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The new FAA regulations regarding drones are now in effect, and if you plan to incorporate drones into your photography business, you've got to pass the FAA's aeronautical knowledge test (the "Drone Test")... which means it's time to start studying!

As we learned from PPA member Eddie Tapp, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, API, who passed his Drone Test on the first try, the test is formidable and goes deep into some pretty technical areas of being a pilot of a flying aircraft. 

To ensure that you study information that thoroughly covers the varied topics on the test, PPA recommends that you bookmark the FAA's extensive suggested study materials! See below:

See this post for more quick tips about taking the test, including eligibility to take the test, approved testing centers, and more. 

Once you pass, then it's time to register your drone and take your business to new heights! (See what we did there?) 

For all things drone-related, be sure to visit, which will be continually updated with resources, webinars, tips, insurance (which PPA covers in PhotoCare Plus!), a community of other drone photographers to network with, and much more!

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By Chris Homer

With the recent changes in FAA regulations allowing photographers to use drones in their business, many are interested in offering aerial drone photography to their clients. However, there are regulations and requirements you need to be aware of to fly your drone legally, such as passing the FAA's drone pilot test.
Another requirement when flying a drone is to be sure that you aren't in restricted air space. That's where the B4UFLY App comes in handy! You can use it to check the air space you are planning on flying a drone in to see if there are any restrictions or requirements in effect. 

Download the app for Apple and Android devices and be sure to check it before you fly a drone! 

Don't forget to stay tuned to for the latest news, regulations and education on aerial drone photography!

ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.

4:30pm We finished our last two meetings for the day. Right after lunch we met with Representative Lamar Smith's (TX) office. He was happy to hear from us about the progress of the Small Claims bill and is waiting as anxiously as we are for the bill to drop. He is looking forward to continuing working with PPA. His office understands that it is important to get the word out about small claims to ensure we can get all the support we need when it comes time for a vote. (Grassroots!) Hopefully, Representative Smith's office will be able to co-sponsor when the times comes.

Out last meeting for today was with Representative Steve Chabot's (OH) office. This was our first meeting with his office and they were very open to the idea of small claims. Like the other first-time meetings we've taken this week, it was important to lay out the foundation of small claims and history of how PPA began advocating for photographers' copyright protection. His office was very attentive and fully understood why small claims would be important. This was a very preliminary meeting and PPA hopes to be able to follow up with Chabot's office as we get closer to the bill being released.

We are headed to the airport for the return to Atlanta. This was a jam packed and extremely productive meeting. PPA is extremely happy with how how responsive everyone was and even more excited about the bill and upcoming meetings at Capitol Hill!

Be sure YOU'RE taking action and encouraging everyone you know to lend their name to and learning more about Small Claims at

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12:30pm We just left Representative Richmond's office (LA). He thoroughly enjoyed the update on the Small Claims bill and we discussed, and he understood, why photographers can't be treated the same as Hollywood artistic properties, with the relatively "low" value placed on works of photographic or visual art compared with motion pictures and music publishing. This is why a small claims option is so important! Richmond's office was very optimistic about the legislation in the long term, but acknowledges that it is important to keep the upcoming elections in mind. Richmond's office want on to say that "nothing is more bipartisan then small business owners" and he can see why small claims would be popular and a bipartisan issue. He hopes, upon reading the bills, they can co-sponsor and help bring copyright protection to photographers.

11:45am Just finished up our first two meetings of the day. Representative Bishop's office (MI) fully understands and embraces the importance of Small Claims Copyright legislation and the effect it could have on photographers. We brought Representative Chu's bill to their attention and they were extremely interested to read further when the bill is introduced. They will continue to do their own research and let us know what they think. We hope Representative Bishop will join us in this fight for small claims!

After leaving Representative Bishop's office we met with Representative DeSantis' office (FL). Representative DeSantis informed us of how important copyright modernization and small claims is to him and hopes that we can make some headway in that area soon, since we all need to have a deeper look into small claims. He is waiting to hear back about Representative Chu's bill and will hopefully be able to co- sponsor when the time comes.

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9:30am: We have another exciting day ahead at Capitol Hill. This morning we have three back-to-back meetings with House Representatives. 

We start off in Representative Mike Bishop's (MI) office. This will be our first meeting with this office and we hope we can show them how important the Small Claims Copyright legislation is and eventually get him to co-sign when the bill is introduced. 

After Bishops office we are going to Representative Ron DeSantis' (FL) office. This meeting is an update to discuss the progress we have made on the bill and the great support we have via our Grassroots team! Once we leave Representative DeSantis' office we are meeting with Representative Cedric Richmond's (LA) office. This is also a follow-up meeting and an opportunity to remind him of how important small claims is and hopefully convince him to co-sponsor soon!

We have a lot going on Capitol Hill today! Stayed tuned for more!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for capitolcollins.jpg6:00pm Our last meeting for the day was with Representative Doug Collins' (GA) Office. Collins' office is still looking into the Small Claims bill and understands the importance of providing an alternative remedy for copyright infringement. His office has close ties with both Representatives Jeffries and Chu and wants to ensure he is able to comb through both bills in order to have a better view of what the impact of small claims will be to copyright law. They plan to reach out to PPA once they have more information or insight.

This brings Day One at the Capitol to a close. We are extremely happy that we can continue to build upon our relationships with the members of the House and also create new relationships along the way. Tomorrow we have six meetings back to back, so stay tuned for even more updates!

4:30pm Just had two very productive meetings. Our first meeting was with Representative Gowdy's (SC) office. This was our first meeting with Gowdy, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. We explained the importance of the Small Claims Copyright bill and the effect it can have on professional photographers. Representative Gowdy's office was extremely interested and said they would look further into the Small Claims bill when it finally drops.

Our second meeting was with Representative Markwayne Mullins' (OK) office. Representative Mullins is a part of the Commerce Committee. This committee is important to the success of the Small Claims bill, since after leaving the House Judiciary, the bill will go to the Commerce Committee. Our meeting with Mullins' office allowed us to lay the foundation for success in this committee, as they were very open to the idea of small claims and said they would review further and let us know if they can co-sponsor. 

We hope both Representatives Mullins and Gowdy will provide their support and Co-Sponsor the Small Claims bill.  

We have one more meeting today with Representative Doug Collins from Georgia. 

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2:30pm It was great touching base with Representative Chu again. The Small Claims Copyright bill is going through some cleaning up and should be introduced to the House soon. There will be plenty of opportunities to ensure that photographers' rights are fully and clearly laid out. Representative Chu's office is just as excited as we are about this bill and wants to make sure photographers and other visual artists finally get to take advantage of the copyright system that was deemed so important by our founding fathers. We appreciate everything Representative Chu has done for us and look forward to working even closer with her. 
We are now heading into another meeting with Representative Trey Gowdy (SC). 

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10:00am: PPA is back on Capitol Hill again advocating for the introduction of a Small Claims Copyright Bill.  On this trip we plan to meet with Representative Judy Chu's (CA) office to get an update on the soon to be released small claims bill. After meeting with her office, we are also going to meet with other members of the House of Representatives to continue to discuss with them the importance of Small Claims. The next two days are jam-packed with meetings so stay tuned for updates!
With the new FAA drone regulations now in effect and first round of Section 107 drone testing complete, PPA was able to reach out to some of our members who were successful on the first try, and get some insight for others who are getting ready to take the test. 

PPA member Eddie Tapp, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, API, was kind enough to give us a better understanding of the test and what you can do to make sure you can pass the first time!

PPA: What materials did you use to study? Did you take a commercial course?

Eddie: I used most of the PDFs that were provided on the FAA website, with a lot of emphasis on the Pilots Handbook and the Airmen Knowledge, Sports Pilot Handbook. The Sports Pilot Handbook is something you want to get really familiar with before taking the test, because this book will be sitting on the desk when you take the test. The test will ask a question referring to a figure in the book and say "what is wrong with this situation?" The more you are familiar with the book, the better. 

I didn't take a commercial course. Even though I passed on the first time, I still wish I did. I think the course would be a great help with not only passing the test but also other situations that may arise after you take the test. 

I studied for about 20 to 30 hours with another person, and I really think that helps. He was able to explain things to me that I struggled with and I was able to explain things to him that he struggled with. 

PPA: Was there anything that surprised you about the test?

Eddie: I was surprised that it was much harder than I thought it would be. But looking back at it, it makes sense for the FAA to make the test hard. When we are using our drones, we are in federal air space and have to think about the impact we have on commercial airplanes. It's all about safety. 

I was also surprised at how many questions were about weather codes and aeronautical charts. There are good amounts of these questions on the test. If you don't understand them, you are giving up a lot of points. 

PPA: Were there a lot of people taking the test with you? How long did it take you to take the test?

Eddie: Not really. We were seated in a room with a couple of chairs, and people would come and go as they would start or finish the test. I don't think the entire room was ever full.  It took me about an hour to take the test, and they give you a total of two hours. As far as I can remember, I don't think anybody took the entire two hours.
It's also nice that you find out right away if you passed or failed. 

PPA: What all did you need to bring with you to take the test?

Eddie: When I got to PDK (Peachtree Airport in Atlanta), they just asked if I was there for the Drone test and asked for my name. I think as more people begin to sign up for the test they will get stricter and ask for your license and have some way for you to verify who you are. They did make it a point to verify my home address. 

PPA: What other test tips would you give to people studying for the test?

Eddie: Make sure you really focus on the charts and weather concepts. There are a couple of those questions, and it would be a severe disadvantage to you to be down 6-8 questions from the get-go.  If you can, study with a pilot or pick a pilot's brain while you study. This will help in getting a better grasp of the information. And I know we have heard this from elementary school, but when you pick an answer, stick with it. I went back and changed some of my answers, and when I was done it turned out I had the answer right the first time. Don't second guess yourself. 

Currently there are some practice tests floating around that the FAA has released. From what I have seen it is the same 60-70 questions.  From what I have been told, the FAA has a pool of at least 200 questions, so don't get too comfortable if you are doing well on those practice tests. When you get to the actual thing it could be completely different. 

Last but not least, do not take this lightly. We are sharing air space with large commercial planes and it is important that we know what to do. Our "small" drones can have large implications on these planes and on people's lives and property. 

There you have it! Tips from a PPA member who has passed the test. Are you planning to take the test? 

Bethany Clark manages all things social media for PPA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves writing, sewing, travel, yoga, and of course photography.

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by James Yates
Copyright in America is on a brink of change with the introduction of a Copyright Small Claims Process on Capitol Hill. Over 7,000 people already added their name to support these legislative changes. 

This week, PPA CEO David Trust participated in two different podcasts talking about the incoming Copyright Small Claims Process that is being introduced on Capitol Hill. The podcasts explain what this is about, how simple it is and the huge difference adding your name will make.

First up, Bill Ramsey of The PhotoTellers brings his skills as an interviewer to his talk with David, taking us into a deep dive addressing the Small Claims piece of legislation that's about to hit the floor and what YOU can do to help (it's easy and takes all of four seconds). 

Next, Rob Trawick and Jim Felder of FotoFacts cracked us up with their usual madcap energy as David Trust breaks down the history of Copyright Small Claims and exactly who can and should add their name to the Grassroots Action Team (here's a hint: EVERYBODY). 

Stream or download these two podcasts. Copyright law matters, because photographers' livelihoods depend on it. Our industry has never been this close to making a big leap forward. It's so easy and fast to add your name, you won't regret it!  

Take a listen, add your name to and...  SHARE, SHARE, SHARE with your friends and family, everyone you have ever met on social media, people at the grocery store, your mailman... anyone who believes in the rights of content creators. Thank you!

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James Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.

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With the new FAA regulations regarding drones going into effect August 29th, you need to have the most up-to-date information to fly and use a drone for business or work purposes. Bottom line: you MUST take the aeronautical knowledge test (the "Drone Test") and have your drone registered. Here are important links and guidelines that will be helpful while navigating through the process.

  • In order to sit for the "Drone test", and be able to apply for the remote pilot certification, the applicant must be at least 16 years old, be fluent in English, be in good physical and mental condition to operate a drone, and take the test at an approved FAA knowledge testing center. Step by step guidelines are posted on the FAA website under requirements and process for becoming a pilot.

  • All applicants need to take and pass the Drone Test in order to apply for their remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. The cost of taking the test is $150 and, once certified, the certification will be valid for two years. Taking the test and getting certified allows photographers to use drones during photo sessions in accordance with FAA guidelines. To ensure that everyone has the knowledge necessary to pass the drone test, the FAA has posted various study guides and sample test questions for applicants to study. These materials can be found under the FAA's suggested study materials

  • Once an applicant has passed the drone test, applied for and received their remote pilot certification, they MUST register their drone. The drone must be registered if it is over .55 pounds, up to a maximum weight of 55 pounds. The 55 pound limit includes any equipment you attach to the drone, such as your camera. Registration cost is only $5 and will be valid for three years. All drones need to be registered at

  • Your drone must also undergo a pre-flight check to ensure it is in proper condition to be operated. This link has a .pdf of the FAA's pre-flight checklist. 

The FAA has addressed some Drone Regulations frequently asked questions here. Here is also an easy-to-read recap chart with all the necessary information regarding both pilot and drone requirements:

You can find even more information in the FAA's Getting Started guide. We hope you're as excited and ready to fly your drone as we are! Share your (legal) drone photography with us on theLoop, Facebook or Twitter! Now, get out there, take some amazing photos and share them with the world!

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By Autumn Rice

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Have you already signed up for PPA's drone webinar on August 19, 2016 at 12pm?

With the release of new regulations for aerial drones, we're on the cusp of a new era in drone photography. The possibilities are almost endless! But many photographers have questions, and need to know where to begin. So, we're here to help!

Remember to join drone experts Randy Braun and Stacy Garlington to get all the information you need to know about drones, and incorporating them in your photography business. Bring all of your questions!

Register for the webinar, and we'll see you there!

By Autumn Rice

With the release of new drone regulations lifting some of the harsh restrictions on drone usage in the photography business, the possibilities are almost endless. Drones, or UAS, are the hottest new tool being used by leading edge photographers, and client demand is swiftly growing. So why are photographers stumped? 

Although the regulations lift some of the restrictions, there are still more questions and photographers don't even know where to begin. What equipment do I need? How do I learn? What are the rules?

PPA is here to help! Join a live and informative discussion on Friday, August 19, 2016 at 12pm with drone industry insiders Randy Braun and Stacy Garlington as they respond to the most frequently asked questions about drone photography. And yes, this is free for anyone to stream!

Randy Jay Braun has been a professional photographer for thirty years on the island of Maui. For most of those years Braun also owned and operated Hawaii's most successful photography retail art gallery. When the DJI Phantom Quadcopter hit the market in 2012 Randy was the one of the first photographers to adapt to aerial photography. 

Stacy Garlington spends much of her time studying the art of photography and creating images using small aerial drones. Stacy noted the tremendous potential of aerial photography during the early stages of the budding small drone industry. She began to create impactful images using basic camera skills. Her work is now published in both Forbes and TIME magazines - examples of the new perspective achievable using this technology.

Any photographer hoping to use drones in their business should attend this webinar. These two experts can provide valuable information about this new technology to skyrocket your business into new territory.

Register for this webinar, and learn all you can about drone photography!

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This has been a HUGE week for Drones! The FAA finally released their new regulations covering UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) and PPA has read all 600 pages to help YOU better understand how to (legally) incorporate drones into your business. 

You can head over to to get all the latest information, but we've got a summary for you to get you started and answer your most basic questions.

So...You Want to Be a Small Drone Pilot...

To become a pilot you must: 

Be at least 16 years old
Be able to read, speak, write and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet this requirement for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment)
Be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS
Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center

How Do I Apply for a Remote Pilot Certificate?

1. Schedule an appointment with a Knowledge Testing Center (there are over 700 locations in the U.S).
2. Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test. 
3. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a Remote Pilot Certificate.
4. Pass the TSA security background check. You will then receive a confirmation email containing instructions for printing a temporary remote pilot certificate from IACRA (Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application). 
5. Receive a permanent remote pilot certificate via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete. 

Once certified, your certification must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations. It is valid for two years, after which you must pass a recurrent knowledge test to renew your certification.

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