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Everything you Need to Know About Drone Videography and Photography in Canada

Before the inception of the drone, aerial footage was only accessible to productions with multi-million dollar budgets. Cranes required a large crew of people and detailed planning; Helicopters were only an option for big budget productions that could afford to hire a pilot with a specialized helicopter for aerial shots.

Gyro Stabilized cameras have been around for a long time but due to the size of cameras back then they needed a large and robust system to operate them called Cineflex. Before they were used for cameras, Gyro stabilized systems were used in military helicopters. The production of the 2006 documentary planet earth was one of the first films to utilize this technology but it cost a fortune. The $25 million budget is still one of BBC’s most expensive documentaries to date.

The drone lets people achieve the same unique perspective as the large scale production of Planet Earth but for a fraction of the cost, training and accessibility. Getting a birds eye view has never been easier and it has allowed for other types of production to leverage these tools, such as real estate videography and photography, content creation for YouTube and other low budget productions.

Is it Legal to Use Drones for Real Estate Photography in Calgary?

Yes it is legal to use drones for real estate in Canada but you will be required to become a licensed drone pilot. When consumer level drones were first introduced anyone could fly one. There was a huge increase in aerial photographers because of the low cost compared to hiring a helicopter.


In the summer of 2019 drone pilots were required to be licensed under the Canadian aviation regulations. This was in response to a huge increase of RPAs or Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems disturbing the protocols set in by Transport Canada. These regulations were set in place to avoid injuries, property damage, flight path disruption and even death.


Professional Drone pilots are now required to go through an extensive check list before every flight, carry maintenance and flight path log books, understand how to make a flight path and at sometimes request a flight allowance from Transport Canada.


Depending on the type of drone and the job requirements you will need to have a basic or advanced licensed. Sometimes you will be required to have extra gear to operate your drone safely, such as an aerial platform that allows you to take off safely when there is rough terrain to take-off from. Extra Personnel may be required if your flight path determines you will lose visual line of sight of your drone.

The Use of Drones in Real Estate Development

Using Drones for real estate development is a great way to get high quality aerial photos and videos of your on going construction. Even before you break ground you can hire a specialized pilot to do an aerial survey of the land that. Once you’ve started the development the drone pilot can document the progression of the development. This helps you communicate to the stakeholders with valuable data that helps them understand the progress of the development.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Drone Photographer

The cost of a drone photographer all depends on the job at hand. For a small scale job drone pilots could charge as low as $80 an hour but for something more technical you could be looking at $300 and hour. Here at Calgary Photo Studio we include it in all of our real estate videography jobs. Our standard videography rates start at $200 an hour but include transportation and one hour of editing.

There’s a lot of variables that determine the cost of a drone pilot including:

  • Type of drone
  • Location
  • Permission level
  • Personnel required
  • Image quality
  • Post-Production
  • Experience

What are Some Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Drone Videography?

Just like any other skill the best way to improve your drone videography is to practice constantly. Being comfortable with your drone flight will give you the confidence to get the drone shots you need.

Taking a drone course would be another great way to improve your skills. A drone course will give you hands on experience with different types of drones such as, racing drones or FPV (first person view) drones, micro drones, large drones or fixed wing drones. Fixed wing drones look just like a winged aircraft but these are rarely ever used and very complicated compared to multi rotor drones.

Taking a drone course will also give you the knowledge you need to plan your flight accordingly. Understanding how the weather will affect your drone is critical to getting the most minutes of flight time. Operating in windy conditions or in temperatures below freezing can drastically decrease your battery life or even cause it to crash.

Sometimes upgrading your gear can be all you need to improve you drone skills. For example, The DJI Mavic 2 pro comes with a remote control that requires your phone to be used as the display. You can get an upgraded version that has a larger built in screen. Having a larger screen will give you a better idea of how your shots look so you can give your customer a better final product.

Being a drone pilot is a life long learning experience and staying up-to-date on your skills, the legal requirements and the constantly growing technology will give you the upper hand on your competition.

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