CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
James C. Whiteside III Contributing Member • Posts: 967
CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed

I work at an Engineering company and we have started doing drone photography of our ongoing projects for social media purposes. I have always been a photo-bug, so the drone stuff has kept me very interested over the last year.

Our company has 1 certified drone pilot but is looking to get others certified. I have always been interested in getting a drone for travel and outdoor photos. The company uses two Parrot Anafi drones, but that's a little out of my price range (for personal use).

Start off I was hoping to find a decent useable drone for personal photography purposes in the $200-300. But most of the reviews I saw recommend I at least go up to a Mavic Mini 2 (but that puts me in the $600 with extra batteries).

Am I overlooking a good starter drone for social media resolution? Right now I am mainly interested in photos, but videos may be an interest once I get going.

Again this is for personal use. Considering I am still happy with my two 6mp DLSR's that are almost 15+ years old, I plan on keeping whatever I buy for many years. I am not a name-brand junkie and would be happy to hear if there are any other options I should be considering.

Ken Seals
Ken Seals Senior Member • Posts: 1,537
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed
1

Just like other types of photography, shooting the images is just the start of the process of producing good quality photos. Your processing skills are also important.

Given the technical nature of engineering photography, I suggest you look at a much higher resolution drone camera. 12 MP or 20 MP to be able to get fine detail in the photos. One of the things that seems likely to me is that you will want to straighten verticals of buildings. If so, you will need to frame loosely because of the cropping that will happen with vertical perspective correction. More pixels will help with that. For the best results, get a drone that can shoot in raw and use that mode.

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Ken - LR ACE
FAA Remote Pilot Certificate, ATP ASMEL
Mizzou PJ '66
www.kenseals.com

 Ken Seals's gear list:Ken Seals's gear list
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OP James C. Whiteside III Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed
1

Ken Seals wrote:

Given the technical nature of engineering photography, I suggest you look at a much higher resolution drone camera. 12 MP or 20 MP to be able to get fine detail in the photos.

Ken...

For anything work-related, we would use our companies equipment (for liability and legal reasons).

The drone I am looking to purchase would be for personal use. Mainly to document family events and travel destinations for my personal social media and texting purposes.

My main goals would be something that is light and compact for traveling/hiking and capable of social media quality.

But I fully understand the concept of BUYING something above your current needs, verse buying multiple pieces of equipment that will need to be replaced over a short period of time (due to lack of quality and/or features).

thedancer Regular Member • Posts: 200
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed

James C. Whiteside III wrote:

Ken Seals wrote:

Given the technical nature of engineering photography, I suggest you look at a much higher resolution drone camera. 12 MP or 20 MP to be able to get fine detail in the photos.

Ken...

For anything work-related, we would use our companies equipment (for liability and legal reasons).

The drone I am looking to purchase would be for personal use. Mainly to document family events and travel destinations for my personal social media and texting purposes.

My main goals would be something that is light and compact for traveling/hiking and capable of social media quality.

But I fully understand the concept of BUYING something above your current needs, verse buying multiple pieces of equipment that will need to be replaced over a short period of time (due to lack of quality and/or features).

Just look at the DJI Mini 2, there is plenty of quality and possibilities in that little light weight drone. 4K and Raw image capture,  don't forget it has a 2x, 4x zoom. Ocusync 2.0, and ...
A lot of better then version 1, and this little fellow has already offered many pleasure to many starter and amateur drone pilots.
Just do a little homework and invest some time to look at reviews for the Mini 2 on YouTube and the info on DJI's website. There is so much in favor for this very portable drone, it's the best in his class.
For the time being I keep my version 1, with some software post-processing on the footage and pictures I'm quiet happy with the result. I'm waiting for a PRO 3 version to see what that will give. But then again it will not make things easier to fly around here in Europe. The mini's do have the advantage to give very good results and can fly around in more spaces then the heavier and bigger drones, due to noise and other legal restrictions.
If you ever should consider to buy the Mini 2, don't forget that the Mini 2 Fly More Combo is the best package.

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E.Dancer

Ken Seals
Ken Seals Senior Member • Posts: 1,537
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed

Agree with all that about the Mini 2. A friend of mine bought one and was waiting to unbox it with me so I read all about it and downloaded the manual. Sadly, he died of Covid before we could get the Mini 2 in the air

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Ken - LR ACE
FAA Remote Pilot Certificate, ATP ASMEL
Mizzou PJ '66
www.kenseals.com

 Ken Seals's gear list:Ken Seals's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +8 more
thedancer Regular Member • Posts: 200
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed
1

Ken Seals wrote:

Agree with all that about the Mini 2. A friend of mine bought one and was waiting to unbox it with me so I read all about it and downloaded the manual. Sadly, he died of Covid before we could get the Mini 2 in the air

Hi Ken, sad to read that your friend is no longer among us. I’m sure that he would have loved to fly the mini 2.

-- hide signature --

E.Dancer

thedancer Regular Member • Posts: 200
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed

Another tip I want to share for construction photography with drones is Drone Harmony.
droneharmony.com

You can have a free version or even have the opportunity to test the app for 30 days.

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E.Dancer

lokatz
lokatz Senior Member • Posts: 2,296
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed

If all you're looking to do is to enjoy flying a drone and getting some semi-decent video or stills from it, start here: https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-cheap-drones.

None of these drones offer image quality even close to the DJI Mini 2, which is a steal for what it does, but some of them can be great fun nonetheless, and they are a lot cheaper.

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PanzerSGT Junior Member • Posts: 45
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed

I was in the same position, looking for small drone for personal use. I ended up going with the Mini 2. It's very compact and easily fits in my camera bag or one of the sponson boxes on my boat. Image quality is excellent and it's simple to fly.  Also it gets you around some of the regulations due to being under 250g.

If you get one go ahead and spring for the Fly More combo, it's well worth the money.

My wife has a Cricut and decided customize it a little.

 PanzerSGT's gear list:PanzerSGT's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 Sony Alpha DSLR-A300 Sony a77 II Sony a7 II Canon EF 35-80mm f/4.0-5.6 III +28 more
Ken Seals
Ken Seals Senior Member • Posts: 1,537
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed

PanzerSGT wrote:

I was in the same position, looking for small drone for personal use. I ended up going with the Mini 2. It's very compact and easily fits in my camera bag or one of the sponson boxes on my boat. Image quality is excellent and it's simple to fly. Also it gets you around some of the regulations due to being under 250g.

If you get one go ahead and spring for the Fly More combo, it's well worth the money.

My wife has a Cricut and decided customize it a little.

First Cav! Thanks for your service. Signal Corp Photographer here '66-'69.

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Ken - LR ACE
FAA Remote Pilot Certificate, ATP ASMEL
Mizzou PJ '66
www.kenseals.com

 Ken Seals's gear list:Ken Seals's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +8 more
PanzerSGT Junior Member • Posts: 45
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed
1

Ken Seals wrote:

PanzerSGT wrote:

I was in the same position, looking for small drone for personal use. I ended up going with the Mini 2. It's very compact and easily fits in my camera bag or one of the sponson boxes on my boat. Image quality is excellent and it's simple to fly. Also it gets you around some of the regulations due to being under 250g.

If you get one go ahead and spring for the Fly More combo, it's well worth the money.

My wife has a Cricut and decided customize it a little.

First Cav! Thanks for your service. Signal Corp Photographer here '66-'69.

Army photographer would have been interesting, sometimes I wish I'd have done something like that instead.  I was a tanker, killing stuff from 2 miles away was a fun but there isn't much call for it in the civilian world.
But you know what they say  "If you ain't CAV.........."

 PanzerSGT's gear list:PanzerSGT's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 Sony Alpha DSLR-A300 Sony a77 II Sony a7 II Canon EF 35-80mm f/4.0-5.6 III +28 more
john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 5,229
Re: CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Beginners Advice Needed

James C. Whiteside III wrote:

I work at an Engineering company and we have started doing drone photography of our ongoing projects for social media purposes. I have always been a photo-bug, so the drone stuff has kept me very interested over the last year.

Our company has 1 certified drone pilot but is looking to get others certified. I have always been interested in getting a drone for travel and outdoor photos. The company uses two Parrot Anafi drones, but that's a little out of my price range (for personal use).

Start off I was hoping to find a decent useable drone for personal photography purposes in the $200-300. But most of the reviews I saw recommend I at least go up to a Mavic Mini 2 (but that puts me in the $600 with extra batteries).

Am I overlooking a good starter drone for social media resolution? Right now I am mainly interested in photos, but videos may be an interest once I get going.

Again this is for personal use. Considering I am still happy with my two 6mp DLSR's that are almost 15+ years old, I plan on keeping whatever I buy for many years. I am not a name-brand junkie and would be happy to hear if there are any other options I should be considering.

Buy a used DJI Mini.  You can get them for under $300 if you shop around.

Or you can get a DJI Spark.

For a little more ($400) you can probably find a Parrot Anafi.   The Parrot BeBop 2 is in your price range but it is too limited and has very inconsistent Wi-Fi connection.

But personally, I would get the DJI Mini 2.  It is a very good drone, with very consistent connection.  And it is very quiet.  Lacks some fun features like "follow me", but it produces good quality video and stills.

The issue with inexpensive drones is reliable connection, and when your drone is flying high you don't want to lose it or have it wander away.  Drones that use Wi-Fi for connection suffer from serious interference issues.  My Anafi got confused one day and just headed off on it's own.  I chased after it until I got it back under control, but if it had gone another direction it would have gone over water or a highway and that would likely have been the last of it.

The reason I use the Anafi anyway is the vertical tilt up of the camera.  The only other option I have for that is to get a bigger drone and piggy back a GoPro pointing up.

At any rate, cheaper drones have cheaper cameras, don't have removable storage, don't have long battery life, don't have reliable communications, don't have ...

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Nikon D750 Olympus E-M5 II Nikon D500 Olympus E-M1 II +16 more
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