To top
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

You have experience with taking professional quality photography with drones, but have you ever considered selling your work? Selling your drone footage is a fun and gratifying way to make some money as its something you already love to do. Interested? Here are the steps you’ll need to take to make that dream a reality.

Find Your Niche

The first thing you’ll need to decide is what you’ll want to take photography of. Popular topics include wildlife, landscape, city shots, sporting events, ocean views, busy streets, and even weddings.

Pick whatever you want to photograph and start perfecting your craft. It should be something you be skilled at and enjoy photographing.

Required Licensing

Since you’ll be profiting from your drone, you’ll need additional licensing. Each country’s rules may be different, but in the U.S., the FAA requires you to have a Part 107 license to operate a drone for commercial purposes.

This requires you to take a written test, which covers a variety of topics related to flying drones. You’ll need to study, and there are many study guides you can find online. One we’d recommend that costs $299 is Drone Pilot School and the FAA has a free course as well.

Once you feel ready to take the test, find a testing center closest to you out of the 696 testing centers available. The test will take a couple hours and the fee is $150.

Operating Skills

It’s important you have great operating skills when capturing high-quality pictures. You should be fairly good at operating a drone by now and one of the biggest techniques you should master is hovering. By maintaining a proper throttle, pitch, and roll, you should be able to continuously hover for a long time.

With filming the video, you’ll want to practice zooming, panning, framing, and the perspective you are filming for. Also, a necessary tool you should have on your drone is a gimbal, as it will keep your camera level and stable during the process.

The only way to perfect these techniques is to practice them as much as possible. Practice advanced maneuvers, like flying in as small of a circle as you can, or making a figure 8 with your drone. The more you are comfortable with flying and operating your drone and camera, the better your photography will be.

Photo/Video Editing

Developing your video and photo editing skills are just as important as your actual filming skills. Remember, if the product doesn’t look professional, people won’t pay for it. Get a video or photo editing software like Adobe Premiere or GoPro studio and practice your craft at mastering editing skills.

Make sure you understand how to edit lighting, color grading, and graphics. With videos, add music, transitions, and cuts that make the content look professional.

To get a feel for what the quality should be like, included in the next section are some great YouTube and Instagram pages. 

Social Media and YouTube

Social media presence is one of the first steps you should take to promoting your drone. It’s free and it will reach many people.

Create pages on all the major social media sites (ex. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat) and consistently post your best photography. Also, if you do video, create a YouTube account and upload your content there. If the content is good, this will draw people in and may open the doors to potential customers.

If you want to see professional channels and what they look like, check out Epic Drone Videos on YouTube, or @xanderdepascale on Instagram. These are some of the best in the business, and they may give you some creative inspiration on flying, filming, and editing techniques. Put popular hashtags like #drone, #dronefolio and #dronedaily on your posts as well as they are popular ones that many use.

You should also include hashtags of popular accounts on your photos. For example, droneoftheday is a popular Instagram account that uploads one drone picture each day submitted by anyone. You can submit your photography by tagging them with #DroneOfTheDay and @DroneOfTheDay in your caption. If you are selected, it would be huge publicity, as they have over 189k followers. Another popular Instagram page you could do the same thing with is dronefly.

Build A Website 

Although it’s not free like social media or YouTube, building a website is crucial to your business’ success. Web hosting only costs around $5-$10 a month, and you could either figure out how to build your site with WordPress or hire an expert for around a couple hundred dollars.

A website is where you can post all of the details of your services. What you offer, pricing estimates, and most important: your sample work.

If you expect people to hire you or pay for your drone photography, they are going to want to see sample work. Find some of the best photos or videos that you have taken and upload them to your site as well.

The Next Steps in Marketing

Now that you have taken the previous steps in promoting your photography, you’ll need to take it a step further. Social media and having a website might help you get some customers, but the reality is that it can be hard to promote from just these sources if you don’t have many followers.

That last way you can try to promote your business is by reaching out to potential customers in your community. Examples of this could include people needing real estate photos, weddings, local sporting events, companies wanting videos of their facilities, or great scenic shots for tourist companies.

Get creative with it. Think of businesses in your area who could greatly benefit from having aerial photography and reach out to them. It’s something that many haven’t even heard of or considered. If you can show them sample work to give them an idea what it’d look like, you may find it is an easy sell.

The important thing is to start local and small. If you do a great job and impress those in your community, word spreads quickly and you could grow your business even further with each job you complete.

Community

Becoming a part of the drone community will help you out so much. You’ll be able to meet people to fly with, stay up to date on the latest trends and regulations, and you’ll learn about techniques in flying, filming, and editing that will be priceless.

There are tons of great online communities where you can ask questions and get responses from drone enthusiasts like yourself. A few popular ones are:

Also, there are many great subreddits you should check out like r/quadcopter, r/multicopter, and r/drones.

All of these online communities are great, as you can learn a lot from people more experienced than you. However, meeting someone else who flies near you would be even more beneficial. You could casually go flying together, offer advice, and learn more. But, if you don’t know anyone who flies, how would you go about meeting someone?

At Meetup.com, there is an entire section for drone enthusiasts. With over 100,000 members and 531 meetups, this a great way to meet other drone operators in person. You can create an event near you, or try to see if there has already been one created. Sometimes, thousands of people come; other times only a couple. Nevertheless, it is a great way to connect with people who love drones and help you start to immerse yourself in the drone community even more.

Knowing someone in the drone community will not only beneficial for you knowledge and skills, but it is also a reference for meeting more people and potential clients. The more people you meet, the more doors that will open up for you.

Finally; Stay True To Your Art

It can definitely become frustrating if business is slow at first. This can make it tempting to take jobs that you won’t like just to make some money at it.

But, have some perspective on your business. Remember why you started it; for the love of the hobby. Making money should be seen as a sweet bonus. Have fun with the creative process and do the projects that you want to do. Keep practicing and improving your skills as there is always room for improvement.

Shop the Story

Leave a Reply

We are on Instagram