There has been a noticeable change in the aerial photography market in recent years, and the reason is one that few people could have predicted a couple of decades ago. The classic days of aerial photography are coming to an end, and to discover the reason behind such a shift in the market, you don’t need to look any further than drones.
Once upon a time, the humble remote-controlled car was a big feature on children’s Christmas wish-lists, today, the feature spot has been handed over to drones. It seems that you can’t enter a tech shop, toy store, or even a supermarket without stumbling across a model of drone for sale. While these advanced pieces of tech make great toys, they’re also a very important addition to the photography market.
Drones in the Aerial Photography Market
The history of drones dates back more than 100 years, but it’s only very recently that the technology has been brought to a mass consumer and photography market; before then, the attachment of cameras to drones was largely for military reconnaissance-type missions.
As the technology behind drones has developed over the years, the device has become a much more feasible inclusion into a photography market that demands high-quality pictures that are crisp and clear. The drones have become more stable, the attachments have been improved, and the controls have become more manageable.
Where once taking aerial photographs involved the use of a manned aircraft, drones now allow the process to be streamlined and more affordable – leading to the current domination in aerial photography. Drones are an affordable means to explore previously unfeasible angles and map new areas with ease, making them almost indispensable in a vast range of industries.
Many industries have been able to benefit greatly from the slim and easily manoeuvrable drones. Geographical and scientific explorations can be performed with precision, recovering information on fossil fuels and anomalies. Historic drone exploration has opened a whole new avenue for aerial archaeology. There is also a thriving market in commerical drone aerial photography, where drones are used for everything from taking wedding photos to capturing pictures for real estate listings.
The Future of Drone Technology
Since their commercial release, drones have been snapped up in the millions and that figure is only set to keep on rising in the coming years. The technology is open to everyone from the novice but eager photographer to those with years in the industry, offering a new way to capture images that were previously outside of the realms of possibility.
New businesses have been created with drone photography at the centre, and there have already been a number of fascinating drone discoveries, including a 1,000-year-old village and a new species of fish. The emergence of drones has quite literally given the world their very own eye-in-the-sky, and it looks as though the aerial photography market is only going to keep shifting in favour of drones.
Drones have come, seen, and conquered the photography market, but with advancements in drone technology still emerging, the juries out as to what market or industry they’re going to be taking over next.
A fine balance within the drone industry
Experienced photographers are adopting drones to expand their services and range of shots within their portfolio. The accessibility and affordability of drones, in conjunction with the rapidly growing advancement of the onboard cameras have turned photography hobbyists into overnight professionals.
Like with any product and associated market, a variety of models are available, allowing those with the capital available to invest in higher grade products, to still differentiate and offer higher grade imagery. However, the entry level models (Mavic Pro), often referred to as consumer or hobbyist drones are quickly catching up, bridging the gap between consumer and professional drones, increasing the opportunity to capture professional grade images.
This is epitomised by the release of the new Mavic Pro 2 and the Mavic Pro 2 Zoom, the first reviews are extremely positive, reiterating the assumption that DJI really are the industry leaders.
How will this impact the drone market?
As the level of drone users increases over the coming months and years, the airspace governing bodies across the globe face increasing levels of safety issues. As more drones reach for the skies, more safety precautions will have to put in place, to both protect manned aircraft and drone pilots who are permitted to fly commercially (PFCO).
Across the globe we are likely to see a flood of service providers within the drone sector, both legal and illegal, driving differentiation on quality and those that meet legal requirements, e.g liability insurance, PFCO – For example, in the UK the CAA will be responsible to separate hobbyist and commercial pilots and fine and/or prosecute those that fail to meet legislative requirements. Without this, the drone market will become highly saturated, prices will be driven down and the level of safety/quality will quickly decrease with this.
Within the UK the CAA govern the airspace, they are often referred to as the leader in terms of safety, they face ever-growing responsibility to over see what is a new and exciting, yet undetermined industry. If the CAA fail to balance both the implementation of legislation and allowing the industry to naturally progress, we could quickly see the drone industry unravel, this is an extremely sensitive time. Stay tuned for more updates over the coming months!
Written By Joshua Dickinson CAA certified drone pilot