I do real estate photography. And the bulk of my work involves acerage, farm land, subdivisions, oil fields, etc. Therefore I need to invest in a drone. Do any of you folks have any suggestions as to what brand, ease (or difficulty of operation), FAA requirements, or anything else I need to know? Your feedback would be very much appreciated.
Look for drone forums, DJI drones have high reliability, DJI 4 is latest, and then there are the Mavic and Spark models.
Read and make sure you understand the FAA rules and regs, for commercial work you need a license (last read I did). I suggest contacting other professionals who are doing what you want to do, and listen to what they have to say.
Don't fly near airports, pay mucho attention to the winds, especially above treetop level, and don't fly in winds greater than 50% of the top speed of your drone, if cought in gusting winds, you may not get it back, or may have to go on safari to find it. GPS and good monitoring equipment are important.
You don't want 5.8GHZ video transmission from Drone to your ground controller (unless all your flying situations are clear line-of-sight), you will lose video contact with the drone if any trees or structures get in the way, another way to lose a drone. You want 2.4 GHZ or even better, lower frequency video transmission gear (lower frequency equals bigger antennas), but larger photo platform drones can handle that with ease. Make sure you totally understand your drones "Failsafe system", you need to know how it works, for a number of reasons. If you have the cash, you can even equip. them with parachute recovery systems. Mount your camera gear in a waterproof casing, you never know where it might end up landing/crashing.
Although illegal to shoot down a drone, there are plenty of boneheads out there who will shoot at anything that suits there fancy. Most folks don't realize - It is very difficult to get spy type photos from up high using wide angle lenses, they see a drone and automatically assume spying (I've had to show people what the video looks like to reassure them I'm only flying, not spying). So unless you are flying over a specific structure/property, stay high (but under 400 ft), many see that as less threatening, like with helicopters and small planes.
If you have never flown R/C planes, copters, drones, there are several good simulator programs, and you probably need to invest in one (couple hundred $$ - very well spent, much better than losing or trashing a very expensive drone and camera gear "learning to fly") Tower Hobbies,A-MAin, Hobbyking, Hobbytown and others have them. Consider buying a stout but lower cost drone for your first venture (Like a DJI Spark, or another good brand), to learn and practice with. If you have no or little experience, you will crash, I've been flying them for a few years now and I haven't encountered anyone who has not had issues (for a multitude of reasons). When flying R/C, things can and will happen, the good thing is you walk away from the crashes, well, after you pick up the crashed drone!!!!
Good luck with the endeavor. It isn't easy, but can be fun, rewarding, and in your case, could be profitable. Hope this is helpful.