Please join me in welcoming our Featured Photographers, Kim and Steve Durecki of Great Lakes Aerial Video Services. Located in southeastern Michigan, Kim and Steve offer a comprehensive menu of services to realtors. Let’s catch up with them there!
Tammy: Hey Kim – Thank you for taking time to visit with us! You have a full menu of services, it looks like between you and Steve, there is no job you aren’t ready for! Are you both drone pilots? And how do you manage your workflow? Do you both do everything and shoot alone, or go together and get the stills and aerials done at the same time?
Kim: Hello Tammy, It is our pleasure to talk to you. Yes, we offer a variety of services for our clients. Aerial videos, aerial photos, interior/exterior photos, interior videos, property websites and of course floor plans! Steve is the FAA Certified Drone Pilot and he created and teaches a class at Oakland University on how to become a FAA Certified Pilot. Steve is also a flight instructor for UXV University in Phoenix, AR and trains people around the US on how to fly drones. I do the marketing and all the video editing, and also on our team we have an amazing photographer whose name is Jay. The 3 of us make a perfect team as we all strive for perfection in our craft. We do have separate schedules as some listings require only stills and others require aerial and stills and floor plans.
Tammy: It looks like you are a dream team, partners in both life and business! I know there is a photographer meet-cute story here, one way or another! Will you please share it?
Kim: Thank you, we have been married for 38 years and been self employed for 35 years. We have worked together as a team from day one and it works well for us, we are very fortunate. Steve and I knew each other when we were growing up. He lived next door to my Grandparents house and we would talk when I would visit. Years later when I was 18 he saw me outside at my Grandparents house and came over to talk, then asked me out for a date that night. It was truly love at first sight and we were engaged 8 months later!
Tammy: I love that the first thing I see when I visit your website is a big pop-up encouraging floor plans! I guess this is the perfect place to ask how CubiCasa has been working for you, and how it’s been helpful adding our floor plans into your lineup? Has the pop-up been successful in generating more interest in floor plans?
Kim: Yes, the pop up does help! I love being able to showcase our new services on our website. Clients LOVE the floor plans. Jay does the floor plans for us when he is out doing the photography shoots. We also offer promotions on our floor plans. The month of September we offered a free floor plan with our services. Our clients loved it!
Tammy: Would you tell us a little about your life with photography? How did you get started? What was your first job? Your worst job, and best? and how did you end up finding this niche? What is your dream assignment?
Kim: We have always been entrepreneurs. We have owned several businesses, the first one in 1987. When we first came up with the idea of doing aerial photography/videography for Real Estate there was really no one doing this but a couple of people. Steve had always been an avid remote-control hobbyist and had been flying remote control airplanes and helicopters for over 20 years when drones made a big impact on the RC world. When he started out, you had to build your own drone.
The first thing Steve did was take a photo of our home via drone and thought the photo was amazing, so we printed it. After showing others, they also wanted photos of their homes, so Steve was doing it for family and friends, when he realized ,hey this is a great idea for agents who are selling their homes so that they can show it off along with the property. Steve was introduced by one of his real estate friends to a company that did photography for real estate agents. We began working with them and providing aerial photos and aerial videos for their clients. The demand was so great that we quickly became a successful full-time aerial company. We knew that aerial photography/videography would be a great service to help sell a home or property. Homes on the lakes and with acreage are always a must to film because this gives the potential buyer a look at the property and surrounding area via drone. At this time Hollywood was also using drones for their movies, commercials and television programs, and we saw a huge market for this type of service. Not only did we do real estate, but we were also filming most events in SE Michigan including the Michigan State Fair, Renaissance Festival, the Pontiac Silverdome Implosion, musical events, documentaries, weddings and celebrity homes. Possibilities were endless. We knew that no matter what market, there was a need for aerial photography/videography. We strictly were an aerial company for the first 6 years and then we incorporated interior photography and videography services so that we were a one stop shop for real estate agents.
One of our very first jobs, believe it or not, was to video the home of Art Van, at the time the home was for sale for $18,000,000 – That was quite an experience!
Honestly, there has not been a “worst” job for us. The only problem we ever have is when a homeowner does not have the home ready for photography upon arrival, that does happen at times. The most exciting job was filming the Pontiac Silverdome Implosion, our footage was used for a TV documentary on the Sci Fi and Discovery Channel.
Tammy: What is the one piece of gear you cannot do without?
Steve: Why of course my drones 🙂
Tammy: Just for fun, if your business had a theme song, what would it be?
Kim: “We are the Champions” by Queen, because we never gave up and made a successful business from an idea.
Tammy: Now you are off on your vacation, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, and enjoy your downtime!
Kim: Thank you so much we appreciate the shout out!