Starting a Drone Photography Business: Essential Tips and Tricks

If you have a passion for photography and want to start a business, have you considered drone photography? Drones have revolutionized the way we capture images from above, offering a unique perspective that was once only possible from a helicopter or airplane. With a drone, you can capture stunning aerial shots for a variety of clients, from real estate agents to event planners.

Starting a drone photography business may seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can be a profitable and rewarding venture. One of the first steps is to become familiar with drone photography and the regulations surrounding it. You’ll need to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and follow their guidelines for safe and legal drone operation.

Once you have the necessary certifications and equipment, you’ll need to develop a business plan that outlines your target market, pricing, and marketing strategies. Consider the types of clients you want to work with and how you can differentiate yourself from competitors. With the right mindset and preparation, you can turn your passion for drone photography into a successful business.

Getting Started

Starting a drone photography business can be a lucrative and exciting venture. However, before you can start flying and taking breathtaking aerial shots, there are several things you need to consider. Here are the key steps you need to take to get started:

Business Planning

Like any other business, starting a drone photography business requires careful planning. You need to define your target market, your services, and your pricing. You also need to create a business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections.

When creating your business plan, consider factors such as:

  • Your target market: Who are your clients? What types of photography services do they need?
  • Your competition: Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Your pricing: How much will you charge for your services? How does your pricing compare to your competitors?
  • Your marketing strategy: How will you promote your services? What channels will you use?

Equipment and Insurance

One of the most critical aspects of starting a drone photography business is investing in the right equipment. You need a high-quality drone, a camera, and other accessories such as extra batteries, memory cards, and propellers. You also need liability insurance to protect yourself and your clients in case of accidents or damages.

When choosing your equipment, consider factors such as:

  • The type of photography services you offer: Do you need a drone with a high-resolution camera? Do you need a drone with a longer battery life?
  • Your budget: How much can you afford to spend on your equipment?
  • Your skill level: Are you a beginner or an experienced drone pilot?

Registering Your Business

Before you can start offering your services, you need to register your drone photography business. This involves obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS and registering your business with your state.

When registering your business, consider factors such as:

  • Your business structure: Will you operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation?
  • Your state’s requirements: What are the registration requirements in your state?
  • Your tax obligations: What are your tax obligations as a business owner?

By taking these key steps, you can set yourself up for success and start your drone photography business with confidence.

Industry Applications

If you’re considering starting a drone photography business, it’s important to understand the different applications for drone photography in various industries. Here are some of the most common industries that use drone photography:

Real Estate

Real estate agents can use drone photography to capture stunning aerial views of properties. This can help potential buyers get a better sense of the property’s layout and surrounding area. Additionally, drones can be used to create virtual tours of properties, which can be especially useful for remote buyers or those unable to attend in-person showings.


Drone photography can also be used in agriculture to survey crops and monitor plant health. By using drones to capture images of fields, farmers can identify areas that may need additional attention and make more informed decisions about crop management.


Construction companies can use drone photography to monitor progress on job sites and capture images for marketing purposes. Drones can also be used to inspect buildings and structures, which can be especially useful for identifying potential safety hazards.


Drones can be used for surveillance purposes, such as monitoring wildlife, tracking criminals, or surveying disaster areas. However, it’s important to note that there are strict regulations surrounding the use of drones for surveillance, and it’s important to ensure that you’re complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

Overall, there are many different industries that can benefit from drone photography. By understanding the different applications for drone photography, you can identify potential target markets for your business and develop a marketing strategy that speaks directly to their needs.

Regulations and Certifications

Starting a drone photography business requires complying with various regulations and obtaining certifications. In this section, we will cover the drone regulations and certifications that you need to know.

Drone Regulations

As a drone photography business owner, you need to be aware of drone regulations in your area. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established rules for flying drones commercially. These rules include obtaining a Remote Pilot Certificate, following airspace restrictions, and registering your drone.

It is important to note that drone laws may vary depending on the state or country where you operate your business. Some states or countries may have additional requirements for drone pilots, such as obtaining a permit or license.

Therefore, you should research the drone regulations in your area and comply with them to avoid legal issues.

Remote Pilot Certificate

The Remote Pilot Certificate is required by the FAA for commercial drone pilots. To obtain this certificate, you need to pass the FAA-approved Drone Pilot Ground School and pass the FAA Aeronautical Knowledge Test.

The Drone Pilot Ground School covers various topics such as FAA regulations, airspace classification, weather, and emergency procedures. The Aeronautical Knowledge Test is a multiple-choice test that assesses your knowledge of drone regulations and safety practices.

Once you obtain your Remote Pilot Certificate, you need to renew it every two years by passing a recurrent knowledge test.

Other entities such as land surveyors, real estate drone business, and law enforcement may have additional regulations and certifications to comply with. Therefore, it is important to research and comply with all relevant regulations and certifications to operate your drone photography business legally and safely.

Marketing and Sales

When starting a drone photography business, marketing and sales are crucial to getting your business off the ground. Here are some key factors to consider:

Brand and Niche

Developing a strong brand and niche is important to stand out from competitors. Your brand should represent your business and target audience, and your niche should be a specific area of expertise that sets you apart from other drone photographers. Consider what type of photography you want to specialize in, such as real estate, construction, or events. This will help you target specific clients and create a unique selling point for your business.


A strong portfolio is essential to showcase your skills and attract potential clients. Make sure your portfolio includes a variety of high-quality photos and videos that demonstrate your expertise in your niche. You can also consider creating a demo reel to showcase your work and highlight your unique selling points.

Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for marketing your drone photography business. Create social media accounts on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to showcase your work and connect with potential clients. Use relevant hashtags to reach a wider audience and engage with your followers by responding to comments and messages. You can also consider running targeted ads on social media to reach specific audiences.

When it comes to sales, here are some tips:


  • Offer competitive pricing: Research pricing in your niche and offer competitive rates to attract clients.
  • Create packages: Offer different packages that cater to different needs and budgets.
  • Provide excellent customer service: Respond to inquiries promptly and provide exceptional service to ensure client satisfaction.
  • Offer discounts: Consider offering discounts for referrals or repeat business to encourage loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Stay organized: Keep track of client information, contracts, and invoices to stay organized and professional.

By developing a strong brand, showcasing your portfolio, utilizing social media, and implementing effective sales strategies, you can successfully market and sell your drone photography business.

Running Your Business

Running a drone photography business requires more than just taking aerial shots. You need to manage your finances, protect your business from liabilities, and comply with legal requirements. Here are some key areas to focus on:

Liability Insurance

It’s important to protect your business from potential lawsuits and damages caused by your drone operations. Liability insurance can help cover the costs of legal fees, medical bills, and property damage. Consider getting a liability insurance policy that covers drone operations, such as general liability insurance or drone-specific insurance.

Accounting and Startup Costs

Running a drone photography business involves expenses such as equipment, software, marketing, and travel. It’s crucial to keep track of your income and expenses, and to create a budget and business plan. Consider hiring an accountant or using accounting software to manage your finances.

When starting a drone photography business, you need to invest in high-quality equipment such as a drone, camera, and accessories. The costs can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the equipment you choose. You also need to consider the costs of obtaining a commercial drone license and liability insurance.

Choosing the right legal entity for your drone photography business can help protect your personal assets and simplify your tax filings. Consider forming a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. It’s also important to open a separate business bank account to keep your personal and business finances separate.

Registering for taxes is also a crucial step when starting a drone photography business. You need to obtain a federal tax ID number and register for state and local taxes. Consult with a tax professional to ensure you comply with all tax requirements.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

As a commercial drone operator, you need to comply with FAA regulations and obtain a Part 107 drone license. You also need to follow airspace restrictions and obtain permission to fly in certain areas. Stay up-to-date with FAA regulations and consult with a drone attorney if you have any legal questions.

Drone videography is a growing industry and creating an online drone course can be a great way to supplement your income. Consider creating a course on drone photography or drone videography and selling it online.

Running a drone photography business can be rewarding and profitable, but it requires careful planning and management. By focusing on key areas such as liability insurance, accounting, legal entity, and FAA compliance, you can set your business up for success.