Commercial drone photography has developed into a crucial component of real estate photography, but getting started can be challenging due to a confusing regulatory environment, a whole new set of equipment considerations for both photos and videos, and the difficulties of shooting from an unfamiliar perspective.
Fortunately, I’ll be breaking down everything you need to know to get started in this introduction to real estate drone photography, including why drone photography is so crucial for your business.
Why fly a drone to photograph real estate?
In the past, real estate photographers didn’t require a drone, but now it’s nearly a given that one will be needed for essential shots, especially in hot real estate markets.
A drone provides a different viewpoint of the property, enables the agent or realtor to highlight the lot’s beauty and surroundings, and has that eye-catching and dynamic appearance that makes a listing pop off the page.
Aerial images are crucial for displaying the relative sizes of properties. You can take pictures from different angles to frame the home in its surroundings.
The listing images of Commercial drone photography, where there would usually be few outdoor photos, have significantly benefited from this.
Since cell phones and small cameras have improved, agents only require photographers who can provide a service they cannot. The living room can be captured with a wide-angle iPhone snapshot by an agent, who can then call it a day. The complicated services are what they are less eager to compete with and, therefore, more prepared to pay for.
Drones are also one of the only practical methods for securing expansive sites. A drone is necessary to illustrate the full scale of the deal, whether it’s undeveloped land or just a particularly colossal property.
If you wish to provide even more high-end services, mapping, and other more complicated services about massive estates are also feasible using drones.
Drone video for real estate photography is an intriguing new use. Drones don’t need additional equipment to support video, unlike filming with your ground-based camera. Thus, a gimbal, an external video recorder, or a different tripod configuration are not required.
Real estate drone videography with the Best Drones
If you’re used to buying cameras, buying a drone for photography could seem a little out of the ordinary. For instance, most drones only have a moderate zoom or a fixed-focal length prime lens.
The ability to change lenses will only be available on the most expensive and sophisticated photographic drones. These drones provide many more functions than the DJI Inspire range but are overkill for all but the most sophisticated real estate photography.
- Drone 2 Pro
Despite the Mavic 2 Pro’s discontinuation, shooting on a budget can be possible if locating a used model. It is fairly similar to the Air 2S in terms of functionality. Both cameras have a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor and produce comparable photos.
The Mavic 2 Pro is still relatively small and portable despite being a larger drone. The Mavic 2 Pro would be a better option if you can find a deal and feel comfortable purchasing used.
- Air 2 and Air 2S from Mavic
The Mavic Air range is perfectly balanced in terms of cost and performance. The drone isn’t massive, and with the folding legs, it may easily fit into your existing camera backpack. A camera that is more than capable and a battery pack big enough for any shot are both in the frame.
For daytime photography, the basic Air 2 delivers excellent results. However, the Air 2S outperforms the Air 2 in several ways, including having a bigger sensor. It depends on your budget and photography needs, but you should generally get comparable pictures from either.
How to obtain an FAA license for drone photography of real estate
I’ll discuss my experience obtaining a Part 107 drone license in this part. Although the procedure isn’t complicated, and the FAA has made an effort to make it very user-friendly, you should always ensure you abide by all applicable laws and guidelines regarding drone flight. My experience isn’t legal advice.
The FAA’s Part 107 test and a commercial drone license are the requirements you must have to fly.
- Getting ready for the test with real estate drone videography
Fortunately, it takes some time, but getting a commercial drone license is relatively simple. The test is not free, but it should rapidly pay for itself if you run a real estate photography business.
The FAA mandates that you take an Aeronautical Knowledge Test at an authorized testing facility; my local airport, for example, administered the test.
- Passing the exam
The test itself lasts two hours and consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. It’s an exciting experience because it’s a strictly proctored test. Additionally, you are allowed to bring simple calculators without programmable memory. You will also be given some map books.
Your testing information will detail the items you are not allowed to bring, but it still helps to be aware of what materials you will have to help you with your study process. These items include writing, bags, electronics, written notes, smartwatches, and many other things.
You must fill out some papers to apply for the certificate after passing your test, and the FAA will issue it once it has been verified. Your exam preparation firm will talk about this, and obtaining the application information online is not too difficult. With Commercial drone photography, you’ll get a card in the form of a driver’s license that reflects your accreditation status.