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How much does Drone Photography Cost?

Average Price
$150 - $300 per hour

What is the price of Drone Hire?

Looking to capture Australia from above? Read our handy guide to find out how much drone operators will charge for their services.

What is Aerial & Drone Photography?

From Bondi Beach to Ayers Rock - Australia is full of captivating beauty. Regardless of whether you own a business or are hosting an event, it’s likely you’ve thought about capturing our country’s landscape by using a drone. 

Drones are small aircraft with cameras attached to them. They are controlled by professional drone pilots who remain on the ground, navigating the drone to capture the shot, while ensuring the safety of those on the ground. Images or videos captured by a drone are unique in that they will give you a bird’s eye view. 

Drones can capture images for a whole range of purposes. This includes advertising, weddings, film/TV, journalism, real estate listings, construction, engineering, agricultural surveys, events, and more. It can take the form of a static image, a video, or a combination of both. 

Professional drone pilots have not only the expertise required, but the right licenses and insurance to operate a drone. For some drone operators, this includes flying at extreme heights, at night, and even over high-risk areas of Australia. All of which is only available with the right certification and training, before you even consider the quality of the shot. Therefore, professional drone operators are in high demand. 

How much does Drone Photography cost? 

Drone photography costs between $150 and $300 per hour on average. As you may have noticed, the price can vary dramatically. That’s because it depends on what the drone photography is for. 

For example, there’s a huge difference between a homeowner wanting to inspect their roof for damage, versus shooting a movie in 8K that will take days to perfect. Extremely complex jobs for film or TV may even cost $1,000 and above per hour.

Average cost of Aerial and Drone Photography
Average cost (per hour) $200
Minimum cost (per hour) $150
Maximum cost (per hour)$300

Your drone pilot may charge by the hour, but most commonly they will give you a fixed fee. The total fee will take into account the time needed, the drone model you select, and also any post-production that’s required. 

What changes the price of Drone photography? 

The cost of hiring a drone varies depending on several factors, including: 

  • Job type

  • Drone model

  • Permission level

  • Personnel required

  • Image quality

  • Post-processing

  • Time

  • Experience

  • Location

Job type

Just like the scenery you wish to capture varies across the country, so do the drone job types. All of which can affect the cost. 

For basic jobs, expect to pay anywhere between $255 and $1,690. Such jobs may only take a couple of hours of work, and usually only require 1 pilot. Usually, basic jobs will fall towards the lower end of the price scale. It’s possible to find some basic operators who are very competitive in price too. 

Moving into the more specialist drone work can set you back anywhere between $2,650 and $6,900. Such work includes any job which takes a significant amount of time, experience, or personnel to complete. Specialist jobs will also use more expensive drone models. 

Aerial photography involves sending an aircraft (manned or battery operated) to capture images. This service starts at $1,325, though can run into several thousands, especially for TV work or similar larger projects. 

Average cost of Drone Hire based on the type of job
Type of drone jobHighest average priceLowest average price
Drone hire (standard)$1,690$255
Drone hire (specialist)$6,900$2,650
Blimp with drone$1,110$775
Aerial photography$3,465$1,325

Drone model

Drones can cost anywhere from $2,050 for a DJI Mavic model, up to $250,000 for a Hybrid VTOL fixed-wing aircraft. Therefore, the cost to hire one as a customer will vary depending on which model you opt for. 

Considering the hire prices of the most common drones, you can expect to pay $855 for a Mavic Pro, up to $4,380 for a Matrix 600. There are hundreds of different drone models in total, making it a very flexible service whether you are conducting a 2D land survey or shooting a movie for cinema release. 

Average cost of Drone Photography based on the drone model
Drone modelAverage rental cost
Mavic Pro$855
Phantom 4$1,070
Inspire 1 Pro$1,180
Matrix 600$4,380

Permission level

Drone operators in Australia have to adhere to rules set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Commercial drone operators will require a remote pilot’s license (RePL). Any special training or licenses which cost money to obtain for the pilot will mean they can command a higher rate for their services. 

Personnel required 

Operating a drone requires at least 1 person on the ground. But some jobs will need several pilots, runners, monitor operators, etc. The more complex your job, the more expensive it will be. 

Image quality

Image quality of a drone can vary between SD and 8K+. The higher the image quality, the more advanced the drone will need to be. Keep in mind that not all streaming devices are compatible with the highest quality rates, so it’s not always necessary to use the very best equipment. 

Post-processing

You may simply want the footage or images captured so that you can edit them yourself. Or, there is the option to have the content edited professionally through post-processing. 

Video editors may charge anywhere from $165 to $450 per minute of finished footage for their services. Images will usually be far less expensive to edit than video. 

Time

Drone pilots can charge by the hour. Others may block out half a day or a full day for their services as a fixed fee. 

Some drone shots can be captured in a matter of minutes, others will take all day if not a few days to complete. The time also factors in the travel time for your operators, especially if you are hiring contractors from outside of your local area. 

Experience

Is the drone pilot a complete beginner, or someone with years of experience as a photographer? Or, do they have any other special skills they bring to the table, meaning they are more expensive to hire? 

As an example, anyone can train to operate a drone, but specialists such as surveyors or accident investigators can also operate a drone. If carrying out a specialist survey by a professional in that industry, expect the drone service to cost more. 

Location

The cost of hiring a drone will depend on where you live in Australia. Typically, Perth is the cheapest place to hire a drone, averaging at $500 per project. 

The most expensive area is Sydney at $820. Remember, any major metropolitan area will be more expensive. This is not just due to increased living costs, but because of the permissions required from the government to fly in such areas.

Average cost of Drone Hire based on the location
LocationAverage drone hire cost
Melbourne$700
Sydney$820
Adelaide$675
Brisbane$625
Perth$500

Is it worth getting Drone photography?

One of the best ways to capture an image or a video is from above. Though, getting there through conventional means is practically impossible, which is why drones have boomed in popularity in recent years.  Therefore, drone photography is 100% worth it, especially when you hire a licensed drone pilot who will give the best possible results. 

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