Aerial photography becomes essential for many construction projects. You can view the structure from the sky and obtain a completely fresh viewpoint on your work. It’s also a unique and convenient way to document the construction progress, both for your company and for the client.
Over the last couple years, drones have gained notoriety for their ability to take aerial construction photographs quickly and cleanly. But are they the best choice for your business?
Battling FAA Regulations
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created rules for professionals who use drones for commercial purposes. You’ll need a Special Airworthiness Certificate (SAC) before you can fly a drone over your construction site, which costs time and money. If you’re not willing to jump through legal hoops, you might want to stick to standard methods of aerial photography.
The FAA has created these regulations to prevent drones from interfering with other aircraft. Unmanned aircraft (the FAA’s phrase for drones) present unique safety risks to the U.S. airspace, so it’s essential to follow government guidelines to protect yourself as well as anyone who might be flying in the area.
Hiring Professionals for the Job
If you decide you want to use drones to photograph your construction projects, you must either buy a drone and learn to fly it yourself or hire a professional and outsource the job. Both options are perfectly acceptable, but they each carry risks and expense.
Unless you’re already adept at photography, you probably won’t want to take the first choice. It’ll require you to take time away from your business, which can have its own set of drawbacks.
However, hiring someone else can also prove tricky. Since this industry is new, aerial photographers who use drones aren’t necessarily as skilled or as savvy as those who fly planes and helicopters for the same jobs.
Achieving the Best Quality
Modern technology has produced several high-end drones that capture high-resolution images with startling clarity. Since construction photography requires a high level of detail, you won’t want to rely on a cheap drone with a wide-angle lens and few megapixels.
Many of the best drones also require FAA regulation even when you’re not using them for commercial purposes. If you’re not sure you’ll benefit from a drone for aerial photography, you won’t want to go through this expense.
Hiring a professional becomes, again, your best choice. Pros know how to manipulate drones to get the best angles and coverage. You don’t want to cut your teeth on a professional project, especially if your client is relying on the images to make critical decisions.
Drones can provide amazing images with less work and fuss than you would encounter with other types of aerial photography. However, you’ll have to overcome a few challenges, too, so consider all your options before you settle on the best choice for your business. In the meantime, renew your continuing education requirements by starting your course now.
Photo credits: Drone by Capricorn4049 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38649601