Professional photography is essential to selling a home. After all, properties that lack high-quality images, videos, and virtual walkthroughs tend to attract few potential buyers. Outside of sprucing up your home, great photography is the best investment you can make.
But some types of property photography can be challenging, even for the most experienced photographers and agents. Aerial images, for example, often require specialized equipment, like a real estate drone.
If you’ve never used a real estate drone before, you might also be unfamiliar with its many benefits. Let’s discuss why you might want to use a drone during your next real estate photography session!
Why Use Drones for Real Estate Photography?
Drones are flying devices that are remotely operated. Some have built-in cameras for aerial pictures and videos. As such, drone photography is a crucial tool that real estate photographers and agents should consider. They make a huge difference, especially on higher end properties.
However, there are several types of drones, and not all of them can take pictures or record videos. If you’re unfamiliar with drones, you may struggle to choose the right one for real estate photography.
To ensure you pick the best possible model, let’s explore the most crucial features to look for when choosing a real estate drone.
What Features Should You Look for in a Real Estate Drone?
Consumer-grade drones come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and capabilities. When selecting a drone for real estate photography and videos, it’s wise to consider:
- Image Quality
- Media Format
- Battery Life
- Obstacle Avoidance
Each of these factors can impact the quality of your real estate photography. And because a photography drone can cost as much as a professional-level camera, it’s vital to pick wisely when selecting a drone.
|A drone with a high-quality camera capable of capturing high-resolution stills and 4K UHD video.
|A stable 3-axis gimbal for smooth, professional-grade footage.
|Longer flight times allow for extended shooting sessions and more efficient operation.
|Intelligent Flight Modes
|Features such as Waypoints, Orbit, or ActiveTrack to facilitate complex, dynamic shots.
|A reliable obstacle avoidance system for safe flights in intricate real estate environments.
|GPS and Navigation
|Accurate GPS and GLONASS dual-navigation systems for precise positioning and stable hovering.
|Compact, foldable design for easy transportation between shooting locations.
|A high-quality transmission system for stable live feeds and accurate framing.
|Consider your budget when selecting a drone, keeping in mind the cost of additional accessories.
|Availability of customer support, firmware updates, and replacement parts for the chosen drone.
Let’s take a few moments to explore these features and discuss why you should focus on them when browsing for a new photography drone.
Not all photography drones produce high-quality images and videos. And while 4K video is standard amongst these devices, it’s not exactly consistent.
For example, some drones that claim to capture images in 4K lack gimbals for stability. The resulting pictures and videos might be virtually useless due to blurring.
Others produce 4K video, but pixelated low-resolution images. Because home buyers tend to gravitate toward high-resolution media, you’ll likely want to choose a drone with superior image quality.
Be sure to consider the definition, megapixel amount, and media format when choosing a real estate drone. Otherwise, you might end up spending hundreds of dollars on a drone that produces subpar images.
Some photography drones only save images as certain file types, which can impact the editing process. When choosing a drone, be sure that you’re selecting one that saves files in your preferred format.
For example, if you tend to edit JPEG images, you’ll want a drone that can save photos as that file type. Of course, your preferred editing software can help you select a file type that works for you.
If you’re primarily interested in getting amazing aerial shots, you may want to choose a drone that saves images as RAW or DNG file types. These types of images are chock-full of useful data.
Still, if your drone isn’t stable enough, even the highest-quality camera and most compatible file types won’t help you. In fact, stability is one of the most crucial aspects of any photography drone.
There’s almost nothing worse than getting your drone into the air, only to find that it’s not stable enough to produce great images. That’s why you’ll also want to think about stability when choosing a drone.
Many of the best photography drones have stabilizing gimbals that help them smoothly fly through the air. If your chosen drone lacks a multi-axis gimbal for stabilization, it’s probably best to choose a different model.
Photography drones don’t tend to last for a long time once they’re up in the air. In fact, it’s not uncommon for most drones to begin dying down after about ten minutes of operation.
Fortunately, that’s often just enough time for photographers to get the shots they need. However, it can be frustrating to have to stop your session and recharge your drone.
As such, you might want to opt for a model that’s capable of lasting twenty minutes or longer. That way, you can capture all of the images and video you need in one go without having to pause for a recharge break.
Many of the best photography drones are programmed to avoid obstacles. This helps them keep away from potentially dangerous objects. It can also lessen the chance of a severe impact.
If you’re not familiar with speedy RC boats or cars, you might not feel comfortable operating a drone manually. But models that come with obstacle avoidance settings are often also autonomous.
This means that they can fly and operate without you having to manipulate the joysticks on the drone controller. Instead, you only need to set the drone’s path, confirm its settings, and wait for it to do its thing.
As such, choosing a drone with obstacle avoidance is a smart choice. Besides, photography drones aren’t exactly cheap. You definitely don’t want to lose yours to a wayward tree branch or a slippery trigger finger.
The average photography drone costs anywhere between $500 and $30,000. As you might expect, the pricier models often produce the highest-quality images and videos.
But you don’t need several thousand dollars to buy a top-notch real estate drone. Now, if you’re a real estate photographer, you may want to invest in one of the pricier, higher-quality drones. But if you are capturing a multi-million dollar property, it’s worth it to invest in the best drone money can buy.
After all, real estate photographers typically take a wide variety of photographs and videos for their clients. Being able to take 4K walkthrough videos and high-definition aerial images could make your job far easier.
If you’re a real estate agent looking to create some high-quality aerial images of your for-sale homes, it may be better to start with a slightly smaller, more affordable drone or hire a real estate photographer.
Benefits of Using Aerial Photography When Selling a Home
Using a drone to capture aerial photos of your real estate listing provides numerous advantages that can help showcase the property in the best light, attract more buyers, and ultimately secure a better deal.
|Offers a bird’s-eye view, capturing scale, layout, and surrounding landscape.
|Professional touch to marketing materials, making your listing stand out.
|Investment pays off by attracting more interest and potentially closing a quicker sale.
|Drones capture comprehensive images quickly, freeing up time for other tasks.
|Emphasizes nearby amenities, such as parks, schools, and shopping centers, for potential buyers.
Some of the key benefits include:
- Unique perspective: Drones offer a bird’s-eye view of the property, highlighting its scale, layout, and surrounding landscape, which traditional ground-level photos can’t capture.
- Enhanced marketing: Aerial photography adds a professional touch to your marketing materials, making your listing stand out and appeal to potential buyers.
- Cost-effective: While hiring a professional drone operator might seem expensive initially, the investment pays off in the long run by attracting more interest and potentially closing a quicker sale.
- Time-saving: Drones can capture comprehensive images of the property and its surroundings in a short time, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.
- Showcasing amenities: Aerial photos can emphasize nearby amenities, such as parks, schools, and shopping centers, which may be important selling points for potential buyers.
The Best Drones for Real Estate Photography
There are hundreds (potentially thousands) of consumer-grade drones on the market. Picking the best model for property photography means considering each drone’s features.
Still, you don’t need to browse hundreds of models to find the best drone for real estate videos. We researched dozens of top-rated models to discover which drones take the best images and are the easiest to operate.
We found several worthwhile options, but our favorites are the:
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro
- EXOPro Blackhawk
- DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2
Though there are more affordable models, these three produce some of the most stunning images and videos of any real estate drone. They’re also incredibly easy to use, making it easy to get gorgeous shots of any property.
Which one is the right model for you? We’ll need to take a brief look at each drone’s features and capabilities to find out.
1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro Combo Bundle
DJI is well-known for producing some of the highest-quality consumer-grade drones on the market. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is no exception.
The DJI Mavic 2 Pro as an exceptional foldable, compact drone that combines portability with top-notch performance. Its Hasselblad L1D-20c camera sports a 1-inch CMOS sensor, capturing stunning 20-megapixel stills and 4K UHD video at 30 fps.
The drone features an advanced 3-axis gimbal for buttery smooth footage and utilizes the OcuSync 2.0 transmission system for crisp live feeds. Its sophisticated GPS and GLONASS dual-navigation systems, along with intelligent flight modes, make it a powerful and versatile tool for aerial enthusiasts and professionals alike.
- Compact, foldable design for easy portability
- High-quality 20-megapixel stills and 4K UHD video
- Advanced 3-axis gimbal for smooth footage
- OcuSync 2.0 transmission system for stable live feeds
- Omnidirectional obstacle sensing for enhanced safety
- Expensive compared to other drones in its category
- Limited to 31 minutes of flight time
- No built-in support for 4K UHD video at 60 fps
The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is a remarkable choice for real estate photography due to its superior camera quality, compact design, and intelligent flight capabilities. Its ability to capture high-resolution aerial images allows for an immersive portrayal of properties from various angles.
The drone’s intelligent flight modes, such as Hyperlapse and ActiveTrack, facilitate complex, dynamic shots with minimal effort. Its comprehensive omnidirectional obstacle sensing system ensures safe and confident flights in the intricate environments commonly encountered in real estate photography.
2. EXOPro Blackhawk
If you’re concerned about price, you may want to consider the EXOPro Blackhawk. It’s about a quarter of the cost of other 4K photography drones. Even better, it can operate autonomously, decreasing the risk of user error.
The EXOPro Blackhawk stands out as a versatile and powerful quadcopter, equipped with a 4K UHD camera and a robust 3-axis gimbal, ensuring stable footage across a variety of applications. The drone’s GPS/GLONASS dual-navigation system provides accurate positioning and stable hovering, while its multiple intelligent flight modes cater to diverse aerial needs.
- 4K UHD camera with 3-axis gimbal for stable, high-quality footage
- GPS/GLONASS dual-navigation for accurate positioning
- Multiple intelligent flight modes for diverse applications
- Impressive top speed of 50 mph and 30-minute flight time
- Reliable obstacle avoidance system for safe operation
- Less portable due to size and weight
- Limited availability of compatible accessories
- Higher initial cost compared to other drones in its class
The EXOPro Blackhawk’s camera capabilities, flight performance, and intelligent flight modes make it an excellent choice for real estate photography. Its aerial perspective allows for stunning visuals of properties, while the automated flight modes, such as Orbit and Waypoints, facilitate complex shots with ease.
3. DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 Photo Drone
If you’re interested in the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, but you’re not quite ready for all its hi-tech features, you may want to choose the DJI Phantom 4 Pro v2.
The drone’s impressive 28-minute flight time, coupled with a top speed of 45 mph, ensures seamless and efficient flights for various applications. Furthermore, the inclusion of the Lightbridge video transmission system guarantees high-quality real-time video feeds, ensuring precise control and framing for any endeavor.
When it comes to real estate photography, the DJI Phantom 4 truly shines. Its high-resolution camera captures stunning aerial imagery, effectively showcasing properties from unique and captivating angles.
The intelligent flight modes, such as Point of Interest and Waypoints, allow users to program flight paths and focus on framing the perfect shot, while the 3-axis gimbal ensures smooth, stable footage. Additionally, the drone’s robust obstacle avoidance system guarantees safe flights, reducing the risk of potential accidents in complex environments commonly found in real estate settings.
- High-quality 4K UHD video and 12-megapixel still images
- Stable 3-axis gimbal for smooth footage
- GPS-assisted hover and intelligent flight modes for precise control
- Comprehensive obstacle avoidance system for safe flights
- 28-minute flight time and 45 mph top speed for efficient operations
- Slightly bulkier and less portable compared to newer, more compact drones
- No built-in support for RAW images, limiting post-processing flexibility
- Proprietary batteries and accessories, increasing long-term cost
As a seasoned drone expert, I can confidently say that the DJI Phantom 4 is a great piece of aerial technology, boasting a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor with 4K UHD video capture capabilities, along with a 12-megapixel still image resolution.
Its GPS-assisted hover function, intelligent flight modes, and comprehensive obstacle avoidance system make it an ideal choice for both amateur and professional drone pilots.
Commonly Asked Questions about Drones
What are the legal requirements and certifications needed for real estate drone photography?
To legally operate a drone for real estate photography in the United States, you must obtain a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This certification process involves passing a knowledge test covering airspace regulations, weather, and operational best practices.
Additionally, drone operators must adhere to local, state, and federal regulations, which may include restrictions on flying near airports, over people, and in certain airspaces. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these regulations to avoid potential fines or penalties.
Which drone is best suited for real estate photography?
The ideal drone for real estate photography offers a high-quality camera, stable footage, intelligent flight modes, and a reliable obstacle avoidance system. Popular options include the DJI Phantom 4, DJI Mavic 2 Pro, and EXOPro Blackhawk.
|DJI Phantom 4
|EXOPro Blackhawk 2
|DJI Mavic 2 Pro
|Autel EVO II
|DJI Air 2S
Factors such as budget, portability, flight time, and camera capabilities should be considered when selecting a drone. Ultimately, the best drone for you depends on your specific requirements and preferences.
How do I capture compelling aerial images and videos for real estate?
To capture visually appealing aerial content for real estate, consider the following tips. It’s worth noting that practice makes perfect, and the more you use your drone the better off you will be.
- Utilize intelligent flight modes, like Orbit or Waypoints, to create dynamic, smooth shots.
- Shoot during the golden hour (shortly after sunrise or before sunset) to achieve warm, soft lighting.
- Capture various angles and altitudes to showcase the property’s unique features and surrounding area.
- Use slow, steady movements for video footage to ensure a professional and polished appearance.
- Experiment with different compositions and focal points to create engaging and diverse visuals.
Photograph Your Properties the Right Way With a Drone
Curb appeal might be a crucial aspect of selling a home, but so is virtual appeal. If your properties don’t have high-quality images, videos, and walkthroughs available online, you may struggle to find interested buyers.
Having a real estate drone on hand is an excellent way to capture high-definition aerial images of your for-sale properties. A drone can also capture video that you can use to create virtual walkthroughs.
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DJI Mavic is the one I got and it's been great. I got it awhile back for my roofing company, and ended up also shooting some side projects for realtors. The image quality is incredible and it also shoots videos too.