Legal Considerations for Aerial Photography: What You Need to Know

Aerial photography is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of purposes, from taking photos at weddings and events to creating images for residential and commercial real estate. However, there are certain legal considerations that must be taken into account when using aerial photography. In this article, we'll discuss the legal requirements for obtaining a drone photography license, the Supreme Court cases that have shaped the legal landscape of aerial photography, and how aerial photographs and satellite images can be used as evidence in legal cases. If you're looking to use aerial photography for any purpose, it's important to understand the legal implications of doing so.

To obtain a drone photography license, you must be at least 16 years old and have a valid, government-issued photo ID. The first step is to pass the FAA aeronautical knowledge exam, which currently contains 60 multiple-choice questions. You must obtain a score of 70% or more to pass it. The topics of the questions range from rules and regulations for operating small unmanned aircraft to emergency procedures and airport operations.

The FAA offers a study guide and a free two-hour training course, as well as study materials and test help through third-party test preparation providers. The use of aerial observations and photographs is within the legal authority of the EPA, as established by several Supreme Court cases. For a law firm's opinion on the use of aerial photography, see Using Aerial Photography to Win Environmental Cases on the Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP website. Aerial photographs and satellite images can also be used as evidence in legal cases. They present unique problems, since the proper use of available technology for certain images can dramatically affect their impact on a judge, jury, or other public.

In several cases where the amounts at stake in the litigation were substantial, clients hired Aerial Archives to locate little known aerial photographs that were buried in private (not commercialized) collections. Aerial Archives will help customers consult the National Archives directly or hire one of its contractors in the Washington, DC metropolitan area to investigate the request in person and accelerate the production of images, if necessary. Sometimes fences are obscured by leaf cover or difficult to discern because the available aerial photographs do not have sufficient resolution. If three-dimensional visualization is useful, Aerial Archives will incorporate data from the digital elevation model into aerial photographs or satellite images to create a three-dimensional screen that can be presented as two-dimensional art or as a three-dimensional model. Aerial Archives also certifies aerial photographs and satellite images that you have delivered to a customer. If useful for the early stages of potential litigation, Aerial Archives will help create a customized aerial and, if necessary, satellite surveillance program.

For more information on how aerial photography and satellite imagery can help your legal case, contact Aerial Archives directly. In conclusion, it's essential to understand all of the legal considerations associated with using aerial photography before doing so. By following the guidelines outlined in this article and consulting with experts when necessary, you can ensure that your use of aerial photography is within legal limits.