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How much does Drone Photography Cost?

Average Price
$80 - $300 per hour

What is the price of Drone hire?

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

What is Aerial & Drone Photography?

Canada has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Regardless of whether you own a business or are hosting an event, it’s likely you’ve thought about capturing our landscape for your project 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 video 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 Canada. All of which is only available with the right certification and training, before you even consider the quality of the shot. In short, professional drone operators are in high demand.

How much does Drone Photography cost? 

Drone photography costs between $80 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.

Average cost of Aerial and Drone Photography
Average cost (per hour) $100
Minimum cost (per hour) $80
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

Drone jobs vary dramatically, depending on the purpose and how much skill they require. 

For basic jobs, expect to pay anywhere between $250 and $1,600. 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 $2,600 and $6,800. 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 $1,300, though can run into several thousands, especially for TV work or similar larger projects.

Average cost of Drone Photography based on the job type
Type of drone jobHighest average price Lowest average price
Drone hire (standard)$1,600$250
Drone hire (specialist)$6,800$2,600
Blimp with drone$1,060$760
Aerial photography$3,400$1,300

Drone model

The cost of purchasing a drone ranges from $2,000 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 $840 for a Mavic Pro, up to $4,300 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$840
Phantom 4$1,050
Inspire 1 Pro$1,150
Matrix 600 $4,300

Permission level

Transport Canada requires all drones to be registered with them before the aircraft can fly. Users need to gain permission at a cost, depending on the purpose of their drone activity. Therefore, the different costs associated will affect the price of hiring a drone pilot, especially for any high-risk jobs such as flying over major cities.

Personnel required 

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

Image quality

As with any image or video, the technology you use to capture it will impact the quality of the outcome. Image quality on a drone can vary between SD and 8K+. The higher the image quality, the more advanced the drone will need to be. 

Post-processing

An optional extra is to have your footage or images processed to give them a professional finish. Post-processing can include video stitching, colour grading, voiceovers, adding music, or other cool special effects. 

Video editors may charge anywhere from $160 to $400 per minute of finished footage for their services. Images will usually be far less expensive to edit than video. 

Time

Drone pilots typically charge by the hour, half-day, or full-day. 

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

Drone operators vary in experience, which may impact how much they charge for their services. 

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. Typically, Yellowknife is the cheapest place to hire a drone, averaging at $550 per project. 

The most expensive area is Toronto at $800. 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 Aerial and Drone Photography based on the location
LocationAverage drone hire cost
Calgary$700
Toronto$800
Winnipeg$680
Quebec City$635
Yellowknife$550

Is it worth getting Drone photography?

There is a reason that drone photography and video have boomed in popularity in recent years, and that’s because the technique is unrivalled. The images or video captured will look absolutely stunning, especially when used for promotional purposes. Therefore, drone photography is worth the investment, especially when you hire a licensed drone pilot who will give the best possible results. 

Find the best professional for the job on Bark today. 

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