Blue Sky Media

Blue Sky Media

Photography in Flight

REAM: What first drew you to photography?

Hill: I remember receiving my first super cheap film camera when I was 9 years old. I loved using it to take pictures of everything I could find. My skill level has improved somewhat since then so that I am able to focus less on the technical side and more on freezing a moment in time.

REAM: Tell us about the founding of SkyBlue Media in 2010. What compelled you to start your own business?

Hill: For a long time I’ve been an R/C enthusiast but it wasn’t until I tried strapping my wife’s point and shoot camera to a cheap R/C airplane, and being mesmerized with the images, that the idea really sunk in. I spent many late nights ordering parts, designing and building a helicopter and a camera gimbal to carry, articulate and trigger my DSLR camera. After about a month of work, I completed the project and was out taking photos with it. I then left my previous employment and focused on aerial photography full time. It was a bold move, but it has paid off.

REAM: What was it like being a pioneer in aerial photography in Idaho?

Hill: Being the first in Idaho to offer aerial photos this way was a struggle at first. I spent a lot of time trying to create a demand for my work. Because no one had heard of shooting photos with a radio controlled helicopter, it took some time to get steady work. It worked out for the best though as I was busy enough to be out shooting, but I also had enough down time to continue building other aerial platforms and improve my photography skills.

REAM: How has your business evolved since 2010?

Hill: As I began to understand my customers’ needs, I realized that simplicity and time savings are paramount in business. I invested thousands into buying camera gear that would allow me to shoot interior photos for customers as well. We provide architectural photos, aerial photos, 3D media and a handful of video services. We feel it is important for everyone to focus on what they do best both as a company and as members of the SkyBlue Media team.

REAM: Tell us what sparked the idea to create 3D media for clients?

Hill: We love being on the cutting edge of new technology, which helps our clients focus their attention on what they do best while differentiating themselves from competition. We do a lot of market research so that when new technology comes out, we can offer it to our customers first.

REAM: How do you think marketing of this type – lifestyle videos, 3D media and aerial photography – helps real estate agents in their role?

Hill: Professional photos are a must on every real estate listing and for a lot of homes, that’s all that is needed. When we’re dealing with a property that has more to offer than the physical structure, methods like lifestyle videos with actors, which demonstrate the daily life and emotion of being on the property, go a long way to help a potential buyer understand the real value of a property. Especially in this market where a lot of homebuyers are coming from out of state, I randomly ran into homeowners who made the decision to buy their $800,000 home just from seeing one of our videos.

REAM: Are there any changes coming in the near future that you’re excited to announce?

Hill: Now that the FAA has finally created hoops for us, aerial photographers, to jump through, we will proudly be the only licensed aerial drone photographers in Idaho. We are very excited to see regulations roll out, which will make the industry safer and eliminate amateurs from endangering people and property.