How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make

Aerial photography involves a person taking photos with a flying object, like a drone or an aircraft. Aerial photography is used for various purposes like mining, inspecting, entertainment, and agriculture.

It is a new way of sharing a perspective. So let’s come to the question of today’s article.

How much do aerial photographers make?

A drone pilot or an aerial photographer makes $50,000 to $80,000 annually. An aerial photographer makes $40-$50 per hour. It is the average income of the aerial photographer and can be changed over time because drones and the trend of aerial photography are increasing daily.

In this article, I will share the earnings of different aerial photographers, how much tax they pay, how to become a professional drone pilot, and how much you should charge for your drone photography.

If you also want to know how much you should graduate from aerial photography, then keep reading this article.

How much do aerial photographers make in real estate?

You have already listened to aerial photography for real estate. As an aerial photographer, a person makes images and shoots videos for an agency that pays him good money.

The aerial photographer for real estate makes an average of $200 to $600 per shoot of a building.

The price range changes when the drone pilot uses better equipment. If the drone pilot uses DJI Phantom 4 Pro, he will charge about $100 to $300, and the same if he is using the Mavic series drone, he starts charging from $300 and will charge more.

The real estate agency that hires the photographer also manages the expenses of the drone pilot, like travel expenses, food, and stuff like that.

There is so much flexibility in the price range. If the person charges $300 per shoot per building, you can imagine how many buildings he can cover in a month.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make
A drone footage

I am talking about the professionals, not the average drone pilots.

Professional drone pilots have higher rates than written above, and they can change the price on the spot; for example, if the agency tells the pilot to shoot the video at night, it would be more challenging for the pilot, and he will charge more accordingly.

How much does a wildlife photographer earn?

When people say “Photographer,” a picture of wildlife comes into most people’s minds. So now let’s talk about the wildlife photographer’s earnings. Wildlife photography is the dream career of some people, and they love to take wildlife photos.

It is also difficult to take images and shoot videos of wildlife, but the people who have the courage have taken so many images of wildlife.

As it is so difficult, the money is also more in their type of photography. If you want to be a wildlife photographer, you can deal with National Geographic.

There are also plenty of websites and companies that buy the images, and you can rate your image higher if you take so many risks to take that image.

According to the big data analysis, an average wildlife drone photographer makes around $50,000 annually.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
A wildlife drone footage

If we divide this income, an average wildlife photographer earns between $4000 and $5000 per month.

How much does an aerial construction photographer earn?

Construction is another so much paying company that pays the drone pilot enough money that he can live with style. As I have mentioned in dozens of my other articles, using drones in construction can save the money of the investors and can benefit them with good data.

For a professional drone pilot, the best opportunity to show his talent is in construction companies.

READ MORE: Can birds take down a drone?

The company will pay all of the expenses of the drone pilot and will give him a very good payment as the job is done. If you find a company with so much work, “oh boy,” you are so lucky.

Because if you once get attached to one company, you will get so much experience from them and money. If you are a professional drone pilot, you can set the deal with the company and ask for your payment. An average construction drone pilot makes $300 to $500 per visit to the building.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
A construction site

It is a lot of money you can work with different clients on the signal day because it will take almost half an hour or 45 minutes to inspect a signal building. So you can imagine how much you can earn as a construction drone pilot or even become a drone pilot.

How much a roof inspection drone photographer makes?

The money that an inspecting drone photographer is something other than what I can tell in figures because it varies due to different aspects.

The salary of a drone pilot for the inspection can change because of the location, experience, and type of drone a pilot uses.

If we only talk about the average payment of a drone pilot in the United States of America, then he can earn more than 60,000 dollars per year, and if we divide this income, then the drone pilot can earn up to $5000 per month if he works some hours a day.

Remember, the income of any drone pilot can vary and is flexible. If the drone pilot is smart, he can make so much money you have never thought about.

There are specific roof inspection companies, so if you are working with a big company, then it is obvious that you will be making good money.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
Roof Inspection

How much does an artistic aerial photographer earn?

Artistic drone pilots are pilots that do changes the videos and the images taken with the drone into art and make the content looks perfect and so much different. This kind of content is seen more and sold at more prices.

According to the big data gatherer, an average drone pilot who does drone piloting in artistic aerial photography makes more than $50000 to 70000$ per year, and this large amount tells that an artistic drone pilot can make more than 6 thousand dollars per month, and this is not the exact figure.

The artistic drone pilot can sell his photos or videos on the big website at the cost of what they want. One of the best ways to do this is to go online and search for this kind of website and open them and share the demo images or videos; then, they will rate it.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
A beautiful image was taken with a drone

Suppose you make an image of something, the most beautiful object in the world, or photograph the most beautiful island or place.

READ MORE: Impact of drones on society

In that case, you can also print that image out and can sell it at the price of a painting, and you know how much a painting is costly.

How much can you earn by stock imagery through a drone?

Stock imagery is another way of making money. It is also a type of artistic drone photography. So as I have told you above, artistic drone pilots can make a lot of money, so this is another way and is similar to that.

With stock imagery, you can build your amazing reputation in the photography field.

It should be less paying than it is, but it is a good way to pay some bills. So you need to post the images on social media and stock imagery websites like Pexels, Pixabay, iStock, Canva, Shutterstock, and others.

Some of these websites will pay you as the people download your images, and some will give you nothing.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
A beautiful drone footage

On some of the websites, you will need to request the viewers to donate to you, which I don’t like because if you have done something with so much effort and it is good, then you don’t ask people to help.

It is impossible to tell how much you can earn this way, but it will give you some fame, and you will be known as a good drone pilot and photographer, which is a good thing rather than making money. What do you say about this? Tell me in the comment box.

How much can you earn as an investigative aerial photographer?

Suppose you have yet to read my previous article. In that case, you might not know that drone pilots work with the insurance, police, and other investigative authorities and help them investigate a specific incident effortlessly. So it is a very good and tough way to make money as a drone pilot.

In some countries or regions of specific countries, you will need to get a drone pilot license to fly your drone for any investigative authority, but if you are working with an authority that is related to the government, then you do not need to get the drone pilot certificate.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
An aerial Photograph

When you are working with a governmental authority then, you will get paid monthly, and your payment will be fixed, but when you work with a private investigative authority, then you will need to register your drone and get the license, and also, your pay will be flexible.

If you want to start your career with a private investigative company or want to work flexibly, then you can start by costing $500 per investigation.

You can also increase or decrease according to work. But as a good friend, I want to give you some good advice; this work is more challenging. You can be in trouble if you make any mistake while investigating.

How to become a professional aerial drone photographer?

It takes work to acquire knowledge or become professional in anything overnight. So you have sworn that you will become a professional drone pilot; you must follow some of the best practices written below.

Please remember that to become a very good drone pilot or a professional; you must learn everything about drones. The list is down below; read it and implement it.

Learn the Basics of Flying a Drone: It is the first and most important for learning flying drones. All you need to do is buy a small toy drone and fly it in a regulated or safe area where there are no rules for flying drones, and nobody will restrict you.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?

In the time of your first toy or small drone, you will not get professional, but over time you will master it. 

Learn the buttons of the controller and feet, the propellers, and the joysticks of your drone remote. Understand all the buttons that help you to fly the drone, and press them sparingly because they can get broken.

Obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate: After a month or two weeks, you will be able to understand the buttons, and you will also know how a drone is flown, but this is not the end. Now you need to get the remote pilot certificate from the authority that controls the drone rules in your country. 

To obtain the remote pilot certificate, you will need to visit the authority’s office, or you will need to go to the institute that teaches how to fly the drone professionally. If you don’t know, you can go to and learn online “How to fly a drone?”.

After learning the basic skills, you will need to pass an exam from the authority that controls the drone rules, and after then, you will receive your drone remote pilot certificate from the authority.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
Remote Pilot Certificate

Register Your Drone: There is a very important rule for you. If your drone weighs less than 250g, you do not need to register your drone. Remember this rule is applied only to USA citizens, and you can check yours too from google.

If your drone is bigger and you want to become a professional drone pilot, you will need to register your drone with the FAA.

Get Insurance: In many countries flying a drone without liability insurance is a crime and a violation of the rules.

If you want to fly your drone anywhere in the USA or the rest of the world, you will need to get public liability insurance so that if you make any accident, your insurance company will get you covered.

Get Experience: If, after learning the basics and going to school, you still don’t know how to make drone videos or photos, then you do not need to worry about yourself and don’t say to yourself that you are not talented enough.

You still need to get the experience and keep flying your drone in different ways and areas. After one or two months, you will be a good drone pilot.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
You need to get experience.

Network and Market Your Services: If, after three months of practice and a learning process, you have got some experience, then you can start networking. Look, you still need to be a better or professional drone pilot.

Becoming a professional drone pilot will take some years. But after 3 or 4 months, you will be trained and will be able to make good videos for social media and the websites that can buy your drone footage.

Lastly, I recommend that if you stop flying your drone, you will never become a professional drone pilot. Also, remember that every country on planet earth has some different rules, so always obey all drone rules, whatever country you are.

The drone rules are the only things that have saved the world, and drones are not completely banned from every country.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
An image website

What are the different roles of drone photographers?

There are different roles of drone photographers, and there are different works that they do; some of the most common ones are below.

A Photographer: The drone photographers are the drone pilots. Photographers help drone pilots to get the best shots and give directions to drone pilots to take better images.

Photographers are the people who have the best techniques to take photographs and show the world their talent.

What if the drone pilot himself is a photographer? So in this way, a professional drone pilot not only flies a drone, he knows better about the techniques for taking the best photographs. So you will need to be the best photographer and a better drone pilot.

 Freelancers: There are so many drone pilots who sell their talent online. If you also want to sell, then you can be a freelancer. To become a freelancer, you can visit websites like Upwork and Fiver and make your Gig there.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
Freelancing for drone pilots

Show the people what you can do, set the price range, ask the client’s requirements, take the photos, and send him and earn money.

Event Photography: It is the role in which you will need to be skilled, and your drone should fly in a way that impresses everyone.

Photography at the events is not easy because you will need to gather the best images of the event. You can cover different events, like weddings, exhibitions, parties, and more.

Portrait Photography: This type of photography can be so much tricky, and it is easy and fun also. In this photography type, a drone pilot takes portraits of a personality and impresses them with their talent.

In most places, this can be expensive for someone who wants to take portrait photos. You can make at least 65,000 dollars per year. 

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
A portrait

Photography of the Products: This is the most interesting photography type, and in this role, all you need to do is take out the best video shots or images of the products of a specific company, and in return, if you make good photos the company will give you payment that you can set before the shoot.

There are so many other drone pilot roles that you can choose and start your career. If you keep flying the drone and following the drone rules in your country, you will be the best drone pilot in the world.

How much tax will you pay as a drone pilot?

Tax is another huge spike that you will need to climb. In almost every country, taxes need to pay, and many people pay, and some of them do not pay, which is wrong. To improve your life and drone pilot career, you must pay all the taxes.

As a drone pilot, as much you will earn, from it, some money you will have to give to the government. The government gives you so many facilities. If you live in the USA, then per year, you will need to give 24% of your real income of the year, according to

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
You must pay the tax.

Remember, the tax can be changed with the location. Your tax information will remain the same if you live in the USA. The figure I told you about can be changed, so it is better to first talk to a senior or a lawyer to learn about the taxes.

How much education is required to be a drone pilot?

Education is the most important thing in this world. If you have an education, your life will be easier. But if you want to become a drone pilot, you will need to get a degree in any department, or you will not need to pass the diplomas.

If you are living in the USA and want to become a drone pilot, you can go to the FAA’s website and learn how to get the remote pilot certificate. The only requirement for a drone pilot is getting a relatively easy remote pilot certificate.

If you want to get the remote pilot certificate, you should be at least 16 years old and have passed the aeronautical knowledge test.

You do not need to get a formal education to become a drone pilot, but to study and pass the FAA’s part 107 exam; you will need to be self-studied.

If you want to work with some private companies as a drone pilots, they might require a special degree.

How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
No need for formal education for drone piloting

Important FAQs

How much should you charge as a drone pilot?

In the USA, drone photographers charge about $200 to $800 daily or for a signal shoot. Start charging less in your early days if you want to make money as a drone pilot.

What type of photographer makes the most money?

Aerial photographers make the most money. Aerial drone photographers earn thousands of dollars per year, and it is possible that you can earn in lacs.

Is aerial photography expensive?

Yes, aerial photography is expensive. An average drone pilot charges $100 to $800 per hour, which is a huge amount.
How Much Do Aerial Photographers Make?
A beautiful drone image of a volcano

Final Thoughts

Aerial photography is at the hype these days, and every drone pilot who knows something about flying a drone and the techniques of photography is making good money. An average drone pilot is making at least $50 per hour.

What are you waiting for if you want to become a drone pilot? Find any drone pilot institute that teaches you about drones, provides you with all the information about drones and helps you become a professional drone pilot.

I would advise you if you are thinking about becoming a drone pilot because your friend is also a drone pilot or if you are becoming a drone pilot because you have seen the trend.

Then let me tell you that you need to buy a toy drone and fulfil your wish, but if you want to become a professional drone pilot, you will need to work harder and learn the skills.

If, after reading this article, you still have some queries in your mind, then you can ask me in the comment box. I am especially waiting for you. I will try to make so much possible to answer your question.

Have you ever flown a drone before? What was your experience?

Can You Fly a Drone in Chicago? Drone Laws in Chicago

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