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04-12-2019, 12:30 PM   #1
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drone for photography

Is anyone using a drone for high quality photography? My company recently spent a small fortune on aerial photography. Now my boss is under the impression that she can save a lot of money by buying a drone and doing the photography ourselves. We already have a DJI Phantom II that uses a GoPro 3, but I don't think that's what she has in mind. She's wanting shots that can be used on the cover of a glossy magazine...or in full page ads...covers of brochures...that kind of thing. Part of the problem is that she keeps asking the opinion of videographers...not photographers. Video guys (my co-workers and me, included) like the DJI Mavic Pro 2. It's perfect for what we're wanting to do video-wise, but I'm not sure how it'll do with still photography. Anybody got experience in this area?

04-12-2019, 12:55 PM   #2
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Pros & Cons of Using a GoPro as an Everyday Camera | GoPro Tips
04-12-2019, 01:54 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
Is anyone using a drone for high quality photography? My company recently spent a small fortune on aerial photography. Now my boss is under the impression that she can save a lot of money by buying a drone and doing the photography ourselves. We already have a DJI Phantom II that uses a GoPro 3, but I don't think that's what she has in mind. She's wanting shots that can be used on the cover of a glossy magazine...or in full page ads...covers of brochures...that kind of thing. Part of the problem is that she keeps asking the opinion of videographers...not photographers. Video guys (my co-workers and me, included) like the DJI Mavic Pro 2. It's perfect for what we're wanting to do video-wise, but I'm not sure how it'll do with still photography. Anybody got experience in this area?
Look seriously at the larger DJI craft. I believe the 1000 series. 8 rotors and the ability to lift something like 11kg. If I am not mistaken, they have a platform geared to carry and operate the Canon 5D.
They also make a smaller platform with 6 rotors that would be suited to a M43 series camera.
These are big aircraft with a nearly 2 meter wingspan. The 6 rotor craft can lose one motor and limp home, the 8 rotor machine can lose a motor and not notice it, though it will lose ~15% lift capacity. If it loses a second motor it will still limp home providing it still has lift capacity.
A 4 rotor craft will crash with one motor failing.

Note that this is not a cheap venture. Expect to be north of 10k for the craft and controller, batteries, etc, and then whatever camera gear you decide to load onto it.
04-13-2019, 08:27 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Note that this is not a cheap venture. Expect to be north of 10k for the craft and controller, batteries, etc, and then whatever camera gear you decide to load onto it.
Thanks. What I'm finding is pretty much what you're saying. If we want high-quality photography from a drone, it's going to be expensive.

04-13-2019, 07:29 PM   #5
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One of the guys I follow on Farcebook has a DJI Mavic 2 Pro with a Hasselblad onboard. His sunset panorama shots from down on the Florida coast are stunningly good... If I was on my computer I’d post a link, but this silly iPad isn’t cooperating.
05-12-2019, 07:38 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
Is anyone using a drone for high quality photography? My company recently spent a small fortune on aerial photography. Now my boss is under the impression that she can save a lot of money by buying a drone and doing the photography ourselves. We already have a DJI Phantom II that uses a GoPro 3, but I don't think that's what she has in mind. She's wanting shots that can be used on the cover of a glossy magazine...or in full page ads...covers of brochures...that kind of thing. Part of the problem is that she keeps asking the opinion of videographers...not photographers. Video guys (my co-workers and me, included) like the DJI Mavic Pro 2. It's perfect for what we're wanting to do video-wise, but I'm not sure how it'll do with still photography. Anybody got experience in this area?
It is important to understand that it is not legal under any circumstances to take images with a drone that will be used for financial gain, either directly or indirectly (example: donating). Doing so for a magazine cover would be illegal, by definition unless the author of the image holds an FAA Drone certification or license. The FAA written test is similar to the one I took when I got my pilots license. Other tests are required too. Once you have a drone license/permit you must fly said drone under the strict controls and very limited environment as would a pilot.

Of course, from everything that I have seen over the years that hasnít stopped many people from violating FAA rules. But this will change as the FAA is beginning to apply more pressure and oversight to drone operations.

A lot more goes into drone photography than snapping a few images. If they are doing it right the price will appear fairly steep to the un-anoited.

Stephen
05-12-2019, 09:26 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
Anybody got experience in this area?
Where's LaurenOE when you need her... maybe a wee PM to her.
05-12-2019, 09:46 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SCGushue Quote
It is important to understand that it is not legal under any circumstances to take images with a drone that will be used for financial gain, either directly or indirectly
This isn’t even true in your jurisdiction.


Last edited by Wheatfield; 05-12-2019 at 10:28 AM.
05-12-2019, 10:47 AM   #9
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The FAA is more like a Pitbull than a Bloodhound. What I mean by this is that the FAA is not very good at sniffing out the offenders but once they have found the offenders they can latch on without letting go and do a tremendous amount of damage. Once they have spotted an offender, depending on how egregious they believe the drone actions are, they can charge multi-thousand dollar fines per drone photo incident. One photo could have thousands of dollars infines with multiple incidents being into the tens of thousands of dollars. They could also seize all of the drone/camera equipment if they believe the incident is egregious enough. This risk and the potential cost is the primary reason that people hire somebody with a FAR part 107 license instead of doing it themselves under FAR part 48. Itíll cost a couple of hundred dollars under part 107 just to take the license test, not counting how much time required to study and learn the test. Even under part 48, there are many more restrictions than most people are aware. If you donít follow the part 48 rules, you still risk fines and the possible seizure of the equipment. I would highly recommend that if someoneís going to take drone photos that in anyway that will be used commercially that they get their part 107 license as the FAA can come back at you even years later. I would also recommend studying up under the part 48 rules to keep yourself out of trouble even if you donít intend to sell or use a single photo commercially. Itís the people who arenít studying up and learning/following these rules that you hear about closing down airports.

I donít entirely agree with the philosophy that you need to buy very expensive equipment to take good photos. It is the same whether youíre taking them with your handheld camera on the ground or with a camera drone in the air. It was somewhat true for the early generation of drones, but the cost of the drones has gone down considerably along with the quality of the photos that can be produced have gone up significantly. This is precisely the same argument that some make between amateur photo equipment and professional photo equipment. There are some aspects of the more expensive equipment that gives you more flexibility and possibly some increase intechnical quality, but it depends on what kind of photos you wish to take and how much effort it will be to take them. Iíve been using a DJI spark drone for about six months now and have managed to take some decent photos/videos. Iím doing this only as an amateur, so I do not have to meet some specific requirement of a client. As I am the client, this gives me the flexibility to take the photos that I want where and when I can within the limitations of the equipment. Hereís an album of some of my photos/videos that Iíve taken so far with my DJI spark. Https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazt/albums/72157688722912063


DAZ
05-12-2019, 12:32 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
This isn’t even true in your jurisdiction.
As per mid 2018...
The below is a quote from Business News Daily...

“Get Licensed

The first thing you will need is a license. Selling drone photos without a license could earn you a $1,100 fine from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The government has mandated that anyone who flies a drone for a commercial, non-recreational or governmental purpose needs to have a special license to do so. This license is called a Part 107, after the rule that governs it.”


com∑mer∑cial
/kəˈmərSHəl/
adjective
1.
concerned with or engaged in commerce.
"a commercial agreement"
synonyms: trade, trading, business, private enterprise, mercantile, merchant, sales; archaicmerchandising
"the vessels were originally built for commercial purposes"
2.
making or intended to make a profit.
"commercial products"
synonyms: profit-oriented, money-oriented, commercialized, materialistic, mercenary
"public opinion was inward-looking and brashly commercial"

Stephen

Last edited by SCGushue; 05-12-2019 at 12:48 PM. Reason: Addition
05-12-2019, 01:07 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SCGushue Quote
As per mid 2018...
The below is a quote from Business News Daily...

ďGet Licensed

The first thing you will need is a license. Selling drone photos without a license could earn you a $1,100 fine from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The government has mandated that anyone who flies a drone for a commercial, non-recreational or governmental purpose needs to have a special license to do so. This license is called a Part 107, after the rule that governs it.Ē


com∑mer∑cial
/kəˈmərSHəl/
adjective
1.
concerned with or engaged in commerce.
"a commercial agreement"
synonyms: trade, trading, business, private enterprise, mercantile, merchant, sales; archaicmerchandising
"the vessels were originally built for commercial purposes"
2.
making or intended to make a profit.
"commercial products"
synonyms: profit-oriented, money-oriented, commercialized, materialistic, mercenary
"public opinion was inward-looking and brashly commercial"

Stephen
And what you posted, that I directly quoted, is not true.
Period.
Your clarification that you posted incorrect information is appreciated.
05-12-2019, 02:33 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
And what you posted, that I directly quoted, is not true.
Period.
Your clarification that you posted incorrect information is appreciated.
With all due respect and courtesy I havenít got a clue what the heck you are taking offense with.

In my initial posting my statement was that you cannot, without a 107 license, sell commercially, nor donate images for the commercial benefit of the person the image(s) are donated to. If you inferred otherwise, I am unaware of what I stated that you take offense with. My second post only served to support specifically what I inferred in my original post.

My point in general was that there is more to legal drone photography than just going up high, snapping an image and selling it. Further to that I have been to a number of events that where drone video is sold (example: weddings) and not one pilot has ever been certified.

Additionally, I posted simply to help other people getting involved in aerial photography to be careful and to avoid potential problems that may cause them to run afoul of FAA rules. It was intended to be helpful and Iím sorry if you felt it was otherwise.

Iíve been on this forum since it was founded and I have always been courteous and respectful to my fellow forum members without exception. I would have appreciated the same.

Stephen
05-12-2019, 09:00 PM   #13
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Well, it turns out that there may not be as much of a problem as I was expecting. First off...yes, we know we need the Part 107 license. Four of us (and soon to be one more) have already taken a few classes at the local community college to prep us for the test. We've also participated in webinars, taken sample tests online, and have been watching prep videos on YouTube. We'll be taking the test for real within the next few weeks. Just so I could get a better idea of what our boss was expecting, I had one of the still photography folks send me some samples of the aerial photos they had purchased recently. A check of the properties of the pics showed they had been taken with a Mavic Pro 2 with the Hasselblad camera. So it looks like the drone we're wanting will do what the still photo folks need, too. Now we just have to convince our boss that something that small can give big results. lol
05-13-2019, 09:20 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SCGushue Quote
With all due respect and courtesy I havenít got a clue what the heck you are taking offense with.

In my initial posting my statement was that you cannot, without a 107 license, sell commercially, nor donate images for the commercial benefit of the person the image(s) are donated to. If you inferred otherwise, I am unaware of what I stated that you take offense with. My second post only served to support specifically what I inferred in my original post.
...
Gentlemen, please stop. Stephen, in the post you had the ďunder any circumstances ď but did not have the 107 license as the exception. Wheatfield went from there, technically true even though you do talk about licensing elsewhere in the post. Youíre both right, we can all chill again.

Jim
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