How Much to Charge for Drone Photography?

The amount to charge for drone photography depends on your experience level, skills, and equipment. The industry average is approximately $200 per hour and some drone pilots also present half-day and full-day flat rates.

Hello, fellow drone professionals! My name is Lavelle and I am a drone pilot and photographer. I have been using my drones for commercial and recreational use over the past decade or so. 

In this article, I will cover some of the variables that contribute to deciding how much to charge for drone photography. I will also discuss some of the services you can provide and some of the different disciplines of drone photography that you might consider.

Key Takeaways

  • Drone pilots set their pricing based on the level of experience, skills, and qualifications they possess.
  • Charging less than your competitors will not necessarily result in a competitive advantage.
  • Create a niche for your services. This way you will be able to stand out among competitors and offer a unique service.

How Much to Charge for Drone Photography

Drone photography has become an in-demand service. Drone pilots can offer services such as photography and videography. With these services, you may perform aerial photography for land owners, you may produce advertising campaigns or commercials for businesses, and other such services. 

Your time and expertise are the key factors along with any editing services you may need to provide. Along with considering your level of experience, you should factor in your overhead costs, travel costs, pre and post-production costs, and any other associated costs

For instance, if someone hires you to complete a 2-hr aerial photo shoot of some vacant land and it takes you 30 minutes to drive there and 30 minutes to drive back to your home or office, then you need to factor in the costs associated with that activity.

The industry average for drone photography is approximately $200 per hour. Some of the photography disciplines you may find work in include real estate, marketing, wedding and events, corporate events, construction, agriculture, and film production, just to name a few.

I’ve found success in the film industry, using my drones to shoot opening shots for movies, capturing overhead shots of particular scenes, and shooting generic aerials that many film producers search for when filming. 

How to Estimate the Price for Drone Photography

Here are some tips for estimating the fee you should charge for your drone photography services.

1. Consider Your Experience, Equipment, and Skills

Firstly, honestly consider your experience level. Experience is a factor that you cannot hide and that you shouldn’t underestimate. Along with the experience, you should consider the type of equipment you have and how that equipment compares to your competitors. 

Finally, consider the skills that you bring to the project. What is your niche? What sets you apart from other drone photographers? The answers to these kinds of questions will drive your pricing.

2. Estimate the Time Spent for Work to Be Done and Time for Post-editing

Your time is valuable. Ensure that you prioritize it when calculating your fee for services rendered. Estimate the time it takes you to do the work and any time involved in post-editing. 

3. Decide Whether You Want Hourly or Fixed Pay

One of the important decisions to make is to determine whether you should charge an hourly rate or a flat fee. Making this decision really depends on the type of project and your communication with the customer. 

For instance, you may charge hourly for a real estate photo shoot that includes multiple locations and you might charge a flat fee for a wedding. Again, it really depends on the project and how the communication goes with the customer.

4. Check the Competitors

Browse other drone photographers’ websites, especially those in your area. Get an idea of what others are charging. I recommend that you do not just simply underbid their rates. Rather, look at their rates and consider your experience, skills, equipment, etc. and price your rates competitively


Here are some answers to a few of the frequently asked questions about charging for drone photography.

How Much Money Do Drone Photographers Make?

There is really no precise answer to this question. Inexperienced drone photographers can make as little as $20K a year while experienced drone photographers can make as much as $185K per year.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Drone Videographer?

The industry average for drone videography events is between $750 and $1000. The cost can go up or down depending on the length of the event and the services needed such as editing.

Is There a Market for Drone Photography?

Yes, there is a huge market for drone photography. Traditional photography has taken a hit because of the highly technical phone cameras, but drone photography can’t be duplicated. Aerial shots are always needed and it takes a drone and a good drone pilot to fill that need.

Final Thoughts

Drone photography is a rapidly growing and in-demand service. It is important that you understand the market, know and comply with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, and be aware of airspace restrictions. There is the opportunity to earn a substantial living as a drone photographer. 

Are you a drone photographer? Do you find it difficult to estimate the price for your services? Feel welcome to share your drone photography experience in the comments below. 

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