I operated for a weddings/couple studio for a couple years now so I am confident that my work is good since I'm usually asked to come do a job often. I flew the Phantom P3 Pro initially and now I've upgraded to the P4 Pro. I can do much better work with all the fancy features and the quality is so much better. I've gotten paid between 50-250$ for my work.

I did a few couple recordings before the wedding where we will take them to a nice location such as the beach or a town with a waterfall + watermill. I usually fly 2-3 batteries so I'm up in the air for about 1 hour and maybe 20 minutes worth of footage is usable. I get paid about 50-100$ for this.

The weddings paid me 200$ for one and 250$ for the latest one. It follows the same as before, 3 batteries with about 20-30 minutes of usable footage. Since a lot of the time I am hovering as we direct. The last wedding, I was there for about 6 hours. That comes out to about 40$ an hour.

Is this reasonable price to get paid? Am I overpaid or underpaid for my work?

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    \$\begingroup\$ How much should a car driver be paid for their service? It all depends on if they are driving a cab in the slums of a third world country or an F1 car in the world championship, doesn't it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Oct 18, 2017 at 2:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Might be a better fit at freelancing.SE beta, if stated as a question on general pricing principles. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Oct 18, 2017 at 3:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ In how far are considerations about pricing and running a business related to photography? \$\endgroup\$
    – Gerhardh
    Oct 18, 2017 at 6:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @inkista I was thinking about this possibly being the wrong place, but I couldn't find the rules/guidelines section on the photography site to see if pricing questions is frowned upon. I do think this relates to photography because I am more likely to get an answer from a fellow photographer rather than someone on freelancing. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 18, 2017 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


I am in the same business.

Basically I break my pricing into three parts - labour (pilot + observer), per battery and delivery (editing, video post, etc)

The labour is the rate I need to charge for my time, overheads and profit, accounting for my experience and quality of work. Now I would love to charge $500/hr but reality and my client base settle for between $100 and $150/hr

Per battery is a charge related to flight time and the costs of operating the aircraft. Don't underestimate this - the P4P, six batteries, Nanuk case, inverter, chargers, 6 x 64GB Sandisk Extreme SD cards, etc, etc, etc doesn't leave much change from $4K. And to do this professionally you need backups for everything. At least 2 aircraft, at least 2 controllers and two tablets/phones. For the P4P I charge $65 per battery which translates to 25 minutes of flight and 15-20 minutes of footage.

Delivery is the post processing and editing work. I use two rates - basic editing using Adobe s/w for low budget work, such as real-estate gigs. For professional work for commercials and marketing I use Resolve Studio & Fusion. The rates reflect the client base and the market - basic editing is $50-75/hr (Adobe suite). Rates for TV commercial work are much higher.

A real estate gig with the usual views, works out to around $300 for 10 images and 3 minutes of edited, titled, narrated video. That takes me (with no observer) about 3-4 hours all told.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer. Since I work for someone else, I don't have to worry about the editing process. But 65$ per battery sounds just about how much I get paid. 3 batteries * 65$ each = ~200$. This is excluding your labor charge but since my drone is more recreational than professional, I am not looking to reimburse my investment, just my time. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 18, 2017 at 21:26

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