The usage of drones is an awesome way to explore a new depth in your photography experience. With drone technology, you have access to aerial views that could take your photo game up quite a few notches—but, before you dive in, there are a few important things to know about drone piloting laws and the selling of your photos. 

First off, regardless of if you fly for fun or for profit, if your drone weighs .55 pounds or more, you will need to get it registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. You can get started with the process through the FAA’s Small Unmanned Aircraft System Registration Service. The process is easy—there is a small fee of $5, which is nothing compared to the fines of up to $25,000 if caught flying an unregistered drone. Once you’ve completed the registration, you will be given an identification number that must go on your drone. Once you’ve completed this, you are all set to start flying your aircraft.

Now, if you plan to sell your photography or use it in any commercial way, you will need to get a drone license to satisfy Part 107. There are 3 things that are required in order to obtain this.

Firstly, you must be 16 years or older.

Second, you will need to pass the FAA’s UAS aeronautical knowledge test—these tests are offered at locations across the country and will cost you $150. You’ll definitely want to study for at least a couple days to prepare, as the test covers a lot of material. If you are lost on how to prepare, The Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge is a good place to start.

Third, you will need to be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration, to ensure that you are not a threat and are clear to fly.

Once you’ve completed these 3 things to satisfy Part 107, you are officially set to fly your drone and sell your photography. Even still, there are a number of important FAA rules you need to follow. Here is a list of crucial regulations to keep in mind:

  • You must remain in a Class G airspace unless given specific permission to do otherwise. You can always check AirMap to make sure you are where you need to be.
  • You must keep the aircraft in your line of sight.
  • You must fly under 400 feet.
  • You must fly below 100 mph.
  • You must yield right of way to any manned aircraft.
  • You may not fly over people or from a moving vehicle.

 

  • Erik Stenbakken

    Very last line of article: “You may not fly over people” and yet the photo right above that is… above people. What exception covers that? or is that interpreted as not *many* people? Or people who are unaware of the flight and have not given consent? Or is that just a suggestion? Or maybe the photo is not best example of compliance? Curious.

    • the image actually has no “people” in it. static cars, static house, static water tank, trees. nobody “human” walking. for the 1st image.

      The second one clearly has… interesting statement, worth an answer from the admin

      • Erik Stenbakken

        Yeah. I should have clarified. It was the beach one I meant. Generally safe, I know. But as per FAA regs… (maybe out of country?)

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