How to Start a Drone Photography Business


Today, there is so much demand for drone photography that many hobbyists are quitting their day jobs to make a living flying their drones. co-founders Chris Stoddart and Victor Montalvo took what they learned from launching their own drone photography businesses and dedicate themselves to helping aspiring drone photographers launch their own businesses.

Here are their answers to a few of the frequently asked questions about starting a drone photography business.


Do I need a Section 333 Exemption from the FAA to start my business?

No, most drone operators do not have Section 333 Exemptions. The FAA has a suggested set of guidelines in place for commercial flight that ARE NOT law. Even if you do not pursue a Section 333 Exemption, it is best to follow all safety regulations. For more information on understanding the FAA check out our guide at


How much money can I make as a drone operator?  

The amount that drone photographers make depends on how many projects they get and the size of the projects they get. On average, drone photographers can make $500 – $1500 per session or $150 – $450 hourly. For more information on pricing and drone photography income refer to our “Running a Drone Business” guide at


How much does it cost to start a drone photography business?

The best part about starting a business with your drone is there are no startup costs. As long as you have a drone and are willing to learn you already have everything you need to get started.


What equipment do I need to get started?

You don’t need a specific make or model of drone but it should be able to capture 1080p or better quality footage in order to deliver a professional product. You should also consider your drone’s battery life when taking on jobs. Unless you’re a stone cold aerial photography genius you will need to leave room for error and that means bringing some extra batteries to allow you more time to get the perfect shots.


How will I find customers?

For drone operators, becoming a salesperson is often the hardest part of starting a drone business. The biggest thing to consider when finding customers is, “Who needs aerial photography?”. The answers to that are endless: real estate, architecture, construction, agriculture, property management, wedding/events… and the list goes on. For more information on techniques and strategies to increase the amount of customers your business gets check out our “Finding Clients” guide at


Can I start a drone photography business even though I work full time?

Absolutely! In fact, before starting our drone photography businesses we worked full time jobs and did not even own drones. We got started by finding drone operators on Craigslist and calling people to ask if they had ever considered using drone photography for their business. As long as you can manage photo shoots around your schedule, you can easily use your drone to make extra income every month.


Where should I start?

A good first step is making an online portfolio and joining a listing service. You can create an online portfolio using websites like Photoshelter or Orosso. An online portfolio is important in order to showcase your skills. Next, putting yourself out on the market by joining a listing service where people looking for drone photographers can find you. At HiFly Photography we have put together all the tools and information you need to get started. Create a custom portfolio with image and video galleries and become listed in our directory of drone professionals.


How does HiFly Photography help drone businesses?

HiFly Photography has multiple tools to make starting and managing a drone photography business easier. A few of them are:

  • Artistic portfolios with image and video galleries
  • Listing service to get found by customers
  • Expert marketing team to increase your exposure and actively get you customers in your area
  • Updated guides that walk you through becoming a professional in every aspect of the business
  • Dedicated support team to answer any questions you have about starting, running or growing your business


Pro Tip: Store your endless memories/pictures/media into the cloud and access it remotely from anywhere you go with cloud based solutions by CloudDesktopOnline, Be smart and switch to Citrix VDI with 24*7 excellent tech-support from Apps4Rent.

For any other questions concerning HiFly Photography or starting your own drone business you can reach Chris and Victor at

Image Source:

Elizabeth Ciobanu

I cover breaking news in the drone industry, interview experts in the field to learn from them for myself, and to help spread the love of drones.

View All Posts