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Drone photography has become a mainstay in real estate sales and marketing.

Compelling, even breathtaking, online photography is vital in today’s real estate sales market — and drones can help you get the dramatic images you need.

Real estate drone photography captures fantastic aerial views and perspectives of properties and their surrounding landscape. 

These images and videos can be used to create virtual tours, promotional materials, and eye-catching listing photos. 

So, in this post, we’ll provide you with the ultimate guide to real estate drone photography. 

Therefore, let’s start by examining what precisely real estate drone photography is.

Real Estate Drone Photography – An Overview

Real estate drone photography uses flying drones to capture photos of properties from an aerial view. 

Viewing properties from above adds an entirely new perspective to the listing, allowing the buyer to see the following:

  • The footprint of the property, getting a fuller sense of the boundaries and perimeter
  • Nearby natural areas such as woods, lakes, parks, and open fields
  • A complete understanding of the neighborhood and its amenities
  • The house in relation to the homes and structures around it

Aerial drone images effortlessly give the buyer a better feel for the lay of the land and provide a 360-degree view of the property.

Another significant benefit of aerial photography is that it boosts your listing appeal by featuring dramatic, alluring images that make buyers take notice and want to know more. 

For these and many other reasons, drone photography has become one of the most valuable real estate sales marketing tools.

Is Drone Photography Effective for Sales?

Now, some real estate sales professionals don’t think drone photography is necessary or worth the extra effort. 

However, surveys and statistics show they’re wrong – real estate drone photography is highly effective in sales. For example, consider just these two facts:

  • According to a National Association of Realtors study, 57% of buyers expect to see at least 8 to 10 aerial shots of most residential properties
  • Buyers are 65% more likely to schedule an in-person showing for listings featuring drone aerial photography

Do you want to be one of the real estate sales professionals who disappoint buyers?

Additionally, a drone can be instrumental in marketing and selling real estate for several other reasons, including the following:

  • 7 in 10 agents report that videos, virtual staging, and drone photography are more important since the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 83% of home sellers prefer to work with a real estate agent who uses drone photography
  • 97% of home buyers use the internet to search for homes and expect to see quality photos – and drone photography captures stunning images

The numbers clearly show that drone photography can provide a unique perspective on a property and its surrounding area that isn’t possible with ground-based photography. 

This is a considerable advantage when trying to showcase the property and its location in a more captivating and attractive way.

How to Get Started With Real Estate Drone Photography

real estate drone photography

Okay, now that you understand the power and benefits of real estate drone photography, you’re probably wondering how to get started using it. We’re glad you asked!

We suggest you follow these three steps to get started:

Step 1: Learn Your Local Laws

Becoming familiar with the local law is advisable before you start employing drone photography in your practice. For example, here are a few common laws to keep in mind:

  • You cannot operate drones near airfields, airports, and aircraft
  • Your drone should be 150 ft away from any property and people
  • Drones should be flown below 400 feet

Apart from these, other laws will vary from state to state. Remember to follow these laws to avoid getting into legal trouble.

Step 2: Obtain a License

Do your research on operating a drone properly and legally.

In every state, flying a drone requires a license. You must pass the Part 107 pilot’s test and get FAA-certified.

And simply getting the license is not enough, as the following shows:

  • The license must be renewed every 36 months
  • Every 24 months, you must pass the recurrent aeronautical knowledge test

We recommend contacting local authorities to learn your area’s rules and laws for real estate aerial photography.

Step 3: Purchase the Right Drone for You

Once licensed to fly a real estate photography drone, the next logical step is to find a suitable drone for you.  When looking for the right drone, you’ll want to think about the following:

  • Not all drones are the same – they vary in terms of capabilities, ease of use, and price
  • You’d be wise to talk with local real estate photographers to see what drones they recommend
  • And you’re going to want to give yourself plenty of time to practice flying your drone before you attempt to use it to take aerial photos

With that said, here are our picks for the 9 best drones for real estate photography. 

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The 9 Best Drones for Real Estate Photography

The following 9 drones are among the best available for real estate photography. 

1. DJI Mini 2 Fly More – Ultralight Foldable Drone

DJI Mini 2 Fly More – Ultralight Foldable Drone

This model is DJI’s smallest drone yet. Perfect for beginners, it’s pretty easy to use. Here are some of its features:

  • 12 MP Camera with Dolly Zoom
  • Can fly up to 24 mph (38 kph) with ActiveTrack, TapFly, and other intelligent features that make your photography and video easier
  • An average of 27 Minutes of Flight Time per charge

Some other features of this drone include:

  • This small drone is affordable and shoots 4K video
  • However, it doesn’t come with obstacle avoidance or HDR
  • An excellent choice for those who want a capable, entry-level drone

The DJI Mini 2 is ideal for most real estate photography. Also, it can handle up to Level 5 Wind Resistance, providing stable video.

2. Hubsan Zino Pro 4K

Hubsan Zino Pro 4K

A popular choice, the Hubsan Zino Pro offers a 4K camera on a 3-axis stabilized, rotating gimbal. This attractive drone features the following:

  • GPS-Based Navigation System
  • Up to 23 Minutes of Flight Time
  • Max Control Distance 4KM
  • Automatic Return Home Failsafe
  • Top Speed of 22 mph

Do note that one of this drone’s more admirable features is the ability to remove the camera lens and install new lenses with built-in filters.

3. Ruko F11 Pro Drones With 4K UHD Camera

Ruko F11 Pro Drones With 4K UHD Camera

The Ruko F11 Pro offers several exciting features, such as 5GHz Wi-Fi FPV that powers real-time data transmission, an aluminum alloy motor, and an 11.1v battery for a more stable flight. 

This drone offers other advantages as well, including:

  • Robust GPS positioning and air pressure help the drone hover while avoiding distortion due to camera vibration
  • A solid 36-minute flight time, a 4K camera, and multiple flight modes
  • A great choice for those looking for a collapsible, lightweight drone that transports easily

Do note; this drone does have two limitations. First, the battery needs to be changed every 30 minutes. Second, it doesn’t feature obstacle avoidance, so you must be extra careful when flying.

Still, this drone is more than sufficient for real estate professionals – it’s worth looking into.

4. Parrot Anafi

Parrot Anafi

The Parrot Anafi is an affordable, high-quality, petite, and lightweight drone. Featuring a flight time of around 25 minutes, this drone is similar in speed and agility to the Mavic 2.

Some of this model’s features include:

  • It can 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

Overall, this is a fine drone for real estate photography. 

5.  DJI Mavic Air 2 – Drone Quadcopter UAV With 48MP Camera and 4K Video

DJI Mavic Air 2 – Drone Quadcopter UAV With 48MP Camera and 4K Video

DJI Mavic Air 2 offers precise shooting functions and superb image quality, plus its safer flight features enable you to focus on your photography and not the flying. 

Here are some of this capable drone’s features:

  • 48 MP photography, HDR, and 4K video capabilities
  • A 1/2 inch image sensor along with 8K hyper-lapse
  • 34 minutes of flight time
  • It also has automatic obstacle avoidance

This model also features built-in stabilizers and a gimbal to improve performance, making it an ideal model for a newbie or the seasoned drone pilot.

6. DJI Mavic 2 Pro

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is among the most popular drone models. Its compact size and variety of features are its highest selling points. 

The professional-grade camera, along with the drone, is from a Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad.

Among this drone’s key features are the following:

  • Maximum flight time of 31 minutes
  • A top 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

Additionally, this model has a 1-inch CMOS sensor that provides 20-megapixel photography with enhanced HDR and color sensitivity.

7. DJI Mavic Pro Bundle

DJI Mavic Pro Bundle

The Mavic Pro is an agile, high-speed flyer that captures high-res images and video, making this one of the better models for real estate photography. 

The following are some of this drone’s appealing and valuable features:

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

The speed of this drone makes it useful for multiple applications, including aerial photography, and a fun option for those who fly drones as a hobby.

8. Phantom 4 ProV2.0

Phantom 4 ProV2.0

The Phantom 4 Pro V 2.0 is one of the most sought-after real estate aerial photography options. 

It provides professional aerial shooting and comes with the same body as the Phantom 4 but offers significant improvements. Its features include:

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

The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 has multiple automated flight and camera modes, making this an attractive option for many real estate photographers. 

9. Flightelf Professional Sony Camera Drone

Flightelf Professional Sony Camera Drone

Sony’s Flightelf Professional offers both intelligent shooting modes and a decent-quality camera. It’s an excellent option for real estate agents and photographers who want to improve their aerial photography.

This drone’s features include the following:

  • Obstacle avoidance technology and a 3-axis gimbal
  • Up to 90 minutes of flight time
  • 4K at 25 FPS with a digital zoom rather than mechanical
  • 50x zoom
  • Automatic GPS return to home

An affordable option, it’s worth considering if you’re looking to purchase a drone to expand your business offerings. 

Want to know even more about suitable drones for real estate photography? Check out this article on the best drones for real estate photography in 2023.

6 Tips for Excellent Real Estate Drone Photography

There are a few simple steps to ensure that you’re getting the best possible results when taking drone photography:

1) Safety first –  safety should be your top priority for your sake and the people around the shoot. 

First, ensure the drone is in good working condition, and check for any problems before taking off. 

Second, always abide by the regulations for flying drones, as per the FAA regulations. Make sure to be aware of the airspace restrictions, and always keep the drone in your line of sight. 

2) Plan your shoot – before taking off, plan the flight path and angles of the drone, and check ahead for the best time of day to shoot the property.

Landscaping, pools, walking paths, and backyards are essential to many buyers. Aerial photos & video allow you to highlight these advantages. 

Create your shot list focusing on the strengths of the property and the neighboring areas.

3) Check the weather – be aware of the weather conditions and always watch the sky, especially if conditions seem to be changing quickly. 

The weather and lighting go hand in hand and can make a big difference in the outcome of your photos. Typically, the best lighting conditions are early morning or late afternoon.

4) Prepare the landscape – walk the property before the shoot looking for any problems ahead of time. 

You’ll want to look for any distractions, such as trash, debris, or items out of place. Also, notice any potential hazards or obstacles before putting the drone in the air. 

5) Remember 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.

6) Edit your drone real estate photos – as any professional photographer knows, photo editing is necessary to get crisp, clear, stunning images, and drone photography is no different.

Keeping these tips in mind helps ensure the best possible results when taking drone photos.

How Much to Charge for Real Estate Drone Photography

Since drone technology is relatively new, many photographers need help knowing how much to charge for this sort of photography. 

First, you’ll want to weigh certain factors, such as the property’s size and location, the shoot’s complexity, the number of needed shots, and the type of drone being used.

Most professional drone photographers charge an hourly rate for their services, ranging from $50 to $500 per hour, depending on their experience and service level.

However, some photographers charge per photo, so you might also want to consider this option. 

Yet another pricing approach is to charge according to square footage, with a photo package including exterior and interior shots.

Here’s an example of drone photography pricing per square footage:

Under 2000 sq. ft.$149
Under 3000 sq. ft.$199
Under 4000 sq. ft.$249
Under 5000 sq. ft.$299

While a lower price may seem appealing to remain competitive, it’s also essential to consider the quality of the work and the photographer’s experience. 

For even more information, read this article on drone real estate photography pricing in 2023

FAQ – Summary

Real Estate Drone Photography Editing by PhotoUp
Real Estate Drone Photography Editing by PhotoUp

Q. Is real estate drone photography really necessary? Won’t traditional exterior photos of the property suffice?

A. Real estate drone photography creates fantastic images and offers a fuller perspective of the property.  It’s the ideal way to capture photos of pools, large yards, and patio arrangements and convey the property’s overall size and perimeter. So, yes, we believe drone photography is well worth the effort. 

Q. When shooting real estate drone photography, how many shots do I need?

A. Well, that will depend on the property and its surroundings. A larger property with many exterior features will likely need a longer shot list. The neighborhood matters, too. Are their nearby attractions, natural amenities, or exciting scenery? Then these things should also be photographed. 

Q. How hard is it to obtain a drone pilot’s license?

A. The FAA CFR Part 107 drone pilot exam is challenging to pass. It requires the study of Rules & Regulations, Airport Operations, Weather, Airspace, Flight Operations & Sectional Charts. Fortunately, there are many great online training courses designed to study, practice, and pass the exam with success.

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Take Your Drone Photography to the Next Level With PhotoUp

If you’ve already made the extra effort using a drone for your real estate photography, why not ensure your aerial images are simply fantastic?  

PhotoUp’s editing experts can make every one of your photos (or videos) captivating and eye-catching. 

For example, our highly experienced editors help with the following issues common to drone photography:

  • Correcting improper exposure levels
  • Landscape enhancement, such as lawn greening and sky replacements
  • Adding drama with twilight and day-to-dusk editing
  • Removing unwanted objects 
  • And much more!

And PhotoUp is a full-service real estate marketing company offering all the tools you’ll need to sell more listings and grow your sales business. 

Their services include these popular and powerful marketing services:

So, take the next step, and start using real estate drone photography to help sell your listings.

Start now! Sign up for a free PhotoUp account and explore all they have to offer for your business.

We hope you enjoyed this ultimate guide to real estate drone photography. If you liked this article, you might also want to check out the following related resources:

Gregory Gronbacher

Real Estate Sales Agent / Professional Blogger

Gregory is a real estate sales agent and a state-certified instructor of real estate licensing and law. Originally from New York City, he's called Grand Rapids, Michigan home since 1995.

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