When paired with state of the art cameras, sensors and payloads, drones are one of the world’s most versatile pieces of technology. Drone operators make money in lots of ways, but you don’t need commercial-grade equipment to get started. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, drone photography is one of the most accessible ways to earn money from your RPA. So, can you sell drone photography? In this article we’ll discuss the possibilities and what you’ll need to make a start in the industry.
Can You Sell Drone Photography?
The short answer is yes! There are plenty of avenues for making money using your drone, and selling photography is a popular option. Drone platforms are improving at a rapid pace. Manufacturers are constantly developing new technologies to improve the quality of the images and videos taken by drones. And, while you can buy drones with high-quality cameras built in, some platforms are also compatible with professional photography and videography equipment.
There are two main avenues when it comes to selling drone photography:
- Sell directly to clients. Drones see use in dozens of industries, like real estate, entertainment, construction, agriculture and more. If you’re willing to build business relationships, it’s possible to find a range of clients who need your expertise in drone photography.
- Sell stock images. Selling stock imagery is the simpler option for most people. You can use existing stock image platforms to market and sell your images to clients from across the world, and you’ll earn a fee each time one of your photos is licensed for use.
Selling Drone Photography as Stock Images
Selling your photography as stock images is one of the simplest ways to make money with a drone. Stock images are widely used in entertainment, news, marketing and more, so there’s a huge global market for high quality images and videos. There are dozens of online marketplaces that allow you to sell stock photography and videography. Some of the most popular stock image websites are:
- Getty Images
- Adobe Stock
Most websites offer one of two payment models: royalties or royalty-free. If you are being paid a royalty, you’ll receive a small fee every time a customer uses your photo. This can be extremely lucrative if your images are picked up by major companies. Alternatively, a royalty-free model means you’ll receive a flat fee when a customer purchases your photo. This flat fee will be substantially more than the royalty, but the customer will typically be able to use the photo as many times as they want without further payment.
Do I Need a Remote Pilots Licence to Sell Drone Photography?
Yes, you will typically need a Remote Pilots Licence (RePL) to sell drone photography in Australia. Selling photography is considered a commercial use of your drone. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulates commercial drone usage, and pilots are required to undergo licensing training to ensure they understand the rules and regulations. With that said, CASA has introduced excluded categories that reduce the legal restrictions on commercial drone operations. Under the excluded categories, you’re allowed to operate a Very Small drone (weighing between 250g and 2kg) without holding an RePL. Many entry-level photography and videography drones fall into this category. The only catch is that you will be limited to operating within CASA’s standard operating conditions, which prevent you from flying your drone at night, near other people and more than 120m above the ground. If you want to fly a larger drone with better camera equipment, or if you want to operate around other people, you’ll need to obtain an RePL.
Make the Most of Your Drone with Courses from UAV Training Australia!
Selling drone photography is just one way you can use your drone to make money! With drones quickly becoming one of the world’s most versatile tools, there are dozens of options for expanding your career as a remote pilot. Whether you’re starting out, continuing your training or getting ready to start your business, UAV Training Australia can help! UAV Training Australia is a dedicated drone training provider. We work with pilots of all skill levels, providing RePL courses, advanced aerial photography training and more! We’re committed to training the next generation of drone pilots, and our experienced instructors are ready to help take your career to new heights. You can browse our course catalogue online, or contact us if you’d like to learn more about our drone training courses.