Desert View Aerial Photography captured construction work for a cause on an early Saturday morning. True to their motto ‘NAWIC
A corporate Human Resources department trainer married to a general contractor chief estimator open an aerial photography business that has grown and thrived for 10 years as of August 12, 2016. The Desert View Aerial Photography 10-year anniversary story is one of an ambiguous beginning, on the job training, drive and determination to survive the ups and downs of business cycles no matter what, and a belief in success by the couple who began this business journey a decade ago. Sherry and Brett Eklund are that couple. While the first paid commercial flight for the fledgling company occurred on August 12, 2006, the impetus for Desert View Aerial Photography was developed in recreational airplane rides to Sedona, Arizona for breakfast. Brett Eklund enjoyed flying and received his private pilot’s license in 2000. In 2004 he got his instrument rating and 2006 his commercial rating. His job as an estimator for general contractors could be stressful, yet fulfilling as he had been doing it for over 30 years. But flying with his wife, Sherry, for breakfast to Sedona, or other hot spots in Arizona, was something the couple really enjoyed doing. The couple had discussed the possibility of doing some type of business they could work together that combined the construction career with their passion for flying. As their contacts from the construction industry learned of their flights, the Eklunds would get requests to fly over a job site on their way and snap a photo. These requests became more frequent and the couple wondered if this could be a business service they could charge for. Mind you, neither one of them had ever owned or run a business before and had no experience to draw from to start an aerial photography, or any other business. But they did possess extreme confidence in themselves, which as all business persons know is the best asset to have to achieve success.
In January 2006, the couple formed an LLC and Desert View Aerial Photography got its wings. It would be eight months however before their first paid commercial photo flight took off. The initial challenge was that both of them had demanding full time jobs that they were in no position to leave at that point. So they flew the photo flights on the weekends and processed the shots and did the business administration at night during the week. While Brett is the pilot of this duo, Sherry is responsible for the photographic duties. This was new for her as she had never had any formal training as a photographer and had to learn the skills and techniques basically on the job. As she has developed as a photographer, her passion for it also has grown. Combining her determination to succeed and her increasing passion for the art of photography Sherry has become a skilled and respected photographer. Processing the digital images is also in her job description, and Brett can help her if necessary. She handles most of the administrative duties. Today, Brett is still involved in the construction industry, but Sherry works the business now full time.
According to Sherry Eklund, there have been several key elements in the last decade that have guided Desert View Aerial Photography to a successful ten-year existence. The first is their belief in providing exceptional customer service. And giving the little extras that count. Even though the images they provide are digital she provides an 8.5” x 11” color print of the successive initial aerial photo project site photo, shot at the same angle as the first shot taken, to the client as a courtesy so it can be placed onsite in a construction office or shared with owners . “Many other firms charge for this, I do not. It is those small things that solidify our relationships with our clients, and keep them coming back”, Sherry says. In 2006, Desert View Aerial Photography became a Professional Aerial Photography Association member. In 2012 vertical aerial mapping services were added to the services they offer. In 2013 architectural ground photography was included as a service and a marketing firm was hired to help promote and expand the brand. These were instrumental actions that helped the business grow exponentially.
Desert View Aerial Photography differs from their competition by offering a full line of business photographic services to their clients. Being a full service photographic solution firm gives the company an edge in the marketplace, Sherry and Brett Eklund firmly believe. Offering aerial oblique photo angle shots as well as vertical aerial photography, architectural ground and corporate head shots and shooting photos from both fixed wing and helicopter aircraft, and soon to offer drone photography, Desert View Aerial Photography is positioning itself as a premier photographic solution for many types of businesses. Not all aerial photography businesses offer this wide a product variety. When asked what she would have done differently in the last decade regarding the business, Sherry remarked, “I would have expanded the vertical mapping and architectural ground services sooner. When we did add them we saw a huge jump in our business growth.” As for the next decade and beyond, as technology and aeronautic aircraft dynamics advance, she sees the use of all types of drone aircraft impacting the industry. The Eklunds are preparing to grow right along with this new component in aerial photography as they have begun their strategy for their drone photography service element in Desert View Aerial Photography. And they still do fly to Sedona for breakfast.