Aerial Mapping and Surveying

Drone startups all over the country are developing great software to perform elevation, 3D, and orthomosaic maps. These maps can help clients scope out work to be done on a construction site, validate earthwork done by contractors, and ensure that properties are valued accurately and appropriately. Startups like DroneDeploy and Airware are making huge steps in the drone software industry and are gaining VC funding as well.

14. Insurance Claim Validation

Many insurance companies and homeowners want to make sure they are getting a fair assessment of any property damage. From validating fire damage to seeing if a roof needs to be replaced after a storm, aerial inspection can help substantiate claims. A new drone pilot could approach an insurance company to be a contracted third party who could perform on-site inspections on-call.

Author Bio

Oliver McClintock is a tech enthusiast, and his main interests are drones and everything related to aviation gadgets. He shares his experience, product reviews, buyer’s guides, and how-to content on his site called MyDearDrone. It is awarded as one of the top 10 drone blogs of 2018 and a proud supporter of various high-profile events related to tech, aviation, drones, government, security & defense, military, etc.

A passionate droner, Oliver works around the clock to contribute something great to the drone community. If you are a UAV fan, MyDearDrone will become your favourite, one-stop destination for all things drones.

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Jordan is a land of mind-blowing scenery and iconic historical sites. This spring for the first time, a group of intrepid paramotor pilots were invited by the Aqaba Tourism Directorate to explore these landscapes and ancient ruins from the air. Thanks to cooperation from the Royal Aero Sports Club of Jordan, these minimal flying machines were able to fly closer than any other manned aircraft before to the vertiginous topography and unique history of this desert Kingdom. With potentially dangerous conditions and challenging landscapes, the flights required careful planning and patience but when it all came together, the pilots were rewarded with the experience of a lifetime.

After sleeping under the stars, the team woke before first light to prepare their equipment and get airbourne before the intense desert heat made the air too lively for safe flights. The adventure took them first to the incredible rock formations of Wadi Rum, which stood in for Mars in the film The Martian starring Matt Damon, as well as being the setting for Lawrence of Arabia. Here the pilots negotiated towering rock outcrops and ravines before sampling the legendary Bedouin hospitality. Further north, the team had the privilege of flying the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Petra, once a thriving city in the desert with elaborate temples and an amphitheatre all hewn from bedrock. After passing over the mountains at 5000ft, they descended to the Dead Sea where they rounded off the adventure skimming over the salty waters at sunset 1000ft below sea level.

About the photographer

Fergus Kennedy is a marine biologist, photographer, and film-maker, and an experienced multi-rotor pilot and camera operator. Through his company, Skylark Aerial Imaging, he provides aerial video, still photography, and 3D modelling services to clients including the BBC, ITV, ABC Television, Canon Europe, Toyota, Nissan, Love Productions (Fergus is responsible for the intro sequence for the Great British Bake Off), WWF, and the Royal Navy. His first book Drone Photography Masterclass was published by Ammonite Press in 2017 and he is a judge for the Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition. This autumn he serves as consultant editor on the new book Masters of Drone Photography which will bring together an amazing collection of drone photographers from around the world and share their secrets on how they achieve such wonderous photos.

Skylark Aerial Imaging www.skylarkaerialimaging.com
Drone Photography Masterclass www.thegmcgroup.com
Ammonite Press www.ammonitepress.com
Outdoor Photographer of the Year www.opoty.co.uk

From the lofty heights of a sea plane one is privy to a different view—where natures colours bleed out in rich and varied hues, like roots of a tree.

The image above and those below are part of a dynamic exhibit by Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon AO, entitled: Girt by Sea, launched today by Canon Australia.

The unique showcase comprises a stunning collection of 100 large-format aerial images of our coastline captured and reproduced in rich detail and displayed on a scale as bold as the voyage to capture them. Australian Foreign Minister Hon Julie Bishop MP will officially open the exhibition tomorrow at Paddington Town Hall, with the doors opening free of charge to the public from Saturday 16 June until Wednesday 27 June, 10am–6pm daily.

“Girt by Sea the latest in a series of major collaborations for Canon locally and we’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together with some of the most creative minds in Australia,” says Canon Australia’s Director of Consumer Imaging, Jason McLean. “It’s great that Tony and Denis approached Canon with Tony’s vision because the scope and purpose of this audacious project was immediately appealing. We’re proud of our products, but ultimately we’re known for what people like Tony and Denis do with them – and I think we all agree that they’ve done something very special indeed.”

Tony Hewitt comments on the collaboration: “As Helen Keller famously said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. It had always been my dream to create a project on the scale of what we’re unveiling today and I am sincerely grateful to Canon Australia for their confidence in us and their support and sponsorship of the adventure.”

Fuelled by the spirit of curiosity, the gregarious duo of explorers took to the skies on an adventure to fulfil a childhood dream.

The Dream: Since his school days singing Advance Australia Fair in assembly, Tony Hewitt was fascinated by the curious expression ‘girt by sea’. Years later as an acclaimed photographer, ‘girt by sea’ became the metaphor for an epic Australian adventure: to circumnavigate Australia’s coastline by air in one 31-day trip, capture it in stunning detail and bring new meaning to those three words. Tony shared his dream with close friend and accomplished photographer Denis Glennon AO, and the pair decided to make the dream a reality.

“I knew that only a privileged few had explored Australia’s breathtaking coastline to any significant degree from the air. So, I got to wondering what an adventure it would be to experience all of it in one go; to capture and reveal its magical, ever-changing beauty,” says Tony Hewitt. “Girt by Sea started as an ambitious dream and now it’s a lived experience. More than that, the collection means that we can now hold the understanding of those three words in our hands.”

The journey of discovery: Commencing and finishing at Jandakot Airport, Western Australia, the voyage took an anticlockwise flight path allowing both photographers to shoot simultaneously through front and rear portside windows of the Cessna 210 light aircraft, which generally tracked just off the coast.

“This was never a documentary trip; it was a voyage of discovery akin to the explorers of old,” says Denis Glennon. “There’s lots of planning and preparation with a trip of this scale but ultimately it’s instinct and curiosity that led to us taking the images in our collection. We had an expectation of what we might see courtesy of Google Earth, but what we actually saw when we got there blew us out of our seats every time.”

The challenges: Following extensive research of historical weather patterns, especially for the more remote southern and northern regions, April was selected as the optimal time of the year to complete and aerial circumnavigation of the coastline in one go. The decision proved a good one and the pre-planned schedule was adhered to, despite challenging weather on several days.

“We had to complete the trip in 31 days so planning had to account for the journey and photography time and we had to provide the pilots with the way points ahead of each leg. We could delay take-off or get out early but we had to stick to time,” says Tony Hewitt. “Planning can get you so far but we had to constantly account for variables such as tides, weather conditions and just the unexpected marvels that we would find when we were faced with a location for the first time.”

The Collection: “The collection expresses what Girt by Sea means to us – it’s the emotional response to what we saw a point in time captured in beautiful, large-format images,” says Denis Glennon. “It’s the result of our daily decision to focus on what we actually find, not on what we expect to find – that’s the spirit of exploration!”

“I hope people share the same emotional response of ‘Wow – look at that!’ that we did when we encountered these places,” says Tony Hewitt. “It doesn’t really matter where it is. What is so striking is the texture, colour, and shape of our coastline. We have in our minds a hard line dividing land from sea, but it’s actually a much more fluid transition.

Images are available for purchase framed and unframed online and at the venue.

Experience ‘Girt by Sea’…

Location: Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford Street Paddington, NSW 2021
Exhibition dates: Saturday 16 June – Wednesday 27 June 10am-6pm
Entry: Free of Charge

Hosted by Mitch Stringer, join Art on his many trips around the world—or to his own back yard. With audio recorded on location, gain insight into the concepts and places integral to Art’s workshops, seminars, and other events.

Legendary nature photographer, Art Wolfe, explores the visual highlights of Namibia in this episode of ‘Where’s Art?’. The series of short videos, feature a montage of Art’s latest images and insider location advise—a great primer for scouting locations, planning and inspiring your next photographic adventure!

Over the course of his 40-year career, photographer Art Wolfe has worked on every continent and in hundreds of locations. Wolfe’s photographs are recognized throughout the world for their mastery of color, composition and perspective. Wolfe’s photographic mission is multi-faceted: art, wildlife advocacy, education, and journalism inform his work.

Wolfe is the host of the award-winning television series Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge, an intimate and upbeat series that offers insights on nature, culture, and the realm of digital photography. It now airs worldwide.

Wolfe has released over eighty books, including Earth Is My Witness, The Art of the Photograph, Vanishing Act, Human Canvas, and The Living Wild. His photos have appeared in magazines worldwide, including National Geographic, Smithsonian, Stern, GEO, and Terre Sauvage.

Education is a major component of Wolfe’s work, whether it is about the environment or about photography. He leads photographic tours and gives seminars worldwide.

Along with his numerous book and television awards, Wolfe is the proud recipient of the Nature’s Best Photographer of the Year Award, the North American Nature Photography Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers

Wolfe maintains his online gallery, stock agency, and production company in Seattle, Washington.

Brent Stirton sees his camera and craft as a ‘license to look’—with genuine interest and curiosity for people, he seeks the stories which challenge our view of the world. Winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017, his coverage of rhino poaching in South Africa impressed judges as both gritty and graceful. In this issue, Brent talks candidly with BE Journal about the unvarnished side of photojournalism, and explains why he is committed to creating confronting images that are beautiful to look at. We also discuss his policy on principled photography, the value of celebrating good people through social media, and the importance of supporting effective conservation through informed advocacy.

We also explore a new UK initiative, Back from the Brink, aimed at sparking interest in local wildlife. The project reminding us that endangered wildlife exists within our own neighborhoods. RSPB Photographer, Simon Roy, loves exploring his garden for images of timid and tiny things and shows us life in places we don’t think to look… under bramble, in a boot, amongst moss and mushrooms live chubby and cheerful bank voles. Inside a chestnut, on a clothes line, atop a garden fork, or bottom’s-up in a yogurt pot you will find doting owls, naughty squirrels, and nesting frogs.

In our biggest issue ever, we present a Showcase of Visual Storytelling—from miniature wonders in the garden, to monstrous discoveries beneath the ice. Exploring the Arctic with Art Wolfe, learning about Sacred Nature with Jonathan and Angela Scott, and meeting Ken Drakes ‘Animal Beings’.

As Art Wolfe says, Explore. Create. Inspire.