Flagship Photo

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About Flagship Photo

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  1. Business is about money, so learn how you can make money for potential clients. What I mean is, don't waste time handing out business cards, perfecting your website, paying for AdWords, etc. These could all work, but they're not immediately focused on giving potential customers something that benefits them. It's one step away from spam. I built my photo business (on the ground, now expanding into drone photography) by: 1: Identify recently constructed or soon-to-be-finished buildings in your neighborhood/city 2: Research online - who is the architect, construction company, owner, developer, etc. Do they have great photos of their work yet? If they do, do they have aerial shots yet? THEIR BUSINESS DEPENDS ON SHOWING OFF THEIR COMPLETED WORK - if you can shoot aerial photos of their work, they will pay you for it because it makes them look good. Even small buildings can be worth $1m+, any 5+ story commercial property is likely worth $10m+. Architects want to look good for future clients, building managers need to lease space ($100k+ per year rent), owners want to show their investors their beautiful valuable properties (not show crappy cell-phone shots of what they spent millions of dollars on), etc. 3: Shoot a building as if you were hired. Pick a building that doesn't yet have aerial shots (if they existed, they'd be online, because every party wants to show off their best shots of their work). Retouch it and make it look as good as possible, again as if you've been hired to do it. 4: Send a nice email directly to the person in charge. Find the principal within the architecture firm who designed the building (you can find this if you dig around deep enough online), or at least the marketing department. Hi - here's some aerial photos I shot of one of your buildings. If you think these images would be helpful in your marketing efforts we can discuss licensing options. If you have any future projects finishing up soon I'd be thrilled to provide aerial photos to help your company look its best." So, you've put time into this (perhaps 2-5 hours), and there's no guarantee of a paycheck. Worst case scenario you have some great photos for your portfolio (don't shoot buildings that look bad, or in bad weather, or otherwise won't be portfolio-worthy at this stage). What you've done is send a business an opportunity to pay you to make them look better. Often the email I get back is "Fantastic! We hadn't even thought of shooting this project aerially, but these look great and help tell the story of the building. What are your licensing fees? By the way, we have five other projects in town that would benefit from this type of photo - can you come into the office and speak with us this week?" Sometimes no email comes back, sometimes they politely decline. But often a positive response with a desire to pay you money comes back. Also, if you've done your research, you know there's at least 3, maybe as many at 10 companies involved with the project you shot, so chances are very good at least one of them will want the images. Some parties are thrilled to pay $400+ per image. They have expensive websites, get paid well for their work, and depend on beautiful photos to sell themselves. Other parties (e.g. window installers, structural engineers, etc) may have rudimentary websites but would still be happy to pay $100 for a few nice shots. I'm an architectural photographer on the East Coast and I can confirm that all of my clients would love aerial shots of their projects, whether by me or someone else. The more beautiful and professional your photos the more opportunity you'll get, but for now any aerials are novel to many clients. Hope that helps! There's a million ways to get into this business, and this is simply the way that has worked for me. I wish you the best of luck!
  2. Hi Karirwi, The most important thing is finding out what your clients need and how you can make it for them, and how much they expect to pay. Don't buy tons of expensive equipment only to learn that your clients don't need any of that. Ask around (email, phone, in person) - what photos/videos do you need to market your properties, and how much do you pay? Does it take a full day to shoot, or just one hour? If you can offer drone services you may have a big advantage over your competition. You may be the only one in your area offering drone photos. If clients are willing to pay a lot for these, you can afford very nice equipment. If they will pay less, then start with a basic drone. If you get clients who pay you, you can grow your business week by week, and that pay will cover your equipment and labor. Many people get obsessed about getting perfectly set up with a perfect website, portfolio, etc but don't think about who their clients will be and what they need. Best of luck! I think if you can learn to shoot beautiful photos and videos from a drone you will have great success. Realtors, vacation rentals, hotels, golf courses or other outdoor recreation, and many other companies will value your service!
  3. Hi Hacktorious, I'm an architectural photographer and am starting to use a drone to expand my capabilities. My advice to you is to run your business with copyright and licensing at its core (assuming you're in America, different countries have wildly different copyright laws). You are the author/creator/artist, so you own the work you create. You then license usage of this work to your clients. This is very important because you can sell the same work to multiple parties, either all together (many parties split your fee), or you shoot for one and then license the images to additional parties. The big challenge here is clients' understanding of this. Most realtors in my experience, especially single-family and condo brokers, want 20+ photos for a listing and put everything on the MLS which is a big copyright grey area. They get the photos and assume they own them free and clear and can give them to anyone. That's not necessarily bad (I guess morally speaking), but it destroys your business because it greatly decreases the perceived value of your work. Realtors are paying you out of their own commission check (which they aren't guaranteed to get if they can't sell the property), which typically means they want to spend as little as possible so they can sell a property. The images are just a means to an end. Architects on the other hand need high quality images to show their work for years to come. They have a marketing budget (they're a company and this is a line item) and depend on showing their creations (homes, schools, restaurants, etc) to future clients in presentations and online in order to stay competitive. There's great value in this, which justifies high quality images with attention to detail, aesthetics, etc. Further, these images can be published in local and national media, used in advertisements, and on and on... all of which can be covered and charged for in licensing. I'm being a bit unfair to realtors here, but that's based on my experience of being told "oh, we sometimes pay our secretary $20 if she comes along to shoot some photos" compared to architects devoting a full day of 5 employees to come out to help make a shoot high quality with multi-thousand-dollar budgets. Also, I prefer to charge clients by-the-image. If they want 5 images that's probably a half-day shoot with a half-day retouching. If they want 15+ that's a long day with lots of retouching. If you're charging by-the-image, this naturally works out to more money for more work. If you charge a flat fee for your time (is a day 4 hours or 16?), the client often wants a billion photos because they're paying a flat fee and will squeeze as much out of you as they can. If a flat fee is required by the client make sure the work is portfolio worthy and the fee is high enough that you won't be obligated to give away too many hours of your time. IN SHORT - find the architect/homebuilder/designer/engineer and work for them by licensing your copyrighted work to them. All of these people benefit from beautiful drone photography, either alone or in combination with a formal interior/exterior shoot. They will value your services and be thrilled to see their creations from the sky. High-end realtors may be a good bet, but any homes under $1m or $500k likely won't have the budget to compensate you for doing great work. Best of luck!