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Startup Costs: $10,000 - $50,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No
Aerial photography equipment is available in various styles, including telescopic aluminum masts that can be outfitted with a camera and extended to heights reaching over 100 feet. There are also helium-filled blimps available ranging in size from 5 feet to 25 feet, that can be outfitted with cameras that reach heights of up to 1,000 feet. The blimps are safely operated from the ground by a tether line or remote control. Surprisingly, the blimp option is not very expensive. Good-quality blimps, complete with photographic gear and a transportation trailer, can be purchased new for less than $10,000, or up to as much as $25,000. Regardless of whether you choose to use a telescopic mast or a helium blimp, both can be outfitted with film or digital still or video cameras. Potential clients include government agencies, homeowners, property developers, corporations, marinas, campgrounds, amusement parks, golf courses, outdoor-event organizers, mining and forestry sites, and sporting-event organizers--basically, any person or business that wants or needs aerial photographs of his or her home, building, event or property. It takes a bit of learning to operate the equipment, but the manufacturers listed below do provide basic training. Rates are excellent because this is a highly specialized niche service.