Drone photography is used for real estate, events, parties, school projects, cartography, and many more. Photographers shoot either in one location or several sites for clients and they use a variety of equipment to achieve a near-to-perfect shot. Among the equipment they could use—drones, blimps, kites, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and planes—drones are the most popular.

Photography using a drone, however, is not cheap. It’s not exactly expensive either, considering the amount of time and technical know-how involved in it, but let’s just say you would have to spend a couple of hundreds of dollars at least to get the shots that you want.

Flat fees

When you start to inquire for photography services, you would notice that everything starts with a flat fee and that’s usually about $150 per shoot, including their travel to and from the location.

That amount, however, will only be fixed for a certain period of time and for a certain mile range. Most photographers would charge extra beyond a 20-mile radius from their office. Now, that’s when the cost could escalate.

A photographer can charge an additional $50 to $90 per additional hour and rates should also vary depending on the equipment to be used, the geographic region, the company’s reputation, and the competition in the area. The more competition the studio has in your area, the lower the fixed rate would be, of course.

Aerial video fees

Take a look at the different packages being offered by photographers. You would notice that aside from the flat one-session fee, there are options such as aerial footage. Remember that the flat fee would only involve taking photos and not editing or processing these photos. You would get the photos raw.

If you want to get them processed, you would have to pay an additional charge. Aerial video fees can cost as low as $200 for the raw video (no editing) to as much as $450 for a 90-second clip to $5,000 to $7,000 for a 30-minute video at 4K resolution.


Drone photography gear can cost an estimated $1,500 to over $12,000, depending on the make and model of the equipment. Higher-end gear will produce a higher-quality photo and video. If a customer wants the best result for his video or photo, he would need to spend more on the photographer’s use of the right equipment.

Licenses and permits

Another thing that comes into play when we talk about drone photography costing is the licenses and permit fees. The use of drones for commercial purposes is heavily regulated and there are corresponding licenses and permits needed to fly these unmanned aerial systems. Naturally, a portion of the licenses and fees would be shouldered by the clients.