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Home » Blog » Real estate marketing » Aerial Photography: Using Drones For Real Estate Photography

Aerial Photography: Using Drones For Real Estate Photography

aerial photography using drones to take real estate photos



These days, the application of advanced technologies to the selling and buying of real estate greatly determines the total benefit. With the advent of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles, real state photography has become much easier and less costly than traditional methods.

If you want to gain certain advantages over your competitors in such a fiercely competitive business, take a look at today’s post about using drones for real estate photography.

Pros & Cons of Using Drones for Real Estate Photography



Create More Impressive Pictures

With GPS feature, drones can astonishingly capture professional shots of a home from different angles in addition to a general look at the surrounding area, resulting in an overview of the entire space. Compared to conventional ground-based photography, aerial photography is likely to draw more people’s attention, especially those looking for expansive properties. This kind of real estate is rather large for buyers to walk around and assess in a general way, so using drones really comes in handy. Thus, buyers can catch the best glimpse of every corner at once to make the final decision.

Create Virtual Tours

Thanks to programmable flight paths, an interesting tour of the home can be produced by dint of drones. A drone is designed to fly easily throughout the home, from the front to the back, and even in every corner to help buyers imagine the whole house. Such a natural tour is likely to impress customers much more than merely station-based photography. According to the recent report by the Multiple Listing Service, properties featuring aerial images are 68% faster sold than those featuring virtually station-based photos.

Emphasize Key Features

Through aerial photos, outstanding features of the property can be promoted, including backyards, landscaping, pool, etc. Based on potential buyers’ demands, you can choose specific features to highlight with drones. Just an aerial photo of the entire yard would depict how spacious the property is.

Save Marketing Money

Aerial photographs used to be captured by pilots in helicopters, which cost real estate agents a huge sum of money for overhead photos. As a result, aerial photography was confined to high-end properties. However, the invention of drones has reduced the production expense of aerial photographs, facilitating more buyers’ access to this modern technology.

Create Business Opportunities

Showing aerial images in your listing is a good way of setting you apart from the rest. With the ability to use drones for real estate photography, you can impress prospective sellers for being competent to advertise their property amazingly. Thus, the number of visits to your website and customers using your service will be enhanced to a great extent. Not only the ex-owners themselves, but marketers can also enjoy the profit of selling properties faster.


Short Lifespan

Unlike traditional cameras, drones’ battery design is relatively smaller, so the duration is only four hours at the most. As a result, users must recharge their device frequently to make it work well.

Privacy Concerns

The fact that drones fly around to capture both the house and the surrounding environment may violate the privacy of other residents. Several unwanted shots may be unintentionally captured on the screen, such as the scene of a partially clothed woman sunbathing in her own backyard. Thus, it is advisable that you ask for nearby householders’ permission to show up on camera during aerial photography operations.

Security Risk

Using drones to capture the entire area can expose property vulnerabilities to intruders. Because all taken images are publicized online or on advertising billboards, the risk of the property being broken into cannot be neglected.


Some Features of Drones That Are Useful for Real Estate Agents


Multiple Uses

In this industry, real estate drone photography can help agents introduce various details to potential buyers. The output includes an aerial view of the whole property and land while making clear the current condition of the roof and other inaccessible features.

On a wider scale, buyers are allowed to inspect the pathway, means of transportation available and amenities within the vicinity of the property. Besides, property maps and whatever civic developments the property owner is liable to contribute taxes.

Elevated Imagery Offered at a Lower Cost

The advent of drones has dramatically lowered the expense of shooting elevated imagery with moderately priced models and camera attachments. As for real estate agents, aerial footage is fit for being shown in many more listings irrespective of the price range.

Drones for real estate photography can shoot both videos and stills, which depends on your equipment setup. Moreover, expertise or extensive experience is not a prerequisite for the operation of a drone. Instead, a cool head and a steady hand are enough to create wonderful shots. At the same time, the cost of hiring a professional pilot as the traditional method of using helicopters will be saved.

Raise an Agent’s Profile

Given that over 90% of homebuyers tend to do an online search before paying visits to properties. Therefore, to sell properties fast means making your listings appealing to buyers.

When it comes to selling real estate, videos are usually preferred due to their realistic and illustrative reflection of the property. This kind of media can show people properties from any location in the way that photos cannot. While images can be edited to exaggerate features to deceive buyers, a video can highlight the whole property with all amenities. A fascinating perspective of the surroundings captures from above is now feasible with drones, but impossible with ground photographs.


Drone Real Estate Photography Pricing Level




The larger the property is, the more time you need to spend on the pre-production planning process for drone photography. As a result, the actual cost will be dramatically raised.


Aerial photography can be produced with either a low-cost drone or the one attached with a high-end camera, depending on your affordability. Besides, the cost of editing and post-production motion graphics should be taken into account.


Talented and skillful drone operators are likely to create more impressive listings in comparison with amateur ones. Thus, the cost range varies among different drone operators at different levels.

Suggested Rates


Do it yourself

Drones for real estate photography vary in prices, depending on individual needs. However, you should be ready to spend from $1,000 to $3,500 on a professional-grade ready-to-fly camera drone. It includes a 4K camera, 3-axis gimbal, spare parts together with a hard case for carriage.

Hire a camera drone operator:

  • For weekend hobbyists: The operators are the owners of 10 videos at the most with skills totally self-taught and little editing experience. They use an inexpensive drone with a 1080P camera, so amateurish products are expected. The cost of hiring them is restricted to about $150.
  • For part-time operators: The operators have produced a total of 10-20 high-definition videos with commercial-grade drones (valued between $1,500 and $5,000). They have some remote control experience and photo editing knowledge but not complicated editing equipment. A video of 3-4 minutes is expected to cost you from $150 to $600.
  • For professional operators: As remote control specialists, they have collected a portfolio of more than 25 videos. With the aid of professional-grade drones and sophisticated editing equipment, their experience will not let you down. However, the cost is rather high. A 3-4 minute video is normally charged at $500 to $2,000.
  • For professional operator teams: A team typically consists of a photographer with a professional portfolio and a drone operator specialized in the remote control. They use multiple professional grade drones designed exclusively for both exterior and interior shots. Professional-grade camera for videotaping and sophisticated editing equipment are also available. Invest at least $1,000 and you can create a buzz for listings.

aerial photography drones tips

Tips for Buying a Good Drone

The following part is for real estate agents or sellers who are interested in buying a drone to capture aerial photos and produce videos, with the purpose to make their property listings more appealing. Generally speaking, more costly drones will take better photos and movies, come with more bells while flying for longer distances and duration. However, it is advisable that you make clear about specs to opt-out the best drone for real estate.

1. Purchase Spare Batteries

Like any electronic devices, a drone will soon use up energy. The maximum flight time between charges is confined to about 30 minutes, in case of the best models. Thus, don’t count out the cost of spare batteries when it comes to buying a drone.

2. Go for Brushless Motors

This item usually shows up in any listing available. When compared to brushed motors, brushless ones, though more expensive, provide smoother operation and run for a longer duration. Therefore, there is no need for frequent replacement.

3. Choose the Right Digital Camera

The camera specs decide greatly the quality of the footage. Before the purchase, detect the integrated camera’s photo and video resolution. Many decent-size models offer built-in cameras while some make it possible to attach your camera to the drone. Hence, you can consider affording a camera of your own that can take high-resolution videos and photos.

4. Check the Range

A drone’s range can inform users it is likely to move how far from them before flying out of control. Manufacturers often focus on designing greater ranges in professional-level drones offered at higher expenses. Nevertheless, make sure you can always keep the drone in sight in any case.

5. Go for Headless Mode

Flying a drone should be rather tricky at first, but don’t worry so much. Some models are designed with a headless mode, which means that you consistently press the controller stick in one direction and the drone would fly in that direction relative to you instead of the point that the joystick is heading towards. Certainly, this mode is of much help to beginners.

6. Don’t Forget Integrated GPS

Another innovation that shouldn’t be left out is the integration of GPS in drone models. That function will help the machine define its position in the sky. With the aid of aptly, or return-to-home (RTH), your drone can enhance stability and navigational skills while knowing the way back home. This feature also facilitates the hovering of many drones with GPS in the same place.

7. Consider Follow-Me Mode

As indicated in its name, with the follow-me mode, your drone is able to spot you in the vastness of ground or ocean. As a result, you can wholeheartedly devote your mind to kite surfing or mountain biking without fear of losing track of the aerial pal. It will still follow and record your progress no matter where you are. This advanced function obviously makes the drone operate better and more effectively. Thus, check out with sellers to see whether it works well in real estate photography.

8. Buy a Gimbal

Attached to drones, a gimbal is designed to hold the camera in place regardless of high winds or elevated altitudes. This feature will save you from getting out-of-focus photos due to unwanted turbulence. If you desire to capture the best photos and video footage, a drone enclosed with a gimbal is likely to satisfy your demands.

9. Look for Obstacle Avoidance

The obstacle avoidance feature is certain to make up for its high cost. When the drone flies in the air, the risk of crashes into trees is unavoidable. Thus, to protect the drone and prolong its lifespan, it makes sense that you invest in this feature.

10. Suggested Models

Some brands that incorporate many of those features above are DJI Phantom 4, Yuneec Typhoon H, 3DR Solo, and Blade Nano QX. Search for more information about these models if you are considering the purchase of one.


Regarding the high competitiveness, using drones for real estate photography has become the most popular method of introducing properties on sale. Thus, keeping yourself updated with the latest technology and apply it in real estate marketing are considered the ultimate key to enhancing profits.


For real estate photographers, CubiCasa offers 30% discount of CubiCasa floor plan app. Apply here and claim your benefits!

Author: Aarne Huttunen

Aarne is the Chief Product Officer at CubiCasa. His main priority is to ensure that CubiCasa's users love to use the CubiCasa App and related APIs. Most likely you'll spot him next to a coffee cup in Helsinki or meet him in a conference running a wild scanning demo!

We're building technology to digitize the real estate around us, and while doing it, helping families to find better homes, approve mortgages and renovate their homes. We are located in Oulu, Helsinki, San Jose, and Ho Chi Minh City. Currently we are especially looking for software developers to join our team.

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