SRU student takes aerial photography to the real-estate business

Published by adviser, Author: Emma Pfeifer - Assistant Campus Life Editor, Date: December 3, 2015

Junior Early Childhood and Special Education major, Jacob Paterline turned one of his hobbies, taking aerial photographs, into a new business, JP Innovations, LLC, this past July.

Over the summer Paterline purchased a drone to record video and take pictures for personal projects. It wasn’t until his dad asked him certain questions like, “What will you use it for?” and “How will you use it?” that spurred the idea of taking Paterline’s skill set to the real estate business.

Paterline emailed a few realestate agents in early July about potentially having a drone take videos of houses to get a better feel of the dimensions of the house and how it really looks.

Howard-Hanna in Cranberry emailed him back and set up a meeting with him in late July. After he did some work, his business soon got passed by word of mouth to other companies. Paterline has now had 10 different business dealings with different companies.

Paterline has a Facebook page named “JP Innovations LLC” that shows his work and what he does as a videographer/photographer. He also has a link to his website on his Facebook page as well.

Growing up, Paterline said as annoyed as he was with his mother’s picture taking, she definitely rubbed off on him. He got his first GoPro camera for Christmas his freshman year of college, which he took skiing and on personal trips. Then he bought his drone in the summer of 2015. It took him about 2-3 weeks to initially learn how to control the drone.

“It’s almost like holding a video game controller,” Paterline said. He said that the smoothness of controlling it came along with practicing every day.

Paterline explained that his drone has about 25 minutes of battery life. When he would do work, videoing and photographing houses, he would put the drone up and take the videos, then he would do about an hour and a half of photographing. He then edits the videos and pictures for about two and a half hours. He puts music in the background of the videos, which can be quite difficult, he explained. The drone gives the user a direct live feed so whatever the drone is seeing, the user sees as well.

Drones are controlled by a GPS system.

“If you let go of the controller, it hovers there,” Paterline said. “It is very user friendly.”

If something were to happen and the user were to let go of the controllers, the drone would not come diving down from up in the air.

Paterline did a video for the university in the beginning of November. He took a video of different aspects of the campus that would promote the university. He has also done a lot of personal projects for himself and his friends such as going to Kennedy Mills to film his friends jumping off rocks.

Paterline sells his work from anywhere between $100-$200 based on the size of the house. The price ranges depending on how big the property is and what angles they want or if the company only wants one angle. He based his prices off of other companies that do similar work to his business. He didn’t want to make his work over-priced but he also wanted to make enough money to make a profit off of what he was doing.

For the future, Paterline wants to have a consistent customer business in the summer for a summer job.

“I want to broaden my skill set,” Paterline said.

He also said he wants to incorporate more photography into his business and also take his skills into the education part of his future as well.

“I love every process of this work, I love every part of it,” Paterline said. “Seeing people’s reactions is great too.”

Paterline’s work became a business in October of 2015. His cousin is a lawyer and helped him with the legality part of his job. His cousin sent him the paperwork and then sent it into the state.

“The process took about a month or so,” Paterline said “As much as fun as it is to do, and the money is great, finding personal projects is what keeps me going. Seeing something I made and thinking it looks good is what keeps me going.”


  1. Sounds great. Is Paterline’s drone registered with the FAA and does he have a FAA exemption to use a drone for commercial purposes… specifically using it sell real estate photography and video? Fines range from $10,000 to $100,000 per incident. Just FYI.


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