Putting Your Drone to Work

Anyone who’s a photographer can use drones to get that special shot. Wedding photographers, event planners, real estate agents, or almost anyone can use a drone for income. Selling a car? Nothing shows it off better than driving it along a scenic road. Want to make a vacation property look special? Show off its surroundings in a bird’s eye view.

A top-flight consumer drone can capture great images. Your first job just might pay for the drone and all the trimmings like extra batteries and accessories.

But there are a few things you need to know before you start.

(1) Write out what you want to do with a drone. Besides the uses we’ve listed, others could include:

  • Covering sporting events
  • Property inspections
  • Checking a jobsite
  • Agricultural mapping or images over time to monitor crop health and animals
  • Infrastructure inspection and looking into difficult-to-see places like gutters and rooftops
  • Newsgathering
  • Movies

And wherever your imagination takes you!

(2) Write out what you want in a drone.

Drones excel at photography so don’t skimp: it should have a 4K camera and rock-solid flight qualities, like Lily Next-Gen’s Smart Hover™ to keep it in place even in wind.

Most of all, it should be super simple to use. It’s a tool you’ll be using a lot. It should free you to concentrate on getting the perfect image, not worrying about the drone.

Autoflight features like one-touch take-off, hover, and landing are must haves. So should return-to- home automatically if the battery runs low or if your drone loses the signal from your controller.

(3) Use your own, or buy, a large screen smartphone or a tablet.

Use a large screen smartphone or tablet if you’re going to use a dedicated controller. It will display the video and still images from the drone, and overlay this with information you need for flight such as altitude, direction, speed, etc. A dedicated controller generally offers a greater range and a greater degree of precision in flying over using a phone or tablet alone.

(4) Any drone used for work in the U.S., even a small drone, requires the person flying have a drone pilot’s certificate. Getting one isn’t a lot more difficult than a driver’s license but you can’t do it unprepared. It requires that you pass an FAA test as well as a background check.  Info about the pilot’s certificate is here: https://bit.ly/290TYrQ. Also, any drone in the U.S. weighing more than 250 grams (8.8 ounces) needs to be registered with the FAA before its first outdoor flight, a quick and easy process.

(5) Make sure to check any regulations or restrictions in your area, for example no-fly zones. Good drones will help do this for you by showing you where you can and cannot fly.

(6) Practice, practice, practice:

  • Read the owner’s manual front to back. Learn the drone’s autoflight capabilities so you’ll know exactly what it will do under different circumstances.
  • Consider buying a nano-sized drone to practice with indoors first. You’ll learn basic flying skills without any risk of damaging your more costly aerial camera.
  • Fly your work drone in little baby steps in a large safe area until you know where each control is and are comfortable using it.

(7) Create a great sample reel showing off your drone videos to post to your company page, on Facebook, and elsewhere. Consider approaching at least one business opportunity as a loss leader so you can acquire this footage for your reel.

(8) Make lists of your target opportunities. If a business, show them your reel and tell them how much they can save over more costly and riskier manned aircraft like a helicopter. If a wedding or other event photography, show them dramatic shots of people having fun, lifetime memories they couldn’t get any other way. Seeing is believing: if possible, offer to fly your drone then and there so they can see for themselves.

There are a ton of ways to earn money by putting your drone to work. You just need to put your mind to work to imagine and then go out after them

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