Consider This Before Booking Your Aerial Drone Photography Project

Consider This Before Booking Your Aerial Drone Photography Project

You’ve probably seen them.  Those incredible aerial photos and videos from a drone.  Just spend a few minutes on instagram searching hashtags like #dronestagram, and you’ll find thousands of jaw dropping aerial photos.  For years, the photos would require very expensive technology to capture. Sometimes, you might even need a helicopter or plane to make it happen.  Now, with advancements in modern technology, a drone or as the pros would much rather call them, is an unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV, can be acquired at a local hobby shop or Staples store for less than a couple of thousand dollars.  The technology has evolved so much that these UAV’s are now capable of flying 500 meters high in some cases and more than 5kms from the launch point.  They can also capture incredible shots in 4K resolution and can produce aerial photos that are simply mind blowing.

So, if you are like many real estate agents, architects, or marketers you’re probably going to consider aerial photography or videography at some point.  The question is, how do you go about it? What should you consider before you go out and hire a drone pilot. Or maybe you can buy a drone of your own?  We’ve put together a list of a few things you should consider before going ahead. Be careful with your drone photography project.


There are a number of restrictions that you should consider before you put a drone in the air.  Many federal governments are regulating how and where drones can be flown.  Regulators are becoming much more strict on where, when and who can fly a UAV.  There are many restrictions including how high you can fly, what time of day your can fly and specific locations where you can and cannot fly a UAV.  These restrictions are often challenging to enforce by local governments because the drones are so fast and nimble and can be spotted in one spot quickly brought down and packed up in another.  However, if you get caught, the fines can be steep and it is in many cases a federal crime.


Insuring a great photoshoot is a must.  Having insurance for your drone is the law.  In fact, the drone insurance actually is more for damage that the drone itself can cause.  It is the law to be able to produce a certificate of insurance when flying. This will protect you against liability caused from injury or death. Take into account that a drone pilot is flying a highly advanced piece of electronic equipment with rotators which are moving fast.  If one prop comes loose or the drone loses signal from the controller, the damage can be extreme.  The good newa are there are no known major incidents yet that have ended in death but it is only a matter of time.  If you are hiring a professional for this, make sure that they can provide insurance coverage to protect your interests.

Federal Approval

Transport Canada is the body that currently oversees the safe flying of UAVs in Canada.  They have a clear distinction between what is recreational flying and commercial flying.  Flying a drone for commercial aerial photography purposes for example is not recreational.  The flight operator requires an SFOC issued from Transport Canada which acts as an approval to fly.  The SFOC will name the location, time, altitude, duration, purpose, experience and more to Transport Canada.  Note:  Many aerial photographers tend to fly without an SFOC.  This is the case either because the process to acquire an SFOC remains complex and involved and also results from the fact that more and more UAVs are becoming available at more reasonable costs to hobbyists.   It is possible to obtain a Standing (blanket) SFOC once you have flown a number of flights on a regular SFOC and have demonstrated an ability to fly safely and without incident.  Working with a Standing SFOC, which does need to be renewed and can be revoked/suspended at any time can expedite the process of getting your aerial photography photos and videos done quickly.   However, there are many steps that must be followed which including notice to airmen (NOTAM) of your flight at least 48hrs in advance to ensure that aircraft in the area know that you plan to fly. Safe operation also means having communication with the nearest airport control tower.


Be sure to evaluate the level of risk involved in the flight.  If the flight is happening in a dense area near lots of people, there are that many more risks.  These risks are not only tied back to the pilot but can extend to those within range of the drone.  One of the greatest problems with commercial drone photography remains that many photographers are simply too inexperienced at flying and by default present inherent risk to those around them, the property and your reputation.


Not all aerial drone pilots are created equal.  There is a definite art to capturing great photos and videos in the air.  You need to take into account many things. They include the composition of the shot, the camera settings, and the flight itself.  Moving the drone too fast or panning without smooth transition can result in bad quality.  Once the photos and videos are ready, extract the files and produce an end-product that catches attention is another talent.  The post editing work to put together a great final product is equally as important.  

So, before you go online and start price shopping drone photography service companies, consider the risk, the quality and the overall legality of what you are about to do.  There is no doubt that there will be more and more growth in the aerial photography space especially for real estate projects so take your time to find a company that can do it right. It’s worth it when your reputation is on the line.

OTBx Air is proud to support safe and legal aerial drone photography and videography.  We work with a Talent Team of professionals who fly with valid SFOC coverage and insurance.  For more information on our aerial photography packages and service, visit or email us at


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