drone being used to take exterior images of home

Real Estate Drone Photography Guide: Benefits, Tips & Getting Started

According to research by the National Association of REALTORS®, 56% of real estate professionals are using drones to market their listings—and this figure is only expected to rise in the coming years. Not only are drones more affordable and accessible than ever, but their image quality and features have also significantly improved. As a result, drone photography is now one of the best ways to showcase properties in a unique and visually appealing way.

Are you thinking about incorporating drone photography into your own real estate listings? You may wonder whether it makes more sense to learn drone photography yourself or hire a professional. We have some great tips for making the right choice and taking full advantage of drone technology to better market your listings.

What Is Real Estate Drone Photography?

Real estate drone photography involves using what’s known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – more commonly known as drones – to capture images and videos of properties from above. This technology allows for unique aerial perspectives that can’t be achieved by traditional photography. Drones equipped with high-resolution cameras can capture sweeping views of landscapes, detailed images of large properties, and dynamic video tours.

These aerial shots provide potential buyers with a comprehensive view of a property. Drones can help highlight a property’s size, layout, and surrounding environment. As a result, drone photography has become an essential tool in modern real estate marketing.

Benefits of Drone Photography in Real Estate

Do you need convincing that drone photography could improve your real estate listings? Here are some of the benefits of using this tool.

1. Captures unique property images

Drone footage is an excellent way to showcase a property’s best features. Unlike photos taken by a camera on the ground, drones can capture unique angles and provide overhead shots of a property. This includes surrounding features like sweeping landscapes, unique viewpoints, and other features that would be otherwise difficult to capture with a standard camera.

2. Gives real estate agents a competitive edge

Using drone photography can save time and money on staging and in-person showings. Now, potential buyers can remotely view every nook and cranny of an entire property.

3. Cost-effective marketing tool

Drone photography is a cost-effective marketing tool. While investing in drone technology or hiring a professional may seem expensive up front, it can actually lead to quicker sales and potentially higher property values. Being able to showcase properties more thoroughly often results in increased buyer interest and, ultimately, faster transactions.

4. Can be used for virtual tours

Drone photography isn’t just limited to still images. In fact, it can also capture dynamic video tours of a property. These videos can provide a virtual walk-through experience, showcasing the property’s layout and features in a more engaging way. Video tours help potential buyers better understand the property’s flow and highlight areas that regular photos might not fully capture.

Learning Real Estate Drone Photography vs. Hiring a Professional

Are you trying to decide whether to learn to take your own drone photography or hire a professional? There are a few important things to consider.

Learning to fly a drone can be a rewarding and fun experience. While it can be challenging, building up your own drone photography skills will likely be cheaper in the long run than hiring a professional for every shoot. Plus, because drone pilots are in demand across a variety of industries, having this skill under your belt can also provide you with a lucrative side gig opportunity.

On the other hand, not everybody has the time or patience to learn to fly a drone and master drone photography. Not only can drone equipment and training be costly, but you’ll also need to factor in the time and expense required to register your drone with the FAA, get certified (in some cases), and maintain your equipment. With this in mind, many real estate professionals hire professional drone photographers to handle this task.

Tips for Getting Started with Real Estate Drone Photography

Ready to take a stab at your own real estate drone photography? Here are some helpful steps to get started that will ensure you capture the best-quality images

  1. Understand the law. Make sure you are aware of and comply with all local and federal regulations regarding drone use.
  2. Get a drone license. As mentioned above, depending on your location, you may need to obtain a license or certification to operate a drone commercially.
  3. Research and buy a drone. Invest in a reliable drone with a good camera that meets your needs and budget.
  4. Set up the listing landscape. Prepare the property by ensuring the landscape and exterior are clean and presentable.
  5. Adjust drone settings. Familiarize yourself with your drone’s settings to optimize image quality.  
  6. Use natural light. Shoot during optimal lighting conditions, typically early morning or late afternoon, for the best results. 
  7. Fly your drone low. Capture detailed shots by flying your drone at a lower altitude while maintaining a safe distance.
  8. Highlight the property’s best features. Focus on showcasing the most attractive aspects of the property, such as expansive yards, scenic views, or unique architectural elements.  

Tips for Hiring a Real Estate Drone Photographer

Here are some tips for hiring a real estate drone photographer for agents who prefer to outsource this task. 

1. Check if your drone photographer is licensed and insured.

Check for proper certification to ensure the photographer is licensed and certified as needed. They’ll also need liability insurance to protect themselves, you, and the owners of your
property in the event of an accident.

2. Check for relevant experience in the real estate industry.

Look closely at a photographer’s experience and portfolio. Ideally, you’ll want to hire somebody with specific expertise in residential real estate photography who can provide a strong portfolio of work. 

3. Ensure proper equipment and technology are used.

Make sure the photographer uses high-quality, professional equipment. A good suggestion is to look for someone who specializes in drone photography and has cameras capable of capturing high-resolution images and videos. The latest technology can significantly impact the quality of the final product, providing sharper images and smoother video footage. All these factors will
ultimately enhance the overall presentation of your listings.

4. Discuss the deliverables and turnaround time.

Before hiring, discuss what deliverables you can expect, such as the number of photos, video length, and editing services. Additionally, agree on a turnaround time that fits your schedule. Knowing when to expect the final product will help you plan your listing timeline more effectively. Clear communication about these details ensures you get the results you need without unnecessary delays.

Examples of Effective Real Estate Drone Photography

So, what are some of the best ways to use drone photography in real estate? Consider, for example, using drone photography to highlight some property features you wouldn’t otherwise be able to capture on camera. This may include structural features (such as a brand-new roof) or amenities (like a swimming pool). Drone photography can also be great for capturing beautiful landscaping and even giving potential buyers a better idea of the size of the property itself.

Drone photography and videography can also be used to showcase some unique perspectives of a property. For example, you might use drone ideography to show off a home’s size and open layout with a fly-through that spans from the front entryway to a back patio.

Meanwhile, flyover footage of a property can give potential buyers a better sense of the nearby neighborhood and area.

Take Your Real Estate Career to New Heights

These days, clients want to work with agents who have access to the latest technology to help them sell their homes. This is why 83% of home sellers prefer to hire agents who use drone photography in their listings. Whether you pick up drone photography as a skill or hire a third-party professional, incorporating quality drone photos into your listings can help you showcase properties and generate more interest. 

Looking for more resources to help your real estate career take off? Colibri Real Estate is here to help. Check out our blog for more useful articles—or contact our friendly team to get started with your real estate pre-licensing or continuing education courses today