MLS claims that homes which feature drone images are 68% more likely to be purchased than those that do not have them.
Aerial photographs provide potential buyers with a better visual representation of the property, including its size and its environment.
In this article, we explore the advantages of using drones in real estate photography, provide tips to get you started, provide advice on how to achieve top-notch results, and direct you to resources to further your understanding and expertise in drone photography.
Benefits of Using Drones for Real Estate Photography
At present, the use of aerial photography by drones for real estate is really taking off, thus it can give your properties an edge in comparison to others on the market. Drone photography for real estate promotion will bring more than just being on the forefront of technology, as its advantages will endure for a longer time.
1. Using Drones to Show Dimensions on the Property
Handheld cameras offer a subjective outlook, yet they are not competent in portraying measurements and spatial connections realistically.
Drone photos from above can provide potential purchasers with an extra piece of information to assist them in comprehending what they are purchasing before they personally visit the property.
How far is that boat dock from the house? Is there a side yard? What size is the patio compared to the lawn? What is the connection between the house, the yard(s), and the garage?
Using a drone for shooting video can offer an incredible sense of the size of large areas, like ranches, in a much more dramatic fashion.
2. Using Drones to Put the Property in Context
Drone photography can demonstrate a property’s surrounding in a readily understandable (and impressive) way.
A drone photo with a few markings can provide a good amount of information that goes beyond a map or list of distances for nearby services. This can give a potential buyer a much better idea of what the area looks like.
3. Using Drones to Highlight Inaccessible Features
Real estate agents can use drone photography to showcase amenities that are more difficult to demonstrate.
You can inspect the roof or solar-panel setup without having to get atop them yourself. This enables you to get an idea of their state and overall quality.
Getting Started with Real Estate Drone Photography
Doing it yourself may seem attractive, but in all honesty, unless you spend a great deal of time learning, you will not be able to achieve the amazing photographs that you often discover online. It is especially pertinent if you are unfamiliar with serious photography.
Drone photography is a combination of abilities and procedures to get the best pictures. In order to take a photograph with a drone, one must first obtain a drone pilot’s license, know the areas where flying is permissible, and purchase high-grade equipment. These steps must be taken before anything else.
1. Get Your Drone Pilot License
In order to fly a drone for business reasons, an individual must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. Often the Part 107 certificate or permit is spoken of, which ties in with the law that requires it.
In order to be eligible for a license, you should be able to demonstrate a sound understanding of the related topics necessary for operating UAGs (Unmanned Aircraft General – Small), including knowledge of airspace classifications, flight limitations, crisis management, aerial reasoning, and so forth.
It would be beneficial for you to take a virtual training course to aid your learning and preparation.
2. Buy Your Photography Drone
Drone pilots in real estate photography will tell you that the minimum specs you’re looking for include:
- A 3-axis gimbal (but a 6-axis gimbal is better)
- At least 12 MP photo and 4k/30fps video capability
- RAW file setting
- Live first-person view (FPV)
- Automatic takeoff and landing
- Altitude hold
Beginners are advised to begin with a starter drone, such as the GoolRC for only fifty dollars, by experienced drone pilots. If you crash, you’ll spend less money, but you can still practice manoeuvres and get satisfactory pictures.
3. Dot the Other i’s
There are a few other things you need to secure before takeoff:
You must register your commercial drone with both the FAA and any local aviation authority that may require you to do so.
You will need to acquire liability insurance in order to be covered in case your drone causes damage to any property. Regular insurance plans don’t offer protection for drone usage, so you will have to get a policy or attachment specifically for this purpose.
Research any local regulations that might affect your activities, in addition to any regulations imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Someone who insists on accuracy when it comes to taking photographs of real estate needs to remember it is unlawful to fly a drone over a private property without authorization. This makes those whole-neighborhood shots dicey.
Getting FAA Licensed for Real Estate Drone Photography
Although the procedure is not complicated, the FAA has put forth a lot of work to make it fairly user-friendly.
It is essential to comprehend the distinction between flying according to recreational regulations and in accordance with Part 107 (commercial) regulations. You can fly a drone recreationally based on the “Exception for Limited Operation of Unmanned Aircraft” guidelines, which cover topics such as flight altitude, airspace, registration, and more. If you would like to receive further information about the requirements for recreational flying, the FAA has a comprehensive article available here.
Essentially, any journey by aircraft that is not exclusively for leisure needs to be conducted under Part 107 regulations and will require a license.
Photographers who monetize or utilize their drone for anything other than pleasure must stick to all regulations specified by the Part 107 guidelines.
In order to be able to fly commercially, an individual must possess a permit for using drones, as well as pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 examination.
1. Studying for the Test
Thankfully, getting a commercial drone permit is not too difficult, although it does require some patience. You’ll need to shell out money to take the evaluation, yet it will rapidly be worth it if you own a real estate photography agency.
The Federal Aviation Administration stipulates that a person must take an Aeronautical Knowledge Exam at an accepted testing site – for example, my regional airport had this assessment available. This exam covers the FAA regulations concerning drones, understanding Sectional Chart information, the National Airspace, understanding aeronautical weather predictions and more.
It could take you several days to get ready for the exam, contingent on your familiarity with the material, experience with taking assessments, as well as your knowledge of air-related topics such as sectional diagrams.
It is estimated that you will need to dedicate 15-20 hours of study spread out over 2 to 3 weeks to prepare for the exam, which is easier if you use a test prep company, but can also be managed by an individual.
We highly suggest the Pilot Institute if you would like to invest in an official test preparation service. For just $149 via Photography Life’s discounted rate (located here), you can take advantage of their excellent service.
2. Taking the Test
The examination is a 60-question multiple-choice quiz that entails 2 hours to complete. As a strictly proctored test, it’s an interesting experience. You have been given map books, and small, basic calculators that don’t store information are allowed.
It is forbidden to bring writing materials, bags, written notes, electronics, smartwatches, and many other things – your examination details will include all of this, however, it is still useful to be aware of what tools you can use to boost your learning.
It is recommended that the most basic form of study for this test is using the chart provided by the FAA, and a pencil. I found that doing math without a calculator was feasible, and it was simpler to keep concentration with fewer distractions.
The exam costs $175, and you have to make sure you are ready to pass it or you will need to take the test a second time.
After you pass your test, you must fill out and submit the required forms in order to officially apply for a certificate. The FAA will then review your information, which can take several weeks, before giving you your certificate.
Your test prep company will go over this, and it is not hard to locate the application details online. Once you have been granted permission, you will get a card in the style of a driver’s license that displays your confirmed status.
After you’ve received your license, you’re ready to fly! Obtaining a 107 license offers a plethora of new possibilities to those who are drone pilots.
Tips for Taking Excellent Real Estate Drone Photos
Stage the House Beforehand
Before taking photos with a handheld camera, you probably want to make sure that the outside of the property looks nice, however when taking photos with a drone you must go above and beyond to make sure that the property is more than ready.
It is more than just tidying up your outdoor space, arranging any seating, and ensuring the lawn is trimmed and the garden is maintained. It is imperative that you thoroughly clean the roof and store all cars in the garage. It is important to consider the issue three-dimensionally.
Consider the appearance from both the perspective of a person and from a bird’s viewpoint.
Plan for Traffic
The appeal of taking pictures with a drone is its capability to snap a wider view. You should take into account the flow of traffic around the property, similarly to how you worked to declutter it.
Consider the sort of movements that could influence the quality of your shots – automobiles on the roads, pedestrians passing by, those at bus stops, and even a boat if you are around a lake or river.
Identify when are the best times throughout the day or week when there will not be a lot of interruptions while working on what is your primary focus.
Plan for Weather and Light
Be sure to watch the forecast closely.
It is clear that precipitation and wind can be a hindrance to both flying an aircraft and taking photographs. The specific hour and the quantity of clouds present will drastically affect the amount of light available.
You can make adjustments in post-processing of photos to compensate for illumination issues and shadows, but it is simpler not to have to make those adjustments, and it is not feasible to eradicate these issues entirely.
Investigate to determine how the piece of land is positioned and when the key angles are most brightly lit. Noon is usually most advantageous for reducing shadow, but bright sunlight will create an intense light. Using a neutral density filter when taking photographs can diminish the intensity of the light incoming, eliminating any glare.
Partly cloudy skies make a picturesque backdrop, but if a large cloud is covering the area, it can ruin the photo. Additionally, when there is no breeze, you cannot move it. More even light and diminished shadows can be achieved on partly overcast days, as long as you aren’t attempting to incorporate an excessive amount of sky into the background.
Pick Settings for Success
First, use autofocus. Auto-focusing will typically be accurate in regards to real estate drone photography, so there is nothing to concern yourself with while you’re on location.
It is always best to take pictures in RAW file format.
When you take pictures in RAW format, the information from the sensor is preserved in the file that isn’t available when saving it in formats like jpeg. This offers you a much greater capacity to modify and improve elements when editing, namely in terms of light, shadow, and hue.
Pick a camera setting that gives a 3:2 or 4:3 ratio if possible. This will get you photos at the maximum resolution. Having higher resolution gives you the ability to enlarge photos without compromising its quality, as well as provides you with more room to edit your photos.
Pack Your Supplies
Prior to going to the place of employment, ensure you have all the material you will require.
- Bring extra drone and remote batteries, and make sure they’re fully charged.
- RAW files are huge, so err on the side of bringing too many SD cards until you get a sense for what you need.
- Pack neutral density filters, just in case.
- Bring lens wipes and anything else you might need to clean or fix your equipment.
Using drones to capture real estate images can be a great asset to any company. The technology has improved drastically, becoming more economical to purchase, with the addition of bigger sensors, increased battery life, and enhanced mobility in each succeeding version.
Simultaneously, the refinement of permits and regulations makes it simple to go flying for interesting experiences, while still being secure and within the law. Now is the ideal moment to venture into real estate drone photography.