Aerial Photography

Tap Into This Fast Growing Photography Industry

Photography is an art, and like other arts, some people are born to do it, others can learn it and be great at it and others just never really get it. It is therefore very important that you know which group you fit in and if the last, not spend any money on expensive equipment because you may not succeed in it unless you hire others  to do the work for you and you have a management role. If the second,  understand you will spend a significant amount of time learning and perfecting your art.

Aerial photography is an exciting way to make money. In the past, it was too expensive or platforms too unstable for start-up entrepreneurs. Platforms for aerial photography include fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, multirotor Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), balloons, blimps and dirigibles, rockets, pigeons, kites, parachutes, stand-alone telescoping and vehicle-mounted poles. Mounted cameras may be triggered remotely or automatically and hand-held photographs may be taken by a photographer. However with the advance of technology and introduction of drones more and more people are able to get into the business. Drones give the most affordable way to get into aerial photography while providing high-quality professional work in this growing industry. Currently, there is no regulation in African countries regarding flying of drones.


a. Find a niche; After you have done a few jobs, ask yourself, “What kinds of projects am a really good at? What kinds of shoots interest me the most?”
b. Solidify your offering / pricing packages; the more specific your offerings, the more likely you are to establish yourself as an authority. This ensures your customers are clear about what to expect and what it will cost them. Options in billing include billing per job, an hour or for a package of different options. Choose a pricing strategy that is simple and clear for your clients to understand as it is easy to negotiate.
c. Perfect your skills; like any other business you will need to perfect the skills related to aerial photography and possibly learn new skills you may not currently have. For example, it is important for you to be able to be able to edit your pictures and market to potential clients as well as design packages that will be profitable yet affordable to clients. All these ay require skills that you may not currently have. Search out any courses that will give you a recognized accreditation in an unmanned aerial vehicle flying this will give you a distinct business advantage.

Practise using the drone especially with a heavy camera before beginning to take shots.
d. Take safety precautions; if using a drone consider that there are no clear guidelines for flying drones so to avoid trouble and interference from local law enforcement authorities avoid flying over roads, near airports or around crowded places as a safety precaution. You may also have to reject jobs that may cause potential danger to yourself or others.

If using a helicopter take a flight safety class. This will give you more confidence in your work in the case of bad weather or when you find yourself in a jam.
e. Get good equipment for the job; your skills as a pilot cannot replace what you can achieve with good equipment. Choose the right or best equipment for what you want to achieve. Not all drones are equally good, and stabilising software helps your videos come out as clear as possible.

f. Manage finances; aerial equipment is not exactly cheap so choose carefully what you invest in and for what purposes. With the basic good equipment, you can achieve very good images. It is not necessary to spend on a wide variety of equipment that you will use only one off. For example, propeller guards are a smart investment if you plan on flying indoors but if this is not something you will be doing the money is better off used for other purposes.

g. Insurance; it is wise to get insurance for your drone as accidents tend to happen and a strong gust of wind can blow your drone off course.


Opportunities for aerial photography are numerous as this market is untapped in the continent. Potential clients for aerial photography include;

  • Amusement parks
  • Building inspection
  • Campgrounds
  • Corporations
  • Golf courses
  • Sporting events
  • Government agencies
  • Homeowners
  • Marinas
  • Mining and forestry sites
  • Organizers
  • Outdoor-events
  • Property developers
  • Real estate
  • Sporting-event organizer
  • Weddings and parties
  • Agriculture and Land surveying

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