Success as a commercial drone pilot isn’t solely dependent on piloting skills. Rather, each facet of the drone industry relies on a different subset of skills to shine. Drone license classes can teach the average person how to fly a drone, but someone looking to become an aerial photographer will need more specific training. Photography is an art, to be sure, but an art that is backed with science and best practices.
To start, the operator needs to know what the conditions will be on the day of their flight. High winds, low light and low visibility can all be detrimental to drone photography. Proper planning can help the photographer choose a time of day that will be beneficial to their pictures – the angle of sunlight and position of the sun need to be taken into account. While battery technology is advancing, flight times are still relatively short. As such, knowing the goals ahead of time prevents running out of time when the drone is in the air.
Picture quality should also be taken into account. Most drones have several options for file type and compression, with some drone license classes going into the more technical aspects of the different options. Lower compression and higher file size generally mean a higher quality picture and more options in post processing. Taking the perfect picture is only the first step in the equation, as it will still need to be edited properly for maximum impact.
Ultimately, a photographer will also need to take into account the rules and regulations that apply to their intended drone flight. A drone pilot license is required for commercial photographers, and drone license classes are critical for understanding the law. Many famous landmarks and popular locations are restricted flight zones – although these can potentially be waived for someone with the appropriate drone pilot license.
Aerial photography is not a new field by any means, but drones have created an environment where the average person can get involved. The cost barrier to entry is significantly lower than it was even 10 years ago, and demand has skyrocketed. Real estate, marketing, safety and inspection all rely on drone-based aerial photography to augment their businesses, and professional operators who have attained their drone pilot license stand to capitalize on this.