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Five Things to Consider When Hiring a Drone Photographer

By: Danny Garcia, Founder of FlyingLenz.com

Professional Photographers of America

Aerial photography is more than just buying a drone and taking pictures. Here are 5 things to consider when hiring a drone photographer.

Aerial photography has always given us a different perspective of the world around us. The affordability of drones has put aerial photo and video creation in the hands of many unskilled pilots and amateurs.

5 things to consider when hiring a drone photographer

There are some drones on the market that are sold for the aspect of fun and not for professional use. I suggest selecting a drone photographer who is not only skilled, but also has the right equipment for the job. The last thing you want is to pay someone for photos and videos which are not high quality.

Danny Garcia, Founder of @flyinglenz

Hiring the right person as your drone pilot is an important decision. Drone photos and video for real estate sales or special event like a proposal or wedding must be done right. The fact is that not everyone knows what they are doing behind the lens. To help you, I wrote this page with five things to consider when hiring a drone photographer for your project.

1. Photography Background and Experience

  • How long have you been a certified drone pilot?
  • How long have you been flying drones?
  • Do you have prior commercial photography or video experience?
  • Has any of your work been published?
  • Where can I see your portfolio with example photos (or videos) you have created?

2. Check their FAA Certification – is it Valid?

Take note of the issue date – this will reflect the most recent issuance of their certification. Generally speaking, if the date is within the last 24 months, the certificate should be valid. If the date issued is more than 24 months old, ask to see proof of their recurrent training. If you do nothing else, the this must be one of the five things to consider when hiring a drone photographer.

3. Not All Drones (and Cameras) are Created Equal!

You are paying for high-quality drone photos and videos. There is no excuse for low-quality drone videos or photography. If you have reviewed my About page, your drone pilot needs to have the right tool for the job – notice I said toolS!

There are some drones on the market that are sold for the aspect of fun and not for professional use. I suggest selecting a drone photographer who is not only skilled but also has the right equipment for the job. The last thing you want is to pay someone for photos and videos which are not high quality.

4. Liability and Property Damage Insurance

Nobody likes talking about insurance, except of course the insurance agent – especially at the time of renewal. In fact, you may not have thought about drone liability insurance at all until you saw it on this post. The drone photography professional will carry general commercial liability insurance that covers both the photographer and you as the client. Would you hire someone to do work in your home that does not carry insurance if something goes wrong? Some will, but most of us would want the peace of mind that the professional is covered.

Uninsured commercial drone pilots put themselves (and you) at risk for claims. Claims can be made for the invasion of privacy, property damage, personal injury, advertising injury, premises liability, medical expenses, and more!

5. Licensing

The final point in this article is that you need to have a clearly defined image and video license agreement. We publish our general terms and conditions here. But, if you need something specific, let’s discuss it! A professional photographer will provide detailed information in an assignment estimate including licensing terms and conditions before you pay for service.

Five Things to Consider When Hiring a Drone Photographer

  • Are you requesting unedited or edited photos and videos?
  • Will a music track be added to the video file and are you covered for commercial use of that music?
  • Are you limited to where you could post the photos or videos?
  • Can you also use the photos for print advertising?
  • Is the photo and video quality listed in the estimate?

FlyingLenz uses professional business software that properly manages estimates, assignment bids, license terms, and more. If you are a photographer doing freelance work, we highly recommend doing the same!


Danny Garcia is the principal pilot and founder at FlyingLenz.com. He moved to Miami, Florida in 1988 from Los Angeles, California where he became known on social networks as “@DanMiami.” Danny is now based in Marietta, Georgia, and is an experienced world traveler who is available for assignments globally.