6 Things to Know for Real Estate Drone Photography

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If you’re a real estate broker, you know the value of a good photographer. Real estate photography is equal parts art and commercial science, and a quality snapshot of a property could mean the difference between catching the eye of a buyer and sitting on a property for months upon months. Having great drone footage and photos will help you spice up your public listings as well as your real estate website design.

Related: If you’re looking to build a website for your real estate business, here’s a guide on how to build a real estate website in 6 easy steps.

As the real estate marketplace has evolved in recent years, so have photographs of real estate. The proliferation of drone technology and a spike in the number of commercial drone pilots has opened up a wealth of opportunities in the field of real estate drone photography.

Real Estate Drone Photography
aerial drone photo of a mountain house surrounded by greenery with a forest of fir trees and people walking along the path

Drone real estate photography gives agencies like yours the unique opportunity to highlight properties with unparalleled detail and perspective. A normal photographer is hamstrung by tunnel vision. You can only capture so much of a property’s scale and impressive stature when you’re limited to shots on the ground. The best drone for real estate photography will remove these limits, capturing breathtaking photos of a property from all angles that are guaranteed to pique the interest of even the wariest of home buyers.

If you’re new to all of this and are worried about real estate drone photography pricing and the particulars of the process, we’re here to help. We’ve put together the definitive primer on drone real estate photography services and the key things you should be on the lookout for during your search. In short, no two real estate drone photographers are created equal. A little bit of research and forethought on your part will go a long way towards saving you money and headaches with backlogs of unsold properties.

Here are six things to keep in mind when looking for the best drone for real estate photography for your agency. 

Real Estate Drone Photography Pricing Varies Wildly

When you’re pricing out real estate drone photographers, you’re going to be greeted with a pretty staggering variance. Some of the most reputable drone photographers in the country and the world are also some of the most cost-effective, while some expensive real estate drone photography services aren’t worth the premium expenditure.

Typically, real estate drone photography pricing can set you back between $150 and $300 for a set of ten aerial photos. Some drone photo services cost even more than this, but we’d consider that a bit of a red flag. The time spent snapping and editing photographs of your real estate properties will be the main factor affecting pricing, so be sure to ask prospective photographers if they work on an hourly or base rate.

As for real estate drone videos, they’re undoubtedly pricier. You’re looking at a price range of $300 to $1,000 for one to five minutes of edited real estate drone video footage. Prices can also vary based on the market for real estate drone photography services in your particular state, so be sure to price out a few different options to get a feel for the average cost in your area.

See this great real estate drone video that showcases an amazing property:

Example of drone real estate photography and videography

Don’t Settle On A Drone Photographer Without First Checking Their Portfolio 

As a real estate agent or broker, you trust your eyes. First impressions are critical in the real estate industry. If you have a bad initial feeling about a property, it’s usually borne out down the road. 

Use this same approach when looking for real estate drone photography services. In fact, it would behoove you to think like one of your customers. Ask for an online portfolio or brochure of the company’s past work. Look at the snapshots with a critical eye and compare them with the real estate drone photography pricing that you’ve been quoted. If you don’t feel like you’re getting a heck of a deal, you should likely look elsewhere for drone real estate photography services. If the properties they’re highlighting as their best work don’t pop off your screen and inspire you to work with them, you’re likely to be underwhelmed by the results of your partnership.

A good drone pilot isn’t nearly enough to make a difference for your real estate brokerage or agency. The best drone for real estate photography is also the best real estate photographer period. If they’re not savvy about key photography elements such as lighting, contrast, and perspective, they’re not worth your time or money.

Real Estate Drone Photography
Aerial drone photograph of a modern house with a garden swimming pool and wooden deck

Certification, Experience, And Insurance Matter In Drone Real Estate Photography

Proper certification, relevant experience, and insurance policies are a must if you’re truly looking for the best drone for real estate photography. For one, a drone pilot without an FAA part 107 certification isn’t a safe bet. This certification is only awarded when a pilot demonstrates their extensive knowledge of the craft and the laws and regulations surrounding drone aviation. An unlicensed real estate drone photographer may cause you added problems while also delivering a subpar finished product. 

Secondly, a safe drone pilot is almost always an experienced drone pilot. Ask a drone real estate photography agency what safety procedures their pilots take before beginning a photo shoot. If they don’t list precautions like surveying the airspace for potential hazards, monitoring the weather forecast for adequate lighting and safety reasons, and conducting full site inspections, this should be a hard pass for your agency.

Finally, a legit real estate drone photography service is a fully-insured service. If something goes wrong and the property sustains damage from a drone crash, an uninsured photographer could leave both you and the homeowners in a major financial bind. Be sure to ask about the scope of insurance coverage. You don’t want to be held even partially liable for an accident of any kind.

Know The Laws And Limitations Of Drone Photography

Even the best drone for real estate photography works under the auspice of the FAA. There is an extensive array of rules and regulations imposed on drone pilots every time a plane leaves the ground. For example, an unmanned drone is only allowed to fly up to 400 feet above the ground. 

Other key regulations to consider include: whether or not your property is surrounded by an approved air space for drone flight, whether there is a clear line of sight for the drone pilot to watch the aircraft at all times, and whether or not a drone will have to fly over people walking around.

If the property has infrastructural elements that could impede a real estate drone photography service from legally and safely capturing quality snapshots for commercial purposes, be sure to mention those to them and use your best judgment before purchasing a photo or video package. The pilot may need to request a special set of waivers to fly a drone in the airspace around the property, and waiver requests could add significant delays to the project if they’re not aware of this beforehand.

The More Prepared And Communicative You Are, The Better

While the real estate drone photography service you hire is going to do most of the legwork, their top priority is to make their clients happy with the snapshots or videos that they provide. After all, exemplary work often means repeated business.

Be honest and upfront about the deadlines you have for the execution of a photo or video shoot. If this time frame is unrealistic for the drone real estate photography company, you can work towards a compromise or look elsewhere for expedited services.

Also, providing drone pilots with a detailed shot list is a major real estate drone photography life hack. For one, this gives them a concrete framework to work with. It also ensures that you receive the perspectives and emphases you’re looking for to really highlight the aesthetic strengths of a particular property.

Other things to consider when finalizing a deal with a drone real estate photography company include the type of file that the final photos/videos will be delivered as, the length of video footage or the number of requested photos, and clear expectations for finished products and the editing process.

The more you know what you want and how to ask for it, the more likely you’ll be satisfied with the outcome of your real estate drone photography experience. 

The Best Drone For Real Estate Photography May Be Subjective To Your Tastes 

Some agents and brokerages prefer the track record and extensive customer reviews for national real estate drone photography companies like Drone Base, Dronegenuity, and SoldByAir. National drone real estate photography studios like these are a good bet in terms of consistency, editing quality, and availability. Your area may not have a local option or one worth the overall investment, so keep national providers in mind just in case.

One note — national real estate drone photography studios often work with a preset list of shots and angles for the sake of expedition and brand consistency. If you want to include special angles or perspectives as part of a customized shot list, be sure to bring this up in the consultation phase.

Also, keep your options open and your eyes trained for quality photography. There may be a local drone photographer who costs a little bit more than a national service but has the photography chops you need to really make your properties shine.

After all, the best drone for real estate photography is subjective to your own aesthetic tastes. Remember that you’re the customer in this scenario and only accept the photos and videos that will highlight your properties in a breathtaking (and profitable) light.

Additionally, if you don’t have the time or resources to build, manage, and grow your website, learn about Chairlift’s outsourced web design & development services. We help businesses grow better and faster online with a simple membership.

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Gregory Karelitz
Gregory Karelitz

Greg is the founder of Chairlift. He loves creating and building amazing customer experiences online. When he's not behind his screen, you can find him skiing, mountain biking, wakeboarding, or doing some other fun adventure sports.

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