How to Make Money from Your Drone Videos and Photos

selling aerial camera drone photos and videos online

If you believe your drone photos or videos are good enough that someone would pay for them, that’s a good income-making opportunity you have right there.

While it may not make you a millionaire, selling drone photos or footage can make you some decent money on the side.

Just make sure you have a good aerial camera drone and a knack for shooting quality stuff that people will love.

Where Can You Sell Drone Photos and Videos?

There are many online sites that accept stock images and footage. Most are marketplaces, meaning they don’t buy it from you outright.

Rather, you upload your work and wait for people to buy them. You can sell your photos many times over to different customers or exclusively to one client depending on the site’s licensing options.

Here are some of the best sites where you can sell your drone photos and video. Check each site’s terms and conditions before uploading your work.

1. Getty Images/iStock

Getty Images

Getty images and iStock are both owned by Getty Images, Inc. When you submit your photos, they can be shown on either or both websites.

There are different types of licensing options. The most common is royalty-free (RF) where you license the use of your images or footage for any use, forever and with just a one-time payment.
Anyone who pays the licensing fee can use the images as they like.

Then there is Rights-Managed licensing where you grant exclusive licenses to specific customers for specific uses.

Royalty rates depend on which Getty Images site your images are sold through and the type of work.

Royalty for licensed images at iStock starts at 15% and videos start at 20%. For Getty Images, photos start at 20% and videos 25%.

Read Getty Images contributor FAQs to learn more about submitting your drone videos/images and the terms and conditions.

2. Shutterstock

Shutterstock

This is another very popular stock images site. It works roughly the same way as Getty Images.

You upload your drone images or videos and you receive a royalty fee every time someone buys your work.

Your earnings depend on the type of license as well as your lifetime earnings.

For instance, if you sell your images on the monthly subscription package (customers pay a monthly subscription for a set of images), you get 25 cents per image download.

This will increase to 33 cents when you hit lifetime earnings of $500, 36 cents when you have earned $3,000 and 38 cents when you hit earnings of $10,000.

Here’s the full earnings breakdown.
Shutterstock payment structure

As you can see, most types of licenses get you a fixed royalty fee. Only on-demand and enhanced licenses royalty fees are calculated as percentages.

For videos, you get a fixed 30% royalty fee regardless of your lifetime earnings. This is higher than what Getty Images pays.

Sign-up here to become a Shutterstock contributor.

3. Pond5

If you are looking to make a bit more money than what you can get from Getty Images and Shutterstock, try Pond5.

They offer a 50/50 split for images, videos and other types of creative work. So whatever you sell, you get a 50% cut.

Pond5 works with many media and film companies including Netflix, BBC and Discovery Channel. So there are plenty of big customers you can reach as long as you have high quality images or footage.

Check out their contributors FAQs then sign up here to get started.

4. AES

Aerial Entertainment Studios (AES) focuses only on aerial videos. They only accept high quality footage of exotic location around the world.

Their stock video library is used by TV studios as well as film production companies.

Your drone footage has to be really good to be sold through AES. For one, they only accept 4K resolution videos.

If you submit 1080p footage, it has to be extra-stunning.

But if you can produce good stuff, the compensation is worth it. AES pays content creators in a 70/30 split. That’s 70% of royalties for you.

Create your seller account here.

5. DroneStock

DroneStock deals specifically with drone videos and images. They offer a 50% royalty cut to content creators.

You can upload videos in different resolutions ranging between 720p and 4k. Photos have to be in jpg format.

Note: This is just a small selection of all the places you can sell your drone videos and images. There are many more sites out there including VideoBlocks.com, AdobeStock and HOsiHO.com.

Which Type of Drone Photos and Videos can You Sell?

Aerial Drone Camera drone photography
Urban photography is a popular category.

If you check the drone stock footage and images on sites like Getty Images, there are two types of content that seem to be the most popular.

One is nature photos and footage. This includes forests, oceans, dams, deserts, trees and beaches. The other is urban landscapes including roads, city skyscrapers and apartment blocks.

Shots of infrastructure installations such as windmill farms are also quite common.

You won’t find many shots of people because you cannot fly over people and most sites ask for model releases if there are people in the photo or video.

If you want your work to sell well stick to these categories make sure it is exceptional. Scout for the best locations and shoot from a unique angle.

Something else you should note before you consider selling your images or videos is that it takes work to submit your work.

You’ll need to choose the best shots, edit them and cut videos to the right length. When you upload your work, you’ll also need to tag them using the right keywords to make sure they are found easily.

If you have the time to do all this, the earnings are worth it.