I recently talked with the founder of a very interesting company, FlyByPictures.com, a company that specializes in aerial photography. Although not entirely a new idea, they’ve gone about it very differently than what most would expect. Actually, this is the first time that I’ve personally seen anything like it before.
Normally if you want to take aerial photographs of your property for advertising purposes, inspections, etc. you would hire a pilot and rent an airplane (often owned by the pilot) to go out and circle your property. Because of the flight laws and regulations, most pilots can’t get closer than 1000 feet, the lowest allowed fly zone in most cities. They will take a picture of your property as they fly by with a decent zoom and that’s what you get. As you can imagine, hiring a pilot for this can be quite expensive, often well over $1000. They will guarantee you a picture of your property, but remember this is from at least 1000 feet or more so it’s not very detailed.
Another method Yves, the founder of FlyByPictures.com, described to me is that you can take aerial photographs from someone who owns a gas powered RC (Remote Controlled) helicopter. These RC helicopters however also have limitations and restrictions because they are considered gas powered flying vehicles. Although cheaper than hiring a pilot and renting a plane, their still costly because of the price of the helicopters (generally several thousands), the fuel, the maintenance, the skills required to fly them, and especially they are bound by many rules and regulations which limit their photographing abilities.
Which leads us to Yves’ company’s new method of aerial photography. What he’s discovered is that people generally want closer images, more detailed, and don’t want to spend as much money, which makes a lot of sense. To do this, he’s taken a battery powered helicopter and modified it to take high resolution photographs as these (I won’t go into the details of his helicopter as these are his trade secrets). The advantage of using this system is multi-fold. First, because of the type of helicopter and modifications it isn’t subject to the rules and regulations of a gas powered RC helicopter. He can fly it up to 300 feet without any issues. Secondly, the costs are much lower than a gas powered RC helicopter. And thirdly, because he can fly closer as well as fly virtually anywhere, he can get some very amazing aerial photographs as you can see in the pictures (as well as with this video of an aerial flyby).
Because of all of these advantages he can offer a superior quality service for a lower price than his competitors. This is great news because it’s now become feasible to use aerial photography for many purposes that were cost prohibitive before. Yves’ informed me that the main intention of his company is to generate pictures for advertising purposes, such as aerial photographs of commercial buildings, golf course pictures of golfing holes, MLS listings to show the full property, flybys of new developments, etc. You can just imagine all the possible applications! It opens up whole new markets!
I might make it seem simpler than it is here, but I can tell you Yves definitely put some time learning how to correctly modify and fly his specialty helicopter. I personally saw him maneuver it with ease that seemed like second nature to him, which I’m sure came with a lot of trial and error. The good news is that for us, because of his investments into this new technology, we now have new tools that were before only accessible to richer clients.
All in all I can say I was thoroughly impressed with Yves’ company FlyByPictures.com. I suspect he will get very far and demand will grow quite rapidly.