High Flying Photography

 

Written by Austin Marshall in the December 2016 Issue

Aaron & Alyssa Brackett with their son CadenAerial photography dates back to the mid-19th century, when enterprising photographers attached their cameras to kites and balloons in an attempt to capture the landscapes and cityscapes of Europe and the United States. Aerial photography played a pivotal role in both world wars, as both sides of the conflicts included them in reconnaissance efforts and in the preparation of battle plans. The profession flourished after the end of World War II as America enjoyed the economic boom of the post-war years, and is now used for a variety of professional functions including: cartography, topography, public utility planning and maintenance and others.

Oklahoma Drone Photography, led by the husband-and-wife team of Aaron and Alyssa Brackett, is based in Edmond and showcases industrial, commercial and residential properties. Using the stunning backdrop of the Oklahoma skyline as their canvas, the Bracketts combine artistic flourish and professionalism to yield magnificent results.

The growing popularity of drones for recreational and professional use caused the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to regulate the devices used for commercial reasons. Beginning September 2016, all commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) must obtain a license to operate their businesses legally. Oklahoma Drone Photography is one of the first licensed UAV companies in the metro area, giving the Bracketts a chance to establish it as the preeminent aerial photography firm in Oklahoma.

“When drones exploded in popularity, we saw an opportunity to give people a view that was once reserved for those with thousands of dollars to spend on helicopter or plane rentals,” Alyssa explains. 

Like anything in life, “you get what you pay for” with drone technology. Oklahoma Drone Photography uses DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, widely recognized as one of the best UAVs in the industry. Equipped with a state-of-the-art camera set up, GPS, real-time feedback for flight conditions and other utilities, the UAV allows Aaron to capture spectacular views for clients.

“The process for shooting pictures and video from the air is much more than the flight itself. Planning begins with imagining what is most important for the client,” Alyssa says. “Are photos what they want? What angles do they need? What heights do they want us to shoot from? If its video they are requesting, what is the format?” Weather also plays an important part of the planning process. “We analyze the weather, of course. Aaron is recognized by the American Meteorological Society as a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and makes absolutely sure that the winds and conditions are safe for flight,” Alyssa explains.

“Federal regulations require us to notify nearby airports and helipads when we fly within five miles of their landing site.” The drone’s technology allows them to adjust to conditions in real-time. “Video is constantly transmitted to the ground in high definition while simultaneously being recorded in air by the aircraft. Every aspect of the aircraft’s performance can be monitored on the ground.”

Editing is a critical component of Oklahoma Drone Photography’s work. “Between photos and video, this can take a couple of hours, but it’s worth it to give the client the best view from above. We work with them to make sure coloring and style of photos is what they want, and to make sure whatever we are shooting looks its absolute best,” Alyssa adds.

The Brackett family flying a droneBusiness has been steadily growing for Oklahoma Drone Photography. “As of right now, commercial projects are the biggest majority of our business. From realtors wanting to showcase a house like it’s the star of a Hollywood movie, to out-of-state companies keeping an eye on construction progression, our commercial customers keep us busy!” she says.

“We’ve done several construction progression projects, real estate, and some cityscape views. The most fun thus far has been an acreage photo shoot in Paul’s Valley. We flew to nearly 400 feet, and safely zoomed over hay bales at 35 miles per hour. The video that resulted was simply stunning, and our creativity showed through its entirety.”

Aerial photography certainly has its highs and lows. “The best part about our business is the ability to try something new with each client. Everyone has different needs and wants a slightly different kind of video, and that is what we give them. Some projects look better with a very slow flight and pan; others excel with quick video hits backed by stunning music,” Alyssa explains.

“The most frustrating thing about what we do is the Oklahoma wind. Winds above 25 mph are simply unsafe to fly in. Our chief drone has US and Russian satellite links, anti-collision infrared cameras, and the ability to transmit over 3 miles away, but safety is still king. If weather throws us a curve ball, we opt on the side of safety and postpone the shoot.”

The Bracketts are excited about the future of their business and of drone photography in general, Alyssa notes. “Drone photography is booming! With the popularity and availability of drones, shooting stunning photos and videos from above has never been so affordable. It is our hope that hobbyists and commercial companies alike stick to the FAA regulations and practice safety first, so we can all enjoy the skies!”

For more information about Oklahoma Drone Photography, visit their website at oklahomadronephotography.com. The company can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. 

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