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Real Estate Photography

A Definitive Guide to Real Estate Drone Photography

The evolution of the real estate market is happening at lightning speed. One of the newest trends is using drones to capture aerial images. They give properties a unique perspective.

You can use drones to capture aerial views of every kind of real estate listing. Moreover, two of the most popular real estate – residential and commercial, use drone technology more than ever!

It’s believed that residential property clients want at least 8 to 10 glamorous aerial shots to choose from. These shots could include anything like houses or apartments with or without land attached.

What is real estate drone photography? Let’s take a deep dive into this definitive guide.

What is Real Estate Drone Photography?

The real estate market has wholeheartedly welcomed drone technology. It has been one of the most valuable assets to the industry.

Real estate drone photography uses drones to capture photos of properties from an aerial view. With this, the real estate sector has become more imaginative and touched the technological realms to new heights.

This modernized conventional aerial photography technique boosts your listing quality and focuses on presenting creativity in your listings. Based on your needs, you have the freedom to choose between two main types of drone images: traditional and aerial drone images.

Traditional Images vs. Aerial Drone Images

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 360-degree view of the property. 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.

How Have Drones Changed Real Estate Marketing?

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 provides a totally different perspective to the buyers.

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. It is easy to capture unique property shots that you can't otherwise get. Other options like a close-up bird's eye view, a 360 panorama outside the house, and a slow zoom are all easy with a drone.
  • Cons: Drone photography often comes at a pretty hefty price. Drones are moderately difficult in legal terms: you typically need a professional license to fly them. And there are some locations that are no-fly zones.

How to Get Started With Real Estate Drone Photography?

Now that you’re aware of drone photography's real estate usage let’s talk about getting started with it.

Step 1: Understand the Law

Getting yourself familiar with the local law is advisable before you start employing drone photography in your practice. Here are a few rules to keep in mind

  • You cannot operate drones near airfields, airports, and aircrafts
  • Your drone should be 150 ft away from property and people
  • Drones should stay below 400 ft

Apart from these mentioned rules, additional rules vary from state to state and country-wise. If you fail to follow them, you might get into legal problems.

Step 2: Get a Proper License

To operate a drone business and work as a commercial real estate drone pilot, you must pass the Part 107 test and get FAA-certified.

Once you have your drone license, it needs to be maintained every 36 months. You must keep it up to date by passing a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.

Get in touch with your local authorities in real estate aerial photography. Do your research on operating a drone properly.

Step 3: Buy Your Photography Drone

Once you’re licensed to fly a real estate photography drone, the next logical step is to start your practice. Buy a photography drone and begin your practice.

Jumping straightaway into taking projects of real estate properties is exciting, but first, you need to practice this skill. Your end goal is to help your clients sell their properties faster. Hence, a great practice is required.

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. The combination of the upgraded camera with a stable flight allows the user to take some incredible videos and photos!

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, and 4KM connectivity. One of the best features is the ability to remove the camera lens and install 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 - an alert system that gives drone pilots situational awareness - along with an extensive array of features. This drone is one of the highest tech portable drones in the market and 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 and a variety of 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 color 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 lift 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

Want to know more about the best drones for real estate photography? Check out this blog.

Tips for taking better real estate photos with your drone

  • Prepare the landscape - If you notice something is distracting as you edit the photos, you can fix it using our object removal service.
  • Keep in mind basic photography rules.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 optimal, our image enhancement service can help.
  • Focus on the strengths of the property and capture neighboring areas-. 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.

To help you learn everything there is to know about taking better real estate photos with drones, we have put together a detailed list of tips here.

Basic Tips 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 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.

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.

Styldod is a design-tech company that aims to simplify real estatex marketing and help agents present homes in their most favorable light online by reimagining and automating the listing photography process.

Having begun as a virtual staging company, today, Styldod has affordable and best-in-class products and services for every facet of real estate marketing and photography. Styldod’s suite of services include virtual staging, image enhancements, floor plans, virtual renovation, 3D renders, 360-degree virtual tours, and Matterport virtual staging, to name a few. We're trusted by over 10,000 realtors from all over the US and from agencies like ReMax, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams. Know more about us at https://www.styldod.com/.

Rahul Agrawal

Co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Styldod

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