A drone photography business can be a rewarding and exciting enterprise. Drone photography has unique selling points compared to traditional photography methods, and it is gaining in popularity as prosumer drones become more affordable, and demand rises for drone photography. In this article, we shall explore the benefits of drone photography and discuss how to start a drone photography business.
The Benefits Of Drone Photography
There are several reasons why photographers might want to use a drone in their business:
Unique perspectives: Drones can capture images and video from angles that would be impossible or impractical to obtain using other methods, which can help photographers to stand out and offer a unique perspective to their clients.
Speed: Drones can quickly and easily be deployed to capture images and video, making them useful for capturing fast-moving events or objects.
Flexibility: Drones can be used in various settings and environments, making them versatile tools for photographers.
Efficiency: Drones can cover large areas quickly, making them an efficient tool for capturing images and video.
How To Start A Drone Photography Business
To start a drone photography business, or any business for that matter, you need to formulate a business plan.
A drone business plan is essential for several reasons. First, it helps you define and articulate your business idea and goals. This can be useful in convincing potential investors or partners to invest in your business or obtain funding from banks or other lending institutions.
Second, a business plan can help you identify and analyse potential market opportunities and understand the competitive landscape in which your business will operate. This can help you to develop strategies to differentiate your business and target specific customer segments.
Third, a business plan can help you plan and organise your business’s various aspects, including marketing, sales, operations, and financials. This can help you stay on track and ensure that your business is operating efficiently and effectively.
Finally, a business plan can be a valuable tool for tracking and measuring the performance of your business over time. By regularly reviewing your business plan and updating it as needed, you can identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to make sure that the business is ready to meet its goals.
In summary, a drone business plan is essential for planning and growing a successful drone business. By clearly defining your business idea and goals, identifying market opportunities, and planning and organising various aspects of your business, a business plan can help you to take your drone business to the next level.
Get Registered & Obtain A Part 107 Certificate
So, the first thing you will need to familiarise yourself with is the rules and regulations concerning using drones for commercial applications in your country.
For example, if you live in the USA, you will need to obtain the Part 107 certification from the FAA. This certification requires passing an aeronautical knowledge test, which consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and requires at least 70% to pass. The test can be taken at any FAA-approved testing centres found all over the USA, and you will have 2 hours to complete the test. For more information about the Part 107 certification and if you are eligible to take it, visit the FAA website.
Although the FAA does provide training materials for prospective candidates, it’s advisable to purchase one of the many training courses that are now available, many of which guarantee a pass or your money back. One of the best Part 107 training courses is from Pilot Institute, which boasts a 99%+ pass from their students.
Purchase insurance: It is important to have some form of insurance to protect yourself and your business in case of any accidents or damages. There are various insurance options available for drone operators, including coverage for physical damage to the drone and liability coverage for any third-party claims.
Choose a niche: Decide what type of drone photography you want to specialise in. This could be anything from real estate to wedding photography and wildlife photography. Identify your target market and build a portfolio showcasing your skills in that specific niche.
Choosing a niche is important when starting a drone photography business, as it allows you to focus your efforts and target a specific market. Here are some tips for choosing your niche:
Consider your strengths and interests: Think about what types of drone photography you enjoy and are the most skilled at. This will help you choose an area of interest you are passionate about and will be more likely to succeed.
Research the market: Look at what types of drone photography services are in demand in your area and what your competition offers. This will help you to identify areas where there is a need for your services and where you can differentiate yourself from other drone photographers.
Determine your target market: Consider who your ideal clients would be and what type of photography they are most likely to need. For example, if you enjoy landscape photography, your target market may be real estate agents looking to showcase properties.
Be open to new opportunities: As you gain experience and build your portfolio, you may discover new areas of drone photography that you enjoy and are good at. Keep an open mind and be willing to explore new niches as they arise.
Ultimately, the most important thing is choosing a niche you are interested in that aligns with your strengths and interests. This will make it more enjoyable to work in and increase your chances of success in the drone photography business.
Purchase A Good Drone: There are many good photography drones to choose from; the drone that is suitable for you depends on your budget. My favourite is the DJI Mini 3 Pro, an excellent beginner-friendly drone and ideal for photography.
Learn Drone Photography Skills: There are tons of free videos on YouTube that will teach you how to capture great drone photos and videos. If you are completely new to photography, you must learn how to use photo editing applications like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom.
Create a website: A website is essential for promoting your business and attracting clients. It should include a portfolio of your work, information about your services and rates, and contact information. You may also want to include a blog or news section to keep clients updated on your latest projects and accomplishments.
Promote your business: In addition to your website, there are several ways to promote your drone photography business. Network with local businesses, join industry organisations and attend events and trade shows. You should also use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to showcase your work and reach potential clients.
Follow the rules: It is important to follow all applicable laws and regulations when operating a drone for commercial purposes. This includes obtaining the necessary permissions and approvals for flights, maintaining a safe distance from people and property, and respecting privacy rights.
Starting a drone photography business in the USA requires hard work, creativity, and business savvy. By following these steps and staying up-to-date on the latest regulations and industry trends, you can build a successful and fulfilling career as a drone photographer.
Is There A Market For Drone Photography?
There is a growing market for drone photography services in various industries. According to factmr, drone photography services have an estimated market value of $617.6 million, which is expected to grow to over $3 billion by 2033. Drones are used for various applications, including real estate photography, construction site monitoring, event coverage, and wildlife photography. Many businesses and individuals are willing to pay for professional drone photography services due to the unique perspective and capabilities that drones offer.
As the use of drones in various industries continues to increase, the demand for qualified drone pilots is likely to grow.
That being said, the drone photography market is still relatively new and competitive. It is important to carefully research the market and target a specific niche to stand out and attract clients. Marketing and promoting your business effectively will also be crucial to finding success in the drone photography industry.
How Much Can You Earn As A Drone Photographer?
As with any business, the income potential for a drone photographer will depend on many factors, including your skills, experience, location, and the demand for your services. Some drone photographers may be able to earn a full-time income from their business, while others may only work part-time or on a project-by-project basis.
There is no set fee for drone photography services, and rates can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the project and the client’s budget and location. Some drone photographers charge an hourly rate, while others charge a flat fee for a specific project.
According to Droners.io, a popular website where freelance drone pilots offer their services, the average hourly rate for drone photography services in the United States is $150. According to salary.com and glassdoor.com, the average salary for a drone pilot is around $80,000. You can use these figures as a baseline for what you should be charging for your drone photography services.
However, these rates and figures can vary significantly depending on the location, the type of work done, and the photographer’s experience level. Depending on their skills and reputation, some drone photographers may charge much more or much less than this average.
It is important to carefully research the market and set your rates based on the value you provide to your clients and the going rates in your area. You should start with competitive rates and gradually increase them as you gain experience and build a portfolio.
What Is The Best Drone For Photography?
When choosing a drone for your photography business, assuming you do not already have one, you are spoilt for choice. Plenty of drones on the market are suitable for professional drone photography. My favourite are the DJI Mini 3 Pro and the DJI Air 2S; both drones have fantastic cameras and a range of advanced features that make them great drone photography.
However, there are many options for you, even some of the older DJI drones that are no longer in production, like the DJI Phantom drones or original Mavic Pro and its successors, the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are suitable for drone photography. These older models can be found on sites like Amazon and eBay and maybe more budget-friendly than the newer models.
If you have never operated a drone, you may consider purchasing a cheap drone to practice and hone your flying skills. However, it should be noted that most high-end consumer drones are very easy to operate and come with safety features that minimise the risk of accidents, so it is not necessary to purchase a cheap model first.
Starting a drone photography business can be rewarding if you are willing to invest time and effort. Starting a small business is tough, but with the right attitude and a comprehensive plan, you will give yourself a better chance at success. If you want to make money with a drone, I believe starting a drone photography business is one of the best ways to achieve this goal.