For 5 Questions this week, the Herald speaks to Josh Bergland, a Warren, Minnesota-based real estate agent, who founded the drone photography company Aerial Ops Photography.
Q: Why did you decide to get into drone photography?
A: It actually started because I just recently this last year became a Realtor. As I was looking at it more and more in the area. I was trying to find photographers to do the shoots for the houses we list. I was looking in the area, and I really didn't see much advertised anywhere for aerial photos, which is a big deal when it comes to showing the landscape for the larger yards of countryside houses or even some of the nicer houses that some people like to show off special features. They are really hard to capture sometimes when you're on the ground. So it kind of spurred me to thinking, hey, if no one's really offering it, why don't I figure out a way to get the business going myself?
Q: What services do you offer?
A: Right now, I specialize in the realty or landscape features as I mentioned, but I am currently offering potential photoshoots where people want it for special gatherings. Depending on if COVID restrictions ever lighten up. If people do family gatherings near the lake or a park and want fun shots of large groups or conferences. I'm considering the option of doing them for weddings. I haven't looked too much into it, but I figure I'll offer it and see what we could really get done. Obviously, some people need to do it outside, but if they're doing it in a church, I also can do it inside. I'm, of course, licensed, certified and insured so I can do that as needed. But otherwise, I also offer aerial inspections and can cover large events like 5k and 10k runs, parades or even fairs.
Q: What's involved in an aerial inspection?
A: That usually pertains to people if they're wanting to look at roofs and gutters. Sometimes people want their towers or cables inspected up close, without having to get people there and climbing, and needing special utility equipment.
Q: What's the market for your photos and videos?
A: My main market focus would be anyone who wants to sell their house, either by themselves or if they're working with another agent. Again, I think it offers a nice point of view that a lot of people can start to appreciate what the property has to offer. Some people try to use some other aerial photos or things like Google Maps, but the hard part is some of those are still really blurry. I have seen people post some of their own drone photos. Of course, I’m not out to get anyone, but if you're not licensed in the state, or as a drone pilot, it's technically illegal to do and you can be fined up to $10,000. I try to caution people from trying to do too much themselves.
Q: Now that we're in quite a cold stretch, can you still operate your drone?
A: I sure can. It handles quite well in the cold. It’s more a factor of how long I can handle it.