Not all drone pilots are photographers, and not all photographers are drone pilots!
One of the most difficult things about hiring a drone operator is knowing what you are going to get for your money for your money, or if the operator you are hiring is going to be able to handle the job that you are placing!
At the present time, the UAV market is very young and is generally separated into 2 camps.
Camp No.1 Is full of photographers and videographers. They love cameras, they love to use the UAV as a creative tool, producing all kinds of beautiful images by carefully manipulating the complex cameras that can be mounted on even the most basic of UAVs. Ask them to carry out an aerial survey with Pix4D or similar and they turn white with fear.
Camp No.2 is full of drone pilots who see UAV as a game changer in a million different industries. As them to carry out an aerial survey or a roof inspection and they cant load up the van quick enough. But ask them to produce some stunning and creative aerial content and they stare back at you vacantly!
Whilst these two camps are the stereotypical illustration of the marketplace at the moment, in my experience, they are not far from the truth! So how do you find the right camp? The answer is to look for both:-
Check out your potential partner's website.
• Does it look up to date and well designed?
• Does the content look good, or is it shakey and fuzzy?
• Does the website talk more about surveys and inspection, or more about photography and video?
Once you have narrowed the field down, call your potential partners and ask them about the services they offer.
• Are they knowledgeable, are they passionate?
• Can you hear unbridled enthusiasm?
• Do they sound like your kind of people?
• Are they charging the correct price? (if it's under £100 ask questions)
And of course, the most important thing to ask is for a copy of their permissions and insurance details before you go any further.
It’s estimated that some 70% of the qualified drone pilots are photographers and just 30% are of the more technical service led ilk. We employ some incredible photographer and also some very fine pilots (I will even include myself in that) and are fortunate to have a large amount of our resource at our disposal, but it isn’t the same for everybody. So be careful, do your research and ask plenty of questions.