In response to a growing interest in aerial images, PPA has launched a drone photography certification program. To become a certified drone photographer, a PPA member must submit an application showing that he or she meets certain minimum requirements—an FAA Section 333 certificate or remote pilot certificate (Part 107), proof of general liability insurance, UAS registration number, and a logbook summarizing 30 hours of flight time—and then pass a 60-question exam.
“When I heard that PPA was working on a certified drone photographer program, I was ecstatic,” says Justin Moore, who was tapped by PPA for his drone photography expertise and was the first test-taker to earn the certification. “It’s one more conversation that I can have with my clients—that they are dealing with a professional in drone photography,” he says.
“Appropriately, there are some more traditional photography questions meshed in with the unique aspects of aerial photography,” he says of the exam. “I think that’s a great thing.” In the early days of drone photography, the photos were spellbinding simply because they showed a new view that people hadn’t seen, he says. But as the drone photography market matures, superior photography skills will become increasingly important to consumers and corporate clients. “Especially in the marketing industry and the film industry, those are clients that care about those things,” notes Moore. “Mediocre images, whether airborne or on the ground, are not acceptable.”
The certification is “just exactly what is needed in this new industry,” he says. “Huge kudos to PPA for jumping on this. It speaks volumes about how progressive PPA is in trying to understand this new segment of photography.”