Edmond company takes its photography business to the skies

Aaron and Alyssa Brackett saw a niche opportunity and opened Oklahoma Drone Photography in Edmond. (Garett Fisbeck)

Aaron and Alyssa Brackett saw a niche opportunity and opened Oklahoma Drone Photography in Edmond. (Garett Fisbeck)

Aaron and Alyssa Brackett use drones to provide their clients with new perspectives of their city and surroundings. They own Oklahoma Drone Photography (ODP), an Edmond-based start-up the husband and wife team launched after a local architect they knew mentioned the need for effective methods to photograph his projects.

“There’s only so much you can capture on the ground,” Alyssa said.

This inspired an aha moment for the couple: Aerial drone photography is a growing industry and offers an inexpensive alternative to traditional aerial photography. Alyssa said their start-up sprang from the needs of those in real estate and construction sectors. Drone photography makes an expansive, detailed point of view accessible to most business owners for a fraction of the cost of traditional aerial photography services.

“We’re trying to give a unique perspective to people that they haven’t seen before,” Alyssa said.

The reception has been universally positive, the couple said. The Bracketts recently spoke to Oklahoma Gazette near the lighthouse at Lake Hefner. A child pointed with delight at a device as it hovered over the water.

Onlookers asked how it worked and wanted to see what the pilot sees on his or her tablet or phone app.

“They kind of like piecing it all together and seeing how it all works,” she said.

It’s estimated that millions of drones have been sold to consumers in the United States.

The key to success in such a rapidly growing industry, Alyssa said, “[is] to find your niche and go with it, because if you try to do everything, it’s too much.”

While anyone can buy a drone, most owners are hobbyists. Alyssa explained that ODP offers professionalism as well as liability insurance, photo editing, marketing experience and quick turnaround.

“The actual quality of the product and the professionalism of our company is what are going to draw people to us versus a hobbyist,” she said.

The Bracketts have lived in the metro for three years and are impressed with the city.

“[Oklahoma City] has incredible infrastructure,” Alyssa said. “This is one of the cities that we’ve lived in that we’ve noticed the most new construction and the most new business in the area.”

Aaron Brackett demonstrates drone photography at Lake Hefner’s lighthouse. (Oklahoma Drone Photography / provided)

Aaron Brackett demonstrates drone photography at Lake Hefner’s lighthouse. (Oklahoma Drone Photography / provided)

Sky standard

Oklahoma Drone Photography became a limited liability company (LLC) at the end of July. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enacted Part 107 of its regulations Aug. 29, which require all commercial unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to have a licensed unmanned aircraft (UAS) pilot to operate legally.

Aaron Brackett said he was among the first to undergo the testing, making ODP one of Edmond’s first licensed and insured drone photography companies.

Aaron Brackett took the 60-question, knowledge-based test, passed the required Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check and obtained a remote pilot certificate, which allows himto fly the drone commercially.

An additional law prohibiting drones from interfering with critical infrastructure like water treatment plants, electrical substations, chemical companies, power lines, natural gas facilities and government buildings went into effect Nov. 1.

The Bracketts said the possibilities for drone use are seemingly endless and span from research to special events.

Alyssa said the couple chose commercial real estate and construction photography over wedding or special events because of the new regulations. Aaron described the knowledge required to commercially operate a drone, listing height restrictions, structures that you are not allowed to fly near and rules that apply to operating drones near large groups of people.

The restrictions parallel the knowledge requirements of pilots licensed to fly traditional aircraft.

Drone operators must also register their drones, which have their own tail numbers like airplanes.

Aaron stressed the importance of becoming licensed.

“[Drones] have become really popular. With that popularity comes risk. If you don’t know how to operate them safely, it endangers the airspace that is used by millions of people every day. If a goose can take down an airplane, imagine what a drone can do,” he said. “People need to be responsible. The licensing is the first step toward that. It definitely doesn’t take away from what we’re doing; it adds to what we’re doing, it adds to the safety of what we’re doing.”

ODP finds it easier to work with real estate agents, architects and construction companies because of the regulations. The Bracketts are excited to capture construction progression.

They want to find companies that literally have the dirt there and then get them on a weekly, biweekly or monthly schedule to help clients capture their projects from the ground up. Visit oklahomadronephotography.com, email oklahomadronephotography@gmail.com or call (405) 406-3664 for more information.

 

Print Headline: Business approach, An Edmond company takes its photography business to the skies.

Lauren Dow

This article was written by an Oklahoma Gazette contributor. To reach an editor, please email jchancellor@okgazette.com with this story's headline in your subject line.

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