How to Become a Drone Photographer: The Ultimate Guide

Drone Photographer

You’re tired of working day after day in a job field you hate! It’s time to change things up and start your own business. You’ve always had a passion for snapping pictures.

If you want a career that isn’t too hard to start and is in high demand, you should become a drone photographer. All you need to get started is a camera and a dream. 

Of course, before you create a website and start advertising your services, you should probably get your flying license. Since you’re going to be doing this as a job, you’ll need to invest some money into your drone too. 

It needs to have all the features you need to capture images for your clients. Drone insurance is a must as well.

Want to learn more about how you can jumpstart your drone photography business? Check out these essential tips.

Choose Your Weapon 

The first rule of drone photography is to pick the right one. They’re expensive tools. The last thing you want is to dump a bunch of money on a device that isn’t going to suit your needs. 

To this end, it’s a good idea to look out for GPS, camera gimbals, collision avoidance, and other features that no photographer would be caught dead without. 


The last thing you want is to lose track of your drone while you’re flying it around outside. That’s a good way to crash into a tree and break your expensive device. 

That’s where having a drone with GPS technology comes in handy. It will read the location of your drone and send the information back to you on the controller. This way, you always know where your device is at. 

Flight Controller

The flight controller is the device that controls your drone. If you weren’t flying your drone with the goal of becoming a photographer in mind, you could get one that would serve your basic needs. 

Since you’re using your drone to start a business, however, you’ll need to think a bit out of the box. Your controller needs to have things like waypoint control, map overlay, manual flight control, and video streaming. 

Camera Gimbals 

As your drone is in flight, vibrations occur that could make your pictures come out blurry. You don’t want to let a random gust of wind come between you and a sweet payday. 

That’s why you need a drone with camera gimbals. It will keep the device steady while you snap pictures. 


FPV or first-person view will show you everything your drone sees on a screen. It’s not used a lot for photography, but it can net you some unique shots. 

Just make sure that you don’t get so caught up in staring at the screen that you stop paying attention to your surroundings. That’s a beginner’s mistake that a lot of people make. 

Collision Avoidance 

We will reiterate one last time that drones aren’t cheap devices. The last thing you want is to send yours into a tree. 

If you have a drone with collision avoidance, it’s something that you’ll never have to worry about. This feature will stop your drone right before it comes into contact with another object. 

Buy the Right Accessories 

You bought a powerful Mini 3 Pro for your business. It’s got the specs needed to take some amazing pictures, but you can do better. 

It’s not enough to have the right drone for needs. You also have to buy some killer accessories to go with it. 

You may decide that you want to buy your own professional camera instead of getting a drone with a built-in one, for example. That’s a valid choice, considering drone cameras are often worse quality than the professional ones you can get from an electronics store. 

Most drones are only able to fly for maybe half an hour before they run out of juice. If you anticipate keeping your device out for a while, we recommend picking up a few additional batteries. 

Propellers are often made with flimsy materials that are easy to break. They’re simple enough to replace, so it’s not too big of a deal, but you’ll need to keep a few on hand. 

Having an SD card will ensure that your drone never runs out of memory space to store photos. LED lights will allow you to fly your device after the sun goes down and get some stellar nighttime shots. 

Lastly, it’s advisable to grab a landing pad. It will allow your drone to have a softer landing when you’re done shooting for the day. 

Learn How to Fly Your Drone

Now that you have your drone (and all the accessories you need to operate it), it’s time to learn how to fly the thing. 

Even if you have a drone with a camera gambit, you’ll still take blurry pictures if you don’t know how to use your device. It might be best for you to invest in a cheaper drone to start with and work your way up to a more expensive device. 

If you do want to jump in right away with all the bells and whistles, you should at least read the manual before you send it out for the first time. It doesn’t hurt to take a flight class, either.  

Read Up on Your Local Laws

Some countries don’t allow drones at all. The ones that do allow them, have strict laws revolving around them. 

In most cases, there are restricted areas that you can’t hover your drone around. You’ve got to respect others by not flying your device around people or their private property. 

If your drone weighs over a certain amount, you’ll have to register it in most states. 

Keep in mind that if you break any of the drone-related laws in your state/country, you can be met with fines or jail time. It’s not worth it.

Buy Insurance

Let’s say that you don’t buy a drone with a collision avoidance feature and crash it into a tree. If you insure your device, you’ll be able to have your drone fixed without emptying your bank account to buy another one. 

If someone with a drone crashes into yours, and they don’t have insurance, you’ll have priority over them. 

Pick a Niche

You won’t make it far into any photography careers unless you choose a niche. When it comes to drone photography, you’ve got a ton of choices. 

You can do children’s parties and weddings. One of the most popular uses for aerial photography is in real estate. Agents will hire you to take top-down shots of the properties they have available. 

If you like furry friends, you may be able to reach out to pet owners who want action shots of their fur babies. There’s no limit to the possibilities!  

Choose Your Prices 

After you choose your niche, you’ll have to set your prices. The general rule of thumb here is to know what you’re worth. 

If you’re a newbie in the biz, you may not want to charge as much for your services as your more experienced competitors. You’ll never bring in business that way. 

You can do hourly rates, but it’s not recommended. You’ll make money for the time you put in taking the shots, but it doesn’t account for all the photo manipulation work you’ll have to do after the fact. 

Create a Portfolio of Your Work 

Most customers are going to want to see samples of your work before they hire you, which is fair. They don’t want to spend a bunch of money on something that they haven’t seen. 

After you create a collage of your past work, put it on your website and spread it around on your social media account. 

Promote Yourself

It’s hard to bring in clients if nobody knows about you. You’re going to need to do a little self-promoting

Since there are millions of people on social media, that’s the way you want to go. All it takes is for one of your followers to share your stuff for hundreds of people to learn about your business. 

Become the Best Licensed Drone Photographer

As you can see, becoming a licensed drone photographer isn’t difficult. It all starts with buying the right device. 

From there, you’ll need to learn how to fly, create a portfolio of your work, and promote yourself. Don’t forget to read up on the local laws before you send your drone out, and above all else, love what you do. 

For more tips that will help you get your new company going in the right direction, visit the Business section of our blog.