New To Drones - Advice Please!

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Apologies if I am posting in the wrong area... I'm new to the forum so bare with me! I currently offer a variety of real estate services including pre-purchase and environmental inspections. We used to offer Virtual Tours back in the good ole days, but that, like easy mortgages has run itself into the ground. I have done a lot of research on how to get started in the aerial photography business and even looked at one of those goofy balloons years ago to get the aerial shots! LOL I have been putting off getting serious about the drones because quite frankly the technology is kind of intimidating but it looks like in order to stay ahead in business you have to keep up with today's tech world as well as the competition! I am hoping to get some advice from you guys on the best type of drone to start with (considering there may be a few crash & burns to start with) as well as any suggestions on applicable software for processing! There are so many models and opinions out there... I'm confused! I look forward to hearing from anyone offering advice and any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Landshark & welcome!  The typical advice to someone starting out is to get an inexpensive but well designed  "starter" drone to learn on.  I'm no expert on those, but if you look around on the forum there are several recommendations, none of which I'm competent to vouch for.  Alan also maintains a list of inexpensive drones on, You may also want to go the simulator route,  I did try a Great Planes simulator & hated it, but that's just me.  The  not so dirty little secret is that a good and expensive UAV is much easier to fly than one of the cheapos.  The GPS lock and things like object avoidance provide much greater stability as well as the ability to fly in winds 25-30 mph.  Still, I guess there are some good reasons not to drop $1200 - $1500 before you figure out if this is something you really want to do.

Once you decide to move up to a system capable of producing the  images you'll need for real estate work. I'd advise staying away from UAVs that are designed to use a GoPro camera.  Those cameras are made for close up work, the lens is too wide and there's way too much distortion. The big hitters right now are DJI Phantom 3 & 4 & Inspire and the Yuneec Typhoon H - all excellent machines.  I fly a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, and I just love it.  Rock solid in the air, very easy to control, lots of flexibility and a camera that produces great images and video.

For still images I shoot raw DNGs and use Photoshop for post production.  I send videos to my 15 year old nephew for edits. He's not only a lot younger, but also quicker & smarter than I'll ever be.

I think the single most important tool for starting out in the business is a portfolio of your shoots.  I continue to use a series of the same properties taken from the ground and from the air - really demonstrates the advantages of aerial work and is especially good for waterfronts and large commercial properties.

Whatever you do, please don't forget to have a good time doing it & Fly Safe!


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Thanks for the reply... very good advice and much appreciated! I understand about the younger kids today being more tech savvy. I have my 12 year old niece fix my smartphone when I screw up the settings! I looked at the Phantom, very nice machine! There are a lot of different ones out there (which I'm sure you know) but I will start with an inexpensive one to get used to it. However, I see what you mean about the added features for easier flight with the more expensive ones! I am really excited about this venture and hopefully adding this to our existing real estate and inspection services! Thanks again for your reply!

P.S. Where can I see your portfolio?

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