Homes that have drone images are more likely to sell than those without them, according to the multiple listing service (MLS).
Aerial photos give you a birds-eye view of the property, its dimensions, and the surrounding area. We explore the ins and outs of real estate drone photography in this post, discussing topics such as its usefulness, how to get started, tips for achieving the best results, and where to learn more about this topic.
To succeed in real estate drone photography, you must have the following:
- A high-quality drone capable of aerial photography
- A passing knowledge of drone laws in your neighborhood and those you travel to
- A drone flying license (Part 107 Certificate)
- A real estate license (optional)
- A website, social media presence, and strong client base
- A passion and skill for photography
This guide will walk you through all the essentials you need to know for a job in real estate drone photography. There is a high demand for this career path as it is very rewarding. This is because as long as houses exist, someone will always need to take pictures of them. After finishing the text, you can determine whether you have the qualities to become a real estate drone photographer.
What Types of Drone Do You Need for Real Estate Photography?
A real estate drone photographer is a person who takes photographs of properties using a drone. This type of photographer may or may not already work in the real estate industry. Drones can be used to take overview photographs of property and to display views of the home that would be difficult to obtain without one. If a potential homebuyer wanted to see the condition of the chimney or roof, they would have to climb all the way up there. A drone could be used to inspect a roof without needing a ladder.
Therefore, real estate drone photography is a good job to think about. In order to be employed in this position, you must own a drone. Not just any drone will do, either. You want one with a camera, obviously. Your drone must be able to fly high enough to take the aerial footage that homebuyers want. A drone that stays charged for a long time will make your job much easier.
We recommend the following DJI drones for real estate photography, taking into account the following factors.
Benefits Of Using Drones For Real Estate Photography
Using drone photography to make your listings stand out is a great way to make them more memorable.
There are many benefits to using drone photography in real estate marketing, even though it may eventually become outdated.
Using Drones to Show Dimensions on the Property
Handheld cameras often give a first-person perspective, but they aren’t always good at representing depth and spatial relationships accurately.
Prospective buyers can use overhead drone stills to get a better understanding of the property they are interested in before they take an in-person tour. How far is that boat dock from the house? Is there a side yard? How large is the patio in comparison to the grassy yard? How do the house, the yard(s), and the garage all connect to each other?
Drones can provide a great sense of the space of larger properties, like ranches.
Using Drones to Put the Property in Context
Drone photography that is done well can show a property’s surroundings in a way that is easy to understand and impressive.
Although a map or list of distances to various amenities can give a prospect the basic information they need, a drone photograph with a few helpful labels can provide them with more detailed information that can be useful.
For example, they can see the condition of nearby buildings, roads, and sidewalks and get a better sense of how easy it is to walk around. Individuals can see quickly how accessible the property is to main highways and approximately how close they will be to other residences. They can even screen for neighborhood eyesores or inconveniences.
Using Drones to Highlight Inaccessible Features
Real estate agents can use drone photography to highlight features that are difficult to show in person.
If you’re planning on getting a new roof or solar panels, you won’t have to go up there and check their condition yourself.
How to Get Started with Real Estate Drone Photography
Ask yourself if you are able, willing, and have the money to take your own drone photos if you are a real estate agent or broker.
You probably won’t get the same high-quality photos as you’ve seen from professional photographers if you try to do it yourself without a lot of practice. This is especially true if you are new to serious photography.
drone photography generally refers to the process of taking photographs with a drone This text is saying that in order to take high-quality drone photos, you first need to get a drone pilot license, learn where you are allowed to fly, and invest in good equipment. To get polished looking shots, you will need photo processing software and the skills to use it properly.
There are many professionals who take drone photos of real estate, so you can find someone to take the photos you want.
If you want to try your hand at drone photography, there are a few things you need to do.
Get Your Drone Pilot License
No person may operate a drone for commercial purposes without a Remote Pilot License from the FAA. The certificate or license required to operate a drone is commonly referred to as a Part 107 certificate or license. This name comes from the regulation that requires this certificate or license for operation.
To earn your license for an Unmanned Aircraft General – Small, you need to pass an aeronautical knowledge exam with subjects like airspace classifications, flight restrictions, emergency procedures, aeronautical decision-making, and more.
It is recommended that you take an online training course to help you study and prepare.
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
Cheap drone models, like the $50 GoolRC, are suggested by experienced drone pilots for those starting from scratch. If you crash while drone flying, you will lose less money than you would have before, but you will still be able to get some good shots.
Dot the Other i’s
There are a few other things you need to secure before takeoff:
- You will need to register each commercial drone you own with the FAA, as well as any local registration requirements.
- You will need to get a liability insurance policy or rider to protect you in the event that you damage any property with your drone since most general policies do not cover drone usage.
- Check with your local government to see if there are any additional laws beyond the FAA. The main issue with real estate photography is when it’s illegal to fly a drone over someone’s private property without their permission. This makes those whole-neighborhood shots dicey.
Tips for Taking Excellent Real Estate Drone Photos
Good real estate drone photography is more about what you do before and after the shoot than it is during. To be successful, you need to follow these tips.
Tip #1: Stage the House Beforehand
You need to take more than just a few steps to improve the appearance of a property before taking pictures with a drone.
Just cleaning up the yard, staging lawn furniture, and making sure the lawn is manicured and landscaped is not enough. You also need to think three-dimensionally – making that roof spotless, and storing all the vehicles in the garage.
Consider aesthetics from both a human and a bird’s perspective.
Tip #2: Plan for Traffic
One of the benefits of drone photography is that it can help you capture a wider perspective of your subject. You want to consider the traffic patterns around the property to reduce the clutter.
Take into consideration things that could potentially effect your shot like cars, pedestrians, people waiting for the bus, and even boats if you’ll be near a body of water.
It may be best to take pictures of your product when there are fewer distractions around. Try to determine the times of day or week when there won’t be too many people or other things around that could take away from your product.
Tip #3: Plan for Weather & Light
In addition to paying attention to the current conditions, you also need to be aware of what the forecast is for the future.
Precipitation and wind are bad for both piloting and photography. The amount of light during the day and the amount of clouds will also make a big difference.
It is easier to process photos when there is no need to correct for light and shadow and these problems can never be completely eliminated.
First, take a look around the property to see how it is laid out and when the best time would be to take advantage of the lighting. The light is usually better during midday, because there are fewer shadows. However, if it’s a bright, sunny day, the light can be too intense. Standard ND filters block out a certain amount of light, and can be used to reduce glare.
If there are no clouds in the sky, the background will look great, but if there is a cloud shadow over the property, it can ruin the shot. If there is no wind, you will be stuck. On days when it is mostly cloudy, the light is more even and there are less harsh shadows. This is as long as you do not try to get too much of the sky in the background.
No matter what time of day it is, you’re probably going to have a drone shadow following you from at least one direction.
Tip #4: Pick Settings for Success
First, use autofocus. Since focus is automatic with real estate drone photography, there is less for the photographer to worry about while on site.
When shooting photos, you always want to use the RAW file format. Shooting in RAW results in files that preserve sensor data that would otherwise be lost in formats like JPEG. This provides more space to make corrections and improvements after the fact, especially when it comes to light, shadow, and color.
Set your camera’s aspect ratio to 3:2 or 4:3. This will get you photos at the maximum resolution. The greater the resolution, the larger the dimensions you can view the photo while still maintaining quality, and the more freedom you have to crop the shot.
Tip #5: Pack Your Supplies
Before going to the job site, be sure to have everything you need.
- 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.
Tip #6: Know the Property & Pick a Focus
Each property will have at least one, and possibly two, areas that would be highlighted in a drone shot, such as a pool, patio, balcony, or gazebo.
Look at the angles and structures of the building and create a plan to guide the viewer’s eye to that area.
Tip #7: Shoot for Variety
As you gain experience, you will likely develop a repertoire of “sure winner” angles and approaches; however, when you are just starting out, be sure to try a variety of angles and heights.
Shooting high on too many shots is often a mistake that rookies make- just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Drone photographers who take pictures of real estate often get their best shots when the drone is around 20 feet in the air. The building is tall enough to be unique and provide a different perspective, but short enough for a good view of the architecture, landscaping, and other features.
When considering a property, you will want to tailor your approach. Aerial shots from above looking down don’t show much detail for a small property that is located deep in a maze of other houses. Although they may not be necessary on a small property, they are essential for a large one or for a house that is close to desirable features.
Tip #8: Take Multiple Shots
When you’ve found a good shot, take multiples. When you are looking at photos on a small screen, it is hard to tell the quality of the photo. There are also distractions like a drone flying around.
There are plenty of problems that only become apparent when viewed in high resolution, but are invisible when viewed in the field. The picture might be slightly out of focus or have motion blur because of a gust of wind, or there might be a child running through the corner of a neighboring yard that disappeared a second later.
If you turn on the burst mode setting on your drone, you will be able to take at least two or three shots from every angle. It is easy enough to just make it a habit.
Tip #9: Enhance Photos in Post
Photo processing is what makes the difference between amateur and professional-looking shots.
The two most popular applications for processing photos are Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. If you are only going to get one Adobe subscription, go with Lightroom. This software is designed for correcting and enhancing photos, rather than manipulating them. This makes it a better fit for your needs when it comes to real estate drone photography.
Lightroom has lots of presets that will make learning it quicker, and the changes you make are never permanent, so your original file is always saved.
Things to learn and play with:
Changing the White Balance
You can change your camera’s settings in post as long as you have a RAW file. As you learn, try changing the setting to find the most attractive version of the shot.
Reducing Highlights and Shadows
-You can reduce the contrast in a RAW file easy and restore details lost in glare or shadow The problem of intense glare or shadows will still remain, so it is best to try to reduce them as much as possible.
Cropping for Aesthetics
Shooting in-camera can be improved by cropping out distractions and focusing the attention on the intended subject.
When there is a lot of contrast or harsh light, dark objects against light objects will have a purple/pink or yellow/green halo around the edge. You can avoid or fix the problem of poor-quality lenses by buying a very high-quality lens, or by learning to edit the lens imperfections out of your photos afterwards. It takes some practice to do it well. You’ll find the settings under “Lens Corrections.”
Other options that would take a lot of practice to be used at a professional level are available. The colors in your photo can appear more lively by adjusting the “presence” settings, such as vibrance and saturation; however, it is easy to go overboard with these settings. The spot removal and adjustment brushes can be used to fix photos, but it is better to avoid having distracting objects in the photo from the start.