I’ve spent many years as a commercial photographer in New York City and have provided a varied array of businesses with photos and video for use in visual marketing and advertising. My goal with each client is to help their particular business build and maintain a strong visual presence on the web and in print by using a style and context that will touch their target audience.
This short article is written from this perspective and is meant to help anyone who is in need of hiring a professional FAA approved commercial drone operator for aerial photography or video – whether it be for business purposes or for personal applications such as a weddings and other events.
How to Hire a Commercial Drone Operator for Photography or Video
- Look at their Portfolio – Before hiring any visual media professional, you should look through their past work and be sure that you like what you see. Why? Well, you can expect that your final results will be very similar. This isn’t a scientific process, it is very subjective. Look over a portfolio and compare it to others. When you find one or more that you like, you’re ready to make contact with the drone photographer or videographer. Remember that just as in regular photography and video, anyone with the money to purchase equipment may run out and start selling you their services. For this reason, there is an enormous variance in the quality and professionalism of the work out in the market and it makes good sense to look over some media before wasting any time communicating with a drone operator.
- Check their FAA Certification – Unlike regular photographers and video professionals, a commercial drone operator must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate legally. The operator must hold paperwork known as an FAA Section 333 Exemption and they must also have a licensed pilot on staff to conduct the drone operation. While it may certainly sound like a bit of overkill to require a real pilot for the operation of a small drone, the FAA’s reasoning is quite simple. Having a licensed pilot present during drone operations insures that the flight(s) conducted are in accordance with all local airspace restrictions. A licensed pilot has something he can lose if he operates illegally or irresponsibly — his license. Hiring an FAA certified drone operator is important in order to help insure that they operate legally and will not expose you or your company to any unnecessary risk or liability. To find out whether the company you’d like to hire holds an FAA certification, just check the complete list of certified companies and individuals here: Authorizations Granted Via Section 333 Exemptions