Rahul Agrawal
About Author
December 16, 2020
 in 
Real Estate Photography

A Definitive Guide to Real Estate Drone Photography

Real estate marketing is evolving at a lightning-fast speed. Technology has enabled realtors to showcase a new property to prospective clients from the comfort of their own homes. Showcasing homes through drones and drone photography is one of the ground-breaking ways real estate photography has stepped to the next level.

Quality real estate drone photography can enhance the chance of a sale as people can get a clearer idea of a property. Unlike a simple photo in which realtors can show little, a drone's imaging possibilities are endless.

How Have Drones Changed Real Estate Marketing & How Are Drones Used in Real Estate?

Real estate drone photography creates captivating images, and this method of visual marketing speaks for itself.  A study revealed that homes with aerial photographs sell 68% faster than those without. It gives a new perspective to the buyer while selecting or buying a property.

Real estate drone video tours offer great marketing. Techniques like cinematic reveals, slides, pans, orbits, and blast off shots tell a compelling story.

Now, drones are used for all types of real estate listings, including residential homes, apartments, resorts, vacant land, commercial properties, etc. Drone camera technology is best for capturing still images, video, and even 360-degree panoramas.

Pros:

Drones allow you to showcase a property's full exterior without any of the tedious processes of organizing a house visit or executing multiple photoshoots. It is easy to capture unique property shots, which you can't get from any other medium. Other options like a close-up bird's eye view, a 360 panorama outside the house, a slow-zoom are all easy with a drone.

Cons:

Drone Photography often comes at a pretty hefty price. Drones are usually comparatively loud, so you'll need neighbours' permission. Drones are moderately difficult in legal terms when you have permission to fly them. It's forbidden to pass within 150ft of a person, vehicle, or property outside of your authority, over a congested area, near airfields, etc.  

Traditional image vs aerial drone image

Aerial drone images effortlessly upgrade the quality of photographs as compared to traditional photography. It allows the buyer to get a much better feel for the lay of the land and give a 3360-degree view of the property. It provides the freedom to create a feeling of the buyer's kind of lifestyle if they purchase it. This is compared to traditional photography where individual static shots compel the buyer to flip back and forth; they can easily flow from one element to the next.

Choosing a Camera Drone to Use in Real Estate Work

Keep in mind that the drones you choose should be capable of taking high definition photos and videos of specific things at completely different angles. While selecting a drone for real estate drone photography, factors like quality of the camera, battery life, flight modes, and payload options are essential.

The Best Drones for Real Estate Photography

1. Holy Stone HS720 Foldable GPS Drone

The Holy Stone 720E is a large, sturdy drone, with a battery pack that provides over 20 minutes of flying time. Like other Holy Stone drones, the 720e has GPS and compass features, providing a very stable flying experience. This is important because the camera has been significantly upgraded. The combination of the upgraded camera with a stable flight allows the user to take some incredible videos and photos! I included a sample photo and video looks great.

Key Features

  • 4K UHD Camera with Shock Absorption
  • 5G FPV Transmission
  • 26 Minutes Flight Time
  • Powerful Brushless Motor
  • GPS Assisted Intelligent Flight
  • Optical Flow Positioning
  • Custom Flight & GPS Follow Me

2. Hubsan Zino Pro 4K

The Hubsan Zino Pro offers a 4K camera on a 3-axis stabilized, rotating gimbal, flight time similar to the DJI Mavic Air, a bunch of flight modes that most of us have come to expect of a drone, and 4KM connectivity. One of the best features is removing the camera lens and installing new lenses with ND filters built-in. 


Key Features

  • Capture 4K Video Ultra High Definition
  • 3-Axis Gimbal-Stabilized Camera
  • GPS-Based Navigation System
  • Up to 23 Minutes of Flight Time
  • Max Control Distance 4KM
  • Headless Orientation Control Mode
  • ActiveTrack Subject Tracking Modes
  • Automatic Return Home Failsafe
  • Top Speed of 22 mph

3. Parrot Anafi

The Parrot Anafi is an affordable, high-quality, petite, and lightweight drone. With a flight time of 25 minutes, it reaches similar speeds and agility to the Mavic 2


Key Features

  • Capture 4K video and 21MP HDR photos
  • 3-axis sensor-driven image stabilization
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi antennas in each leg
  • 180° tilt camera Gimbal

4. DJI Mavic Air 2

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is the first consumer drone to provide AirSense along with an extensive array of features. This drone is one of the highest tech portable drones in the market. It is capable enough for real estate photography. It has the longest flight time of a Mavic drone ever created and is the only one that is capable of shooting 4K footage at 60 fps.


Key Features

  • Still image resolution of up to 48 megapixels
  • Video resolution of 4K at 60 fps
  • Max flight time of 34 minutes
  • Max speed of 42 mph (in sport mode)
  • Foldable/portable for compact travel
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • 8K hyper-lapse
  • APAS 3.0 obstacle avoidance

5. DJI Mavic 2 Pro

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is one of the most popular drone models available in the market. Its compact size a variety of genius features are its highest selling points. The professional-grade camera, along with the drone, is from a Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad. It has a 1-inch CMOS sensor and provides 20-megapixel photography with enhanced HDR and colour sensitivity.


Key Features

  • Still image resolution of 20 megapixels
  • Max flight time of 31 minutes
  • Max speed of 45 mph (in sport mode)
  • Video resolution of 4K 10-bit HDR Video
  • Foldable/portable for compact travel
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • Obstacle sensing

6. DJI Mavic Pro Bundle

The Mavic Pro is an agile, high-speed flyer capable of capturing high-res images and video. It features an advanced flight control system, gimbal-stabilized camera setup, 4.3-mile operational range, top Speed up to 40 mph, and much more. It can be used for multiple applications, including aerial cinematography and hobbyist flying.


Key Features

  • Drone, Bag, Propellers & 64GB SD Card
  • Gimbal-Stabilized 12MP/4K Camera
  • OcuSync Transmission Technology
  • Up to 4.3 Mile Control Range
  • Up to 27 Minutes Flight Time
  • GPS- & Vision Position-Based Navigation
  • Flight Autonomy with Obstacle Detection
  • Top Speed of 40 mph in Sport Mode
  • ActiveTrack Subject Tracking Modes
  • Tap- and Gesture-Based Commands


7. Phantom 4 ProV2.0

The Phantom 4 Pro V 2.0 is the most sought option for aerial photography. It provides professional aerial shooting and comes with the same chassis as the Phantom 4 but offers significant improvements. The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 comes with multiple automated flight and camera modes.


Key Features

  • 4K/60fps video
  • Long transmission range with HD live view
  • Adjustable aperture
  • Draw mode
  • Automated modes for cinematic shots
  • Multi-directional obstacle sensing and avoidance
  • Mechanical shutter for high-speed shots


8. Editor's Choice: DJI Inspire 2

DJI Inspire 2 drone is designed with all advanced features, so it is the first choice of most filmmakers and in-depth pocket buyers. Its extended support towards aerial photography with impressive stability as easy control functions makes it suitable for high-end drone users. Professionals advise this device for cinematographic results due to its classic recording functionality. It is designed with a highly durable structure that can light huge weight with decent Speed and its advanced obstacle avoidance system makes it suitable for indoor and outdoor flights.


Key Features

  • Compatible with 5.2K Gimbal Cameras
  • CineCore 2.0 Image Processing
  • Supports CinemaDNG and ProRes Recording
  • Dual-Battery Design
  • Accelerates to 50 mph in 4 Seconds
  • 58 mph Maximum Velocity
  • Advanced Obstacle Sensing
  • 2-Axis Stabilized FPV Camera

Tips for taking better real estate photos with your drone

  • Prepare the landscape - If you notice something is distracting as you line up the photos, you can fix it using our object removal service
  • Keep in mind basic photography rules - Keep the basic photography principles in mind. Even though it's drone photography, you still need to pay attention to the basic principles such as the rule of thirds, contrast, lighting, and more.
  • Keep your drone low – Keeping the drone low and taking a photo above the property is good to show home buyers what to expect, but all of the other shots should be taken lower to the ground.
  • Pick Nice Weather – Shoot when the weather is favorable. No matter what kind of photography you do, nice sunny weather can do wonders for your photos. If the weather is not as per need, our image enhancement service can help. 
  • Focus on the Strengths of the Property and capture neighbouring areas- Highlight more property features. Landscaping, pools, walking paths and back yards are important to many buyers. So are nearby parks and schools. Aerial photos & video bring these advantages to life.

Is a drone license required for real estate drone photography?

A drone license is, in fact, required for real estate. Federal law requires that you be certified by the FAA as a commercial drone pilot, and it includes passing the FAA's Aeronautical Knowledge Test, also called the Part 107 test.

With numerous houses and properties to be sold in the market, differentiating your listings is significant. Make a great first impression with aerial photography of your listing and keep potential buyers viewing your listings longer. The finest drones for real estate need to be safe, reliable and produce high-quality photos and videos.

How to get an FAA drone license

Here is the step to get a commercial drone license from the FAA; you'll need to follow these steps:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test. You can register to take the test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
  • Apply for and obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. You can apply using the FAA's online IACRA system 48 hours after taking the Aeronautical Knowledge Test.
  • Pass a background check by the Transportation Security Administration (this vetting happens automatically during your application process).

Once you have your drone license, you'll also be required to:

  • Maintain drone registration every 36 months and keep the registration card with you when flying.
  • Keep your license up to date by passing a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
  • Upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing is made available to the FAA, and any associated documents/records required to be kept under the proposed rule.
  • Report any accidents to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in injury or property damage over $500.
  • Before all flights, conduct a pre-flight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is safe for operation.

Basic tip and points to keep in mind for real estate drone photography

  • Fly smart
  • Fly prepared
  • Survey the area
  • Create the composition with intention
  • Take care of the lighting
  • Charge the drone adequately
  • Shoot bird's eye view 
  • Customize payload options
  • Adjust flight mode

Taking your drone photography to the next level

When it comes to real estate photography drones, they play a pivotal role in capturing what no camera and talent on the ground can capture. Aerial photos are only possible with drones, and aerial shots can make all the difference in showcasing the best angles of a property.

Some glitches can occur, like bracketed exposures, shaky shots, blurred images or even clutter getting captured in certain shots. You might catch leaves floating in the swimming pool, or a neighbor's car outside the driveway, or perhaps the trash can is caught in a frame or two. All of these do not have to be the deal-breaker. Our team of virtual staging editors at Styldod can help you enhance all the images with our services like our Image Enhancement Service or our Object Removal Service. We also offer Day to Dusk image editing to make your photos even more compelling.

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