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Making a Career in Drone Photography




Drone photography is an exciting and fast-growing field. With the rapid advancement of technology, drones have become more affordable, accessible, and versatile, allowing photographers to capture stunning aerial photographs and aerial videos that were once impossible or expensive. India is now experiencing an increased demand for drone pilots as drone technology expands across various industries, both in the government and private sectors.


The first step is to learn drone photography and get a license. Once you master the art of flying drones, you have to focus on building a portfolio, finding clients or employers, exploring career options, and getting paid. Here are some tips to help you get started with drone photography!

Building A Portfolio

Man assembling a wordTo attract potential clients or employers, you need to showcase your skills and creativity. A portfolio can be in the form of a website, a social media page, or a physical portfolio book. Your portfolio should include a variety of shots that showcase your range and versatility, such as landscapes, architecture, events, or people. You can also include some behind-the-scenes photos or videos that show how you captured the shots and what equipment you used. Make sure to mention any awards or recognition that you’ve received.


These days, social media is the hub of marketing. Professionals, freelancers, and hobbyist photographers are uploading their content on social media to reach a large audience and establish a presence in the industry. You have to be creative with what kind of view you cover as the competition has increased. Posting regularly will build your portfolio, and you will get work opportunities.


You can also monetize your drone videos on social media platforms if you get good views. Besides this, you can use hashtags or tags that relate to your niche or location and engage with other users who share your interests. Join groups or communities that focus on drone photography or your target market and share your insights or questions.

Finding Clients or Employers

There are many ways to find clients or employers for your drone photography services. You can join online marketplaces or platforms for freelance photographers, such as Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr. These platforms usually charge a commission or a fee for each project, but they offer a wide range of opportunities and exposure.


You can also reach out to local businesses, real estate agencies, tourism companies, or media outlets that may need aerial photography or videography services. Networking with other photographers or industry professionals can also be helpful in finding job opportunities. Join LinkedIn to get into the business world, you will see all kinds of jobs there and you can apply directly with a customized CV made by LinkedIn itself (according to your data).


The best way is to start with event photography. Try to get into a team and work with them for the first 2-3 years to build up your confidence. Once you become a part of a team comprising editors, cinematographers, and extra (side) persons for drone photography, you will get assignments easily. You will start getting clients for wedding events, corporate shows, real estate businesses, etc.

Explore Career Options in Drone Photography

As a drone photographer, you can pursue various career options, such as freelance photography, commercial photography, journalism, filmmaking, advertising, or scientific research. The pay scale for drone photographers in India can vary widely depending on the industry, location, and experience. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for a drone pilot in India is around INR 320,000 per year, though to be honest we’re not too sure how much to believe in these figures – since most people in the industry are working independently rather than as a full-time employee.


Though you can work in different fields for your starting experience after some point, you need to choose a niche. It is important to stick to one category to learn it efficiently. Some of the popular career options for drone photographers in India include:

Freelance Photographer

As a freelance photographer, you can work on a project-by-project basis for different clients or employers. You can have the freedom and flexibility to choose your assignments, set your rates, and work from anywhere. However, you also need to handle the administrative and financial aspects of your business, such as invoicing, taxes, and marketing.

Media Professional

As a media professional, you can work for a media company, such as a news agency, a TV channel, or a production house. You can use your drone photography skills to capture news events, documentaries, or films, and work with a team of editors, journalists, or directors. You can have the stability and benefits of a regular job, but you may have less creative control and need to work on tight deadlines.


As an entrepreneur, you can start your own drone photography business and offer a range of services, such as real estate photography, wedding photography, or tourism photography. You can hire a team of photographers or assistants, and expand your business to other areas or markets. After working in the industry for around 5-6 years, you can have the autonomy and creativity of running your own business.


For example, this drone footage of terrace farms by Yogendra Singh can be sold to tourism companies, government agencies, or advertising firms as per their requirements.

Surveyor or Mapper

As a surveyor or mapper, you can use your drone photography skills to collect data and create maps or models of different areas or objects. You can work for a government agency, a research institution, or a private company and use specialized software and sensors to analyze the data. You can have a highly technical and specialized career, but you may need to have a background in engineering or science.

Stock Photographer

Stock photography can be a good side income source. You have to upload your footage on these websites and earn money through licensing fees when the content is used by others.If you register with IndieVisual.in (that’s us!), you will get a 50% share of revenue when your footage gets sold (if you register before May 2023). Additionally, you might get projects, custom shoots, and other perks while working with us.


Here’s a short introduction to stock footage and how IndieVisual fits in-IndieVisual – An Intro for Creators

Government Organizations Hiring Drone Photographers

In India, there are various government organizations that use drones for aerial photography, surveying, mapping, and monitoring. You just need to be aware of the opportunities. Here, we have listed some of the government organizations that hire drone photographers in India:

Survey of India

Survey of India is the national mapping agency of India and is responsible for surveying and mapping the country. They use drones for aerial photography and mapping purposes.

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)

NHAI is responsible for the development, maintenance, and management of national highways in India. They use drones for surveying and monitoring the construction of highways. They also use drones to monitor the traffic on highways.

Indian Railways

Indian Railways is one of the largest rail networks in the world. They use drones for surveying and monitoring railway tracks and infrastructure. They also use drones for monitoring the crowds at railway stations.


With the growing popularity of drone racing, the Indian government is encouraging the sport and providing training and certification programs to help young people become professional drone pilots (mentioned in detail in the blog post attached at the beginning).


With the increasing demand for drone services across various industries, the future looks bright for drone pilots in India. You can check the official websites of these organizations for job openings and apply accordingly. Additionally, you can also check job portals and government job websites for relevant job openings.


Still have any doubts? Reach out to us at hello@indievisual.in


We are more than happy to help you in building a career as a drone photographer – just shoot some great footage from your region, and start uploading!


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We’ve got the projects, and we’ll handle the admin. So you can focus on being creative – and leave the rest to us.