Photography, in any form, is a difficult business to get into and make a profit. Aerial Photography is especially difficult as the marketable areas are more specific and harder to find. Equipment is expensive and customers are difficult to find. However, if you know what you are doing and what to look for, you can build a profitable aerial photography business by following some simple guidelines.
Steps to Start Aerial Photography Business
- It’s a good idea to take course in business management to give you an overall idea on how to start up and successfully manage a business.
- Even if you’ve had photography classes in the past, never discount taking classes to update your knowledge. Equipment and consumer needs change rapidly so it is better to be prepared.
- Flight lessons would be a good idea to familiarize you with how a plane or helicopter responds to different weather patterns. This could have an effect on the quality of your pictures if you are not familiar with turbulence and other factors.
The Business Plan
- Every start up business needs a solid business plan.
- Include your budget, projected expenditures and profits.
- A profit timetable of where you expect to be in the next five, ten and fifteen years will be beneficial and help to keep you reaching for your goals.
- If you are planning on borrowing to fund your business, then a business plan will be requested by the bank or broker.
Research Your Surrounding Market
- One of the most important things you can do is to make sure that your geographical area supports the type of clientele you are looking for.
- Government facilities are a good resource as they will likely hire out aerial photographers to record areas and surroundings.
- Law Enforcement may hire you to cover certain angles and demographic areas.
- Environmental agencies are a good choice as they are constantly surveying the grounds and environmental changes.
It’s important to decide where your actual business will be located. Your decision will be based on budget as well as the geographical area where you live.
- Traditional brick and mortar building offer a lot of advantages for your business. The business building itself will be a marketing boon, and you can showcase your best works on the walls for customers to admire. However, there are more overhead costs with a building; rent, insurance, electricity, etc.
- You could choose to work exclusively from an online website with photo galleries displaying your work. This will be more cost effective if you do not have the budget to rent or lease a building. The drawback, however, is that you will not be reaching as many potential customers in your area as you might with a traditional building.
- Since aerial photography is a very difficult business to compete in, it is vital that you have a strong and aggressive marketing strategy.
- Visit targeted customers (government agencies, construction companies and environmental agencies) and drop off pamphlets and portfolios of your work.
- Post flyers wherever you can, displaying at least one of your better pictures.
- Develop a user-friendly website that showcases your work and allows customers to contact you for future work.