Is Drone Photography In Your Future?

Posted on 11/22/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Stock photographers operating drones may want to take a look at Skytango, a startup agency that specializes in supplying drone footage. Not only will Skytango license stock clip, but it will help those who need custom footage, that can only be shot from above. The company will help customers locate drone operators who have the equipment and skills needed for their jobs.

The number of clips created using drones has been growing rapidly in the last couple of years. Getty Images has 29,000 clips keyworded “Drone.”  Shutterstock has over 249,000 clips, Alamy has 7,163 and AdobeStock has almost 120,000. Many of these clips are just pictures of drones in flight, but the majority are views from above that can only be easily taken with a drone.

From the customer’s point of view, a resource of this type that contains nothing but clips shot from a drone, and one that can locate drone operators all over the world, should be of tremendous value. The customers will get a sense of the drone operator’s skills by viewing clips the operator has already produced. If the customer is looking for drone footage this could eventually be a go to site for people needing this type of photography, although at the present time Skytango has a minimal offering.

The problem with the existing agencies is that they are focused almost entirely on selling stock clips. Skytango aims to get assignments for its contributors. That could be an important additional revenue stream for many photographers who have concentrated on selling through stock photo sales in the past. Stock photographers need to be thinking about ways to diversify and this could be one of them.

As I look at TV, movies and the Internet it seems to me that there is an increasing use of high angle shots that could not easily, or cost effectively, be taken by anything other than a drone.

It appears there is no requirement for exclusivity so photographers could market the same clips they have with other agencies through Skytango as well.

There are no good statistics on the demand for stock clips shot from a drone. The latest statistics on overall worldwide demand for stock footage comes from the ACSIL 2015 survey, but there are no breakdowns as to the type of footage being sold.

At the recent PhotoPlus Expo in New York there were 10 booths showing various sizes and types of drones. The interest in this type of photography seems to be growing every year. This may be a new market opportunity for some photographers.

Copyright © 2017 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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