Gathering aerial jobsite images through drone photography has become increasingly popular in recent years. This rapidly growing technology has created efficiencies for capturing photographs and can be useful in a variety of processes including the planning stages, documenting progress and identifying construction-related issues. Moreover, drone-captured photos can be used for creating marketing content through photos and videos that provide construction companies and developers a bird’s eye view of current projects.
In the past, sky-view images could only be captured through a piloted aircraft – an incredibly costly investment for any company. With the introduction of drones however, a myriad of options have emerged, ranging from professional aerial photographers to even DIY alternatives. This article discusses the dangers that exist, possible costs and the overall effectiveness of drone photography to help you decide whether or not drone photography will be a good fit.
First and foremost, prior to deciding on moving forward with drone photography, you must have a clear understanding of the rules and regulations in place. There are two types of drone use, one being commercial the other is recreation. Commercial drone use is defined as anything that benefits or could potentially benefit a business. Capturing drone images for construction companies or developers falls under commercial use, which means you will need permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who also have a list of guidelines that must be followed.
Once you have determined your limitations based on the FAA’s regulations, it is important to assess the dangers that exist. Getting insurance is a good idea, but you will not be granted liability insurance coverage until commercial registration compliance is met. Apart from the legalities and regulations, you must also consider personal safety. Although operating a drone can be learned, inexperienced drone pilots can cause serious accidents that could not only damage the drone itself, but also damage your jobsite. Other team members are also at risk of an accident if an experienced pilot isn’t used.
Drone photography is often seen as a cheaper alternative to airplane or helicopter photography. If you plan on photographing a variety of sites, airplanes and helicopters will have no trouble gathering this footage, and can be done within a few hours. Drones on the other hand need to be broken down, and reassembled between sites, which can take days and even weeks to capture all of the footage you need. Whether you are renting a drone or hiring a professional service, make the extra effort of comparing prices between aircrafts and drones. Although drones seem like the cheaper option, sometimes the time saved and convenience of aircraft photography may be the better investment.
Financial savings may be at the root of your decision, but determining how much value your business will receive in return is an important consideration. A business owner with experience in photography and runs a small-scale company may lean towards renting a drone. Larger companies may be more inclined to hire professional drone or aircraft photography services which will result in higher quality images.
Rather than seeing drones as replacing traditional aerial photography, they should be seen as an alternative instead. Unlike aircraft photography, drones provide more options in terms of price points and usability, even allowing DIY enthusiasts a shot at the pilot’s seat. It is important to first weigh your options and budget before deciding to go ahead or forgo the use of drones. With the growing number of photography methods now available, it is essential to consider all of the options and do the appropriate amount of research to find out whether or not drones are the right investment for your business.