Aerial photography is used for real estate, weddings, parties, events and much more. Photographers can shoot at one or multiple locations for particular clients. Aerial platforms include drones, blimps, helicopters, kites, fixed-wing aircrafts and planes. Drones are most common. Clients most frequently request photos, video clips and fully edited videos. Several factors affect the cost of aerial photography.
Depending on the service, some aerial photographers charge a flat rate, which covers their travel to and from the location as well as any shots taken during the session. Rates vary depending on variables such as geographic region, the photographer’s equipment, company reputation and area competition. For example, Flight 1 Aerial Photography in Denton, Texas, charges $150 for a 60- to 90-minute shoot at at any location within a 20 mile radius. After 90 minutes, the company charges $50–$70 per additional hour. This pricing generally applies to real estate drone photography and includes photo editing as well as access to all photos taken during the shoot.
Aerial video fees
Some customers want aerial video footage of their wedding, corporate events, private parties or real estate sites for use in anything from marketing materials to personal social media use. Rates vary widely, with similar factors to those cited in the flat rate fees. Video editing also plays a major role in cost. The longer the finished video product, the higher the total price. Here are a couple of pricing examples:
Steady State Studios in Portland, Oregon:
Aerial footage added into one of the company’s wedding videography packages: $200 to start
- Various wedding video packages (prior to add-ons): $600–$3,150
60- to 90-second video clip: $400–$450, including video editing (typically for real estate sales)
- 30-minute video at 4K resolution: $5,000–$7,000, including editing.
Equipment affects the overall cost of aerial photography services. According to Flight 1 Aerial Photography, drone gear can cost from approximately $1,500 to over $12,000, depending on the make and model of the equipment. Higher-end gear often produces a higher-end result and comes with a higher cost to the customer.
The use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is heavily regulated. Drone photography requires special licensing by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Licensed operators receive a card, similar to a driver’s license, after they have passed a test and must also register their aircraft. The reason for all these safety precautions is to keep people on the ground safe and to keep planes safe in the airspace. For weddings, photographers must get a waiver to fly the aircraft over people. The waiver can take anywhere from 14 to 90 days to process and receive, so be wary of anyone who claims they can take the job the next day.