What I normally do is send the client a proposal. Let's pretend it's for one morning sunrise shot of a construction site. In that proposal I put in the client name, date, when I will fly (if there are a range of dates based on the weather being good), pricing for the flight and a section on Rights. Under Rights it depends on the client - if it's real estate like a home, I just say the client retains the rights to use the footage and post it on whatever sites they wish as well as add whatever titles they need to in order to sell the home. I usually do that for them so they never have to add to it. I also put "my name/Mike retains the rights to use the footage for promotional purposes only, such as a demo reel." - I've never had anyone have an issue with that. I've done that with large construction and architecture firms too.
I feel like if you have something like that in your language with them then they understand you're using it to promote your business. Now, there may be an issue of timing with that. Your client may want you to hold off using it. For example, I did a huge university building project and they were holding a symposium discussing it and showing the video there, so they wanted me to wait until after they showed it to their audience before I put it on my website or social media. I was more than happy to comply with that. The thing is just asking upfront: "hey do you care if I use a shot or two out of this for my future promotional reel?". Keeping them happy = return business from them but also them referring you to the other contractors on that site and others they know.
Here's another thing though: private links. I have tons of projects that I haven't shown publicly but when I get a call for a project and they say "have you done____?" I can send them a private link with a password to a video I've shot for a client that isn't public, or I just say "check out my client's website ____ to see the work I did for them".
For your example of them adding titles and motion graphics to your work - this happens a lot. You've gotta decide if you can do it as well as they can and if you want to offer that for one, but also they may have internal branding that they never let their video contractors add because they have an in-hour person do it for all their images and video collateral. For one, it's less of a headache for you, especially with any changes they want over and over again with font sizes/color/movement for motion graphics. So it might be nice to just say "I'll go shoot it for you, you do the titles, graphics, edits." If you get smaller clients that don't have that, you should ask upfront for their branding guidelines: fonts, logos, colors. Most companies have a PDF with all that laid out in them. If the company is too small they might not, so I always ask if they're working with a graphic designer that did their logo. They can help you get a large enough logo file.
If someone does something cheesy with your footage you can remove the tag of your name/company from Instagram (and maybe facebook too) if you don't want that to be associated with your business.
I'd just keep updating your reel. Cut together your best shots you have right now and as you shoot more add them on or replace ones that you don't love as much with the new, better shots.
The biggest thing I see though are people putting these super long reels of aerial shots with 12 shots of the same building that aren't that different. After about 3 of the same thing the audience loses interest unless there's really that much to see about a particular site.
So here's a quick basic rundown: I get an email "I heard you do drone work, can you film x site for me and how much would that be?" - I get the address, check it on AirMap and see if it's Class G or if I need to get permission to fly there for the airspace. I ask the client what they're looking for: time of day, anything special going on like cranes moving on site, a huge load of concrete walls coming in, figure out when we could shoot it, etc. I also ask them if they want it edited or just shots that they can edit. I also say "I usually edit a 30-90 second spot depending on what you need" and include that price unless they just want raw footage. I then send a proposal with the pricing and that paragraph about rights. Typically they respond "that's great, let's try to shoot next week" or whenever they want it done. I also ask if they're meeting me on site or if I'm looking for someone in particular. If it's a big construction site it's usually a foreman and sometimes they'll say we need to wait a second for a truck or crane, etc. Otherwise with real estate I have agents that know my work well enough now that they don't bother to meet me at the homes anymore so I just text them when I'm on site. I do the shoot, do the edit, or I dropbox the digital files to them and send them an invoice on Square to pay, depending on the client. Most real estate agents like to pay with their card on Square, larger companies want an invoice over email and they mail a check. I might post a behind-the-scenes photo or something but I usually wait until the client has posted the shot to their social media before I post it.
Hope that helps, Nick.
Hey Av8Chuck - quick question for you: Can we/Nick just go out on a Saturday, taking off and landing from a public place (following 107 rules/airspace) and shoot buildings in plain site and use clips of those in a promotional reel? As long as he doesn't claim "I shot this for x company"? I only ask because our Economic Development Council wanted tons of shots of construction happening all over our city to show the growth happening at that time. So that's what I did - went all over town, took off from public areas, showed construction happening and used those shots in their video about how the city is developing. In my reel no one knows if I shot that for x company or the EDC, etc. I'm also not claiming that I shot it for anyone other than the company that hired me. I also didn't ask for permission from anyone, though I didn't fly too close to any of the sites to pose any safety issues, plus none of the cranes were operational on a Saturday morning. Just curious on your thoughts, I agree with what you've said in your other posts here - thanks!