Considering A Career In Virtual Tour Photography Category

Tips to Help Drone Pilots Get Their Business Off The Ground

Aerial Drone PhotographySo you passed the Part 107 test, and now you’re working to build your aerial services business.

But how do you get started, and what are some of the key things to keep in mind?

These six tips were created to support you as you’re getting your business off the ground. Hope you find them helpful!

1. Develop Your Shot List

Of course, the first thing you need to do is master basic flight proficiency.

This may take a while, but it’s crucial. Make sure to use a cheap drone if you’re just starting out because you may well crash—trust me, it happens.

Using an inexpensive drone will help you build confidence. Check out YouTube videos from other real estate marketers, virtual tour providers or from people in the aerial services you want to do, in order to get a sense of the kinds of shots professional drone pilots are doing.

Practice orbits, side pans, and reveals, and develop a go-to list of shots for the type of work you want to do. This will help you get your skills up to speed, and will also mean that you know exactly what your workflow and process will be when you do land work.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to make the examples included in your portfolio as diverse as possible. It might even be worth taking a job or two for free/low pay if it is interesting, and will help beef up your portfolio. That being said, be careful about free work—most often people value services at what they cost. But if you really want a hotel in your resume, and you get an opportunity, it may be the time to jump on the moment.

2. Then—Get a Portfolio Together and On the Web ASAP

It’s hard to sell a service that you can’t prove you’re any good at.

A portfolio helps demonstrate your expertise, and also gives people a way to find you online. It also lets people who have already hired you easily tell others about your work.

The online aspect of putting together a portfolio can seem intimidating, but there are plenty of resources out there that are super user-friendly when it comes to building a website, and can help you get started.

Here’s a list of sites that can help you create a simple, inexpensive website:

WordPress
Squarespace
Wix

You can take a weekend to build your site on your own using YouTube tutorials to guide you, or you can find someone on a freelancing website like UpWork to help you at a relatively low cost.

Pro Tip: If you do decide to hire someone to build your website, make sure you know exactly what you want. Make a list of how many pages you want created, what the text should be, what you want the architecture to look like, and so on. The more organized you are up front, the more you will save.

3. Choose Your Hardware Carefully

When it comes to hardware you don’t need to spend a fortune, but you do need to be thoughtful and make sure you have the drone, camera, and other equipment that suits the type of drone service work you do.

There are plenty of camera drones out there for aerial cinematography, and you don’t need the latest and greatest system to get the job done. Focus instead on the end result you want to produce, and work backward to match the appropriate tool to the job.

Sure, you could get a DJI Inspire 2 and attached DJI’s newest ZenMuse X7 camera to it—and you should, if you have the budget, and you know you’ll make the investment back through the work it will get you—but there are plenty of professional drone pilots out there still working with a Phantom Pro 2 and a GoPro.

Do your research, think through your goals, and determine the appropriate hardware for your work.

4. Create a Sales Strategy

Let’s face it—sales is uncomfortable for many people.

Just because you want to provide aerial services doesn’t mean you want to be a salesman or –woman.

But having a sales strategy is crucial. You can bet that your competitors have one, and if you’re losing business to them, that could be why.

To be clear, a sales strategy doesn’t have to mean you’re going to be a snake oil salesman, hocking bad goods for marked up prices. In fact, your strategy could center on complete transparency around pricing, and telling your clients exactly the value and concrete deliverables they’ll get for different price points.

The point is, you have to think about sales—it doesn’t just happen on its own.

Pro Tip: Because sales don’t come naturally for many of us, it helps to develop a sales script that you work through so that you have the language to fall back on when you’re trying to close a deal with a potential client. Make sure to work in information on pricing, service delivery, airspace research, insurance, and why you’re better than the guy without a remote pilot certificate who’s charging less, but probably has a lower quality product (not to mention he’s operating illegally).

Keep in mind that many clients will not be aware of all the complicating factors—not to mention expenses—that go into aerial services work, and make sure to share these things with them. You can even break these items out in a mock invoice, so they can have something to take away and review

5. When It Comes to Marketing, Think Local

Your most likely customers are probably right in your neighborhood.

So if you’re going to spend money on marketing to bring in leads, make sure you’re spending locally.

Online, this would be targeted Facebook ads, or targeted Google ads with Google AdWords, and similarly targeted efforts (it’s pretty amazing how targeted you can get with geographic and demographic data points using digital ads these days—which means you don’t need to waste money showing your ads to people who aren’t relevant to you).

Offline, marketing local means creating a list of real estate brokers in your local market, or running free drone workshops with real estate offices to establish your expertise and educate potential clients on the value you can provide.

If you can show local brokers how much is required to do aerial shoots on their own—buying a drone, learning how to fly, getting certified, buying the right insurance, handling post-production—they may well hire you instead of going to all that trouble. And either way, making local contacts will give you the chance to share your portfolio and get it in front of more people (remember item #1 from this list!).

6. Keep Honing Your Skills

Don’t forget to continue honing your skills. Sometimes you can get so busy with the day-to-day of creating and running a business that your skillsets stagnate. Don’t let this happen!

The more you can be working to become better, the more your work will stand out.

Even if you only set aside one or two hours a week for your own growth—whether it’s in post-production, or learning how to use a new sensor like one for aerial thermography, or maintaining and beefing up your flying chops, the investment will pay dividends as times passes and you continue to improve.

And remember—the better you are, the more quickly you can work and the more you can charge. Pretty sweet.

Know a high school student who wants to get FAA certified to be a commercial drone pilot? Make sure to tell him or her about Drone Pilot Ground School’s new High School STEM Scholarship for Aspiring Commercial Drone Pilots.

7. Get connected

One last tip – Get connected with a National Drone Service provider to increase your chances of snagging jobs from large national and international drone photo and video initiatives.  

 


The Formula 81 – Business Plans for Real Estate & Virtual Tour Photographers

Photography Business Building Plan

Building a photography and virtual tour business starts with a business plan. It might help to think of the structure of this plan the same way you would the building of a house. You work in stages, and that’s because there are some things you cannot do until you’ve done the other things first. For example; you start by building a foundation and these are the basics that you must have in place before you can move on. In this webinar, we’ll call Stage 1 in our plan The Foundation, since we need to have a strong platform upon which to build the rest the photography and virtual tour business. If we miss any of this, or if we don’t build our foundation well enough, then the rest of what we do on top of that will be much weaker.

Stage 2 in the building plan for a business is where we add a little more structure to the business, and we’ll call this stage The Frame. The things we do during this stage will help us get more clients and increase our revenue, building further upon The Foundation.

Once again we need to complete Stage 2 before we can move on to Stage 3, which we’ll call The Fitout, and that’s where we add the bricks, the doors, the windows and the furniture.  Stage 3 is where we are fitting it out with the luxury features such as RTV’s robust virtual tour software  or aerial drone services that help take us up a level in terms of quality and service offerings. After all, every home has a foundation and a frame, but it’s in the fitout where we separate the good home from the amazing home, and it’s the same with your business. 

What’s important here is to understand the need to do some things first, and not to start trying to add a beautiful staircase and huge windows before we’ve got our foundation built. If that foundation or that frame is incomplete then these Stage 2 and 3 activities won’t be as effective as they would otherwise be, and you could seriously harm your reputation.

During this webinar we will be going through the various steps and activities that a photographer needs to accomplish at each stage of this plan, covering The Foundation, The Frame, and The Fitout. You’ll have a much better idea of what you need to do with your own business and when you need to do it, with helpful hints on:

  • What you must have on your website and why
  • Tips for how to get the most from your Facebook Page and Facebook ads
  • What you can learn from the way McDonald’s makes their burgers
  • How to keep clients coming back to you
  • What not to say in a marketing email
  • How to be a leader in your market
  • … and much more!

Real Estate Photography CoachOur presenter for this webinar is Darryl Stringer, creator and founder of The Real Estate Photography System. Darryl started in real estate photography in 1998 and built a successful business in Brisbane, Australia, photographing billions of dollars worth of commercial and residential buildings. Today he helps photographers and virtual tour providers across the USA, Australia, Canada and Europe get more clients and build more profitable businesses. We hope you can join us on Tuesday, Sept 12th at 7:00 pm EST. You will be glad you did.

Please visit our webinar information page to register.

See you there!

Sincerely,

Team RTV
RTV, Inc – Virtual Tour Software & National Photography Services
Order a virtual tour – 866-947-8687


Real Estate Photography Training Video Series Released In Rockpointe Marketing

How much should I charge for my photography services? How do I make a website that sells? What is the best approach to shooting a property? Starting your own virtual tour business can be intimidating. We hear questions similar to these on a daily basis. We understand that being successful in any business hinges on the owner’s ability to get answers to questions like these. Your success is RTV’s success. We are excited to announce a great solution for real estate photographers everywhere.

If you missed our webinar “Through The Lens 4 – Successful Real Estate Photography Tips with Darryl Stringer” or if you listened in but would like to learn more about the topics he spoke about, you are in luck. RTV has invested in an exclusive three-part video series created by Darryl Stringer that will answer the questions above and more.

Darryl is the photography and marketing expertise behind The Real Estate Photography System. He works with photographers around the world, teaching them the most important secrets that he has gleaned over his more than 30-year career shooting real estate photography. In this series, Darryl offers deeper insights on the steps photographers need to take to set their business up for success, as well as demonstrates his shooting and post-processing methods and more. This resource is a valuable addition to our Rockpointe Marketing library and we believe you will agree.

If you are a new virtual tour provider, have been struggling to get your business off the ground, or are a seasoned pro, this Rockpointe Marketing exclusive video series is a must see.

Do you need to purchase or renew your Rockpointe Marketing membership? Follow the links from the sidebar in your control panel or simply visit rockpointemarketing.com to join. You will be glad you did.


RTV Welcomes Darryl Stringer of The Real Estate Photography System On October 25, 2016

Real Estate Photography System

Having great photography is important, and you should be working on improving your image quality all the time, but that’s not the only thing that determines whether or not you will have a great business.

In fact, two of the biggest impacts upon your success as a real estate photographer are pricing and marketing.

On Tuesday October 25th we will be joined by Darryl Stringer, an 18 year veteran of real estate and architectural photography (and creator and founder of The Real Estate Photography System), who will be making a presentation called “Pricing and Marketing Essentials For Your Business.”

During this webinar you’ll learn:
– Four reasons not to compete on price – after all, you don’t want to win the race to the bottom
– How to calculate your fees so you know you’re charging enough for your services and reaching your daily targets, and how a small price rise can make a big difference
– The difference between being busy and being profitable
– The one big idea you can learn from Olympic athletes
– How to charge more for your photography
– Objective criteria that you can use so you know when you should, and should not, be outsourcing your photo editing
– What all photographers should aim for when it comes to promoting their business
– Five marketing ideas that will help you get more clients
– How to transform your business into a profit making machine

You’ll also be provided with multiple PDF worksheets to download, so this will be a very practical session, and something you definitely don’t want to miss.

RTV is very excited to welcome Darryl to the Through The Lens Microphone and hope that you can join us.

Click here to register

If you are a real estate photographer and haven’t tried our virtual tour software, we highly suggest you give it a try. You can start your free no obligation trial here.


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RTV's Tour Track national photography service had a banner 2015. We were able to assign hundreds of jobs to our photography network and 2016 is already off to a great start.

We are excited to announce there are some changes coming to how we will ask our photographers to complete and deliver their orders. Many of our photographers have already completed shoots using our new shoot & deliver method. If you haven't received one of these jobs yet, your next order will likely be a bit different than how you have operated before.

Our aim is to provide a more consistent quality and look to our national clients. As you know, if you give 100 photographers a subject to shoot you will get 100 different results. The same is true for post processing methods. 

Our new photography workflow will not only help us achieve a consistent product, but it will save our photographers a lot of time in post processing. Our hope is that our photographers will have more time to spend working on their own photography businesses as well as spending time with family.  In many cases they will be receiving higher payments for less work as well!

More pay for less work? Sign me up!

On Tuesday, March 1st at 7:00 pm we will be hosting a webinar to discuss all of the exciting new changes and what they mean to you. Whether you are a Tour Track veteran or have never picked up a photography job from RTV you will want to be sure to join us. You will learn how the new process works and if you haven't been a part of Tour Track you will learn how you can be assigned paid photography assignments as well.

Be sure to sign up right away. We look forward to seeing you there!

Click here to sign up for our live webinar Tuesday, March 1st.