What was your first type of work as a professional drone pilot?

In addition to the type of drone work, please include additional information like:

  1. Price
  2. Location
  3. Equipment used
  4. Marketing method of getting the job
  5. How long did the job take
  6. Software/App used to process the job
  7. Method of invoicing


My 1st job was taking drone pics (and interior photos) of an $800,000 water-front condo on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

The realtor contacted me after seeing some landscape photos I did on Instagram. I explained to her that I was just taking drone pics as a hobby, although I did already have my 107 cert. She insisted I shoot for her, although I knew nothing about cameras at all (I basically hail-Mary’d all my previous drone shots after seeing the settings that auto mode was changing - and then I learned to change those same settings). I learned what I could that week about taking pictures and shooting real estate off Youtube, bought a Sony Alpha camera, and made the 2 hour trip to the coast.

I made $450 that day for <1000Sqft condo with interiors and drone shots. The job took less than an hour to shoot interiors and 30 minutes or so to do exteriors, as I got some of the surrounding areas as well.

I used a Phantom 4 Pro+ and a Sony a6000 with its little pop-up flash…with a whole lot of guesswork. If I remember correctly, I used Lightroom and edited the interior photos right there on the spot on my laptop. I then used a super simple editing app called Filmora to put together a slideshow for her, since she requested it.

I used MS Excel to create an invoice and she Zelle’d me the money upon receipt.

The great thing is that since those early years she has used me to shoot her 7-figure homes (photos and video as well).

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Thanks Dan for sharing about your first experience shooting for real estate professionally! It sounds like you must have done something right even with all your guess work, if she kept on hiring you! Maybe you knew more than you thought you did.

What did you learn from that first experience that helped you land the next client?

I learned confidence.

Everything I was concerned with was not an issue for her, back then. As time went on, working with her, I learned more and more about what agents are looking for in their shots and turned around and used this information when acquiring new clients.

My first professional work was an aerial survey of a land survey company that also sells land. Such projects are pretty common in my region since people want to see the land they want to buy and how it relates to the surrounding areas, proximity to amenities, etc.

I had a Mini 2, but since I wanted to do a better job, I had to borrow a Mavic 2 Pro. The job took less than an hour since it was a small region. I made $190 and just typed my invoice in an Ms Word document.

I was not that good at editing photos and videos so I had my brother, who’s a professional photographer, help come up with the best product from the drone footage.

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Thanks Peter for sharing that with us and welcome to our community here :slight_smile:

My 1st job as a professional pilot was a construction mapping, and monthly progress report project in Knoxville Tennessee. The project was flown monthly, and we used the DroneDeploy software for creating 3D maps and stockpile analysis, and flew the Phantom 4. This was a great start for us, as the entire project lasted for just over 2 years. The project was Top Golf Knoxville which turned out to be very lucrative for Droneworx Photography. For anyone who wants to make it in this industry, you have to get in front of prospects and customers. You can’t wait for them to come to you.

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