5 tips for taking better real estate photos with your drone

Drone use in the real estate business is skyrocketing. The aerial perspective drones offer to help real estate agents sell homes as it gives home buyers an even better view of their future purchase. Taking a high-resolution photo with a drone is not hard as even smaller, more inexpensive drones like the DJI Spark take incredible images. Operators must have careful control over their drone to utilize these high-resolution cameras and take photos that make a home stand out. Now, let’s go over 5 tips to take your drone real estate photography to the next level.

1. Prepare the landscape

No matter what property is being photographed there is always potential objects scattered around the house that will appear distracting in a photo. These include children’s toys, vehicles in the driveway, and construction equipment if a house is still in its final building stages.

Preparation of the landscape should be done before photos are taken to make the house the main focus, not what car the current owner drives. This prep work can make or break the sale of a house and should be done prior to getting your drone up in the air. If you notice something is distracting as you line up the photos, fix it while you can to avoid tedious editing work.

2. Adjust your settings

Drones made by companies like DJI have countless settings that deal with the flight of the aircraft and the operation of the camera. Tweaking the photo settings is a must before going on any shoot, here are a few quick tips when switching things in the DJI Go 4 app.

Shoot your photos in RAW, these file sizes are larger but will give you so much more flexibility when you sit down to edit the photos. If your drone’s camera allows it, change the aspect ratio to 3:2 to take photos at their maximum resolution. If not, 4:3 does the trick. Finally, I would suggest using autofocus. Manual focus is just one more thing to worry about when flying a complicated drone and you could end up with soft images that are not in focus.

3. Utilize intelligent flight modes

Drones of all kinds come with some sort of autonomous flight modes that change the way the aircraft behaves. Using DJI again as an example, try to use intelligent flight modes and experiment with different things. My go-to flight mode is tripod mode, which can be found on most of the drones DJI currently produces. This slows down the top speed on your drone significantly which helps tremendously with lining up shots. There’s no need to be buzzing around a property at top speed.

4. Keep your drone low

A common mistake amongst drone photographers shooting real estate is height. I often times see homes being photographed from high altitudes where the frame is filled with the roof and not the actual house. Taking a photo like this above the property is good to show home buyers what to expect, but all of the other shots should be taken lower to the ground.

The example above is what you shouldn’t do. There is way too much roof showing and not enough of the house itself. This won’t give a potential buyer the correct feel of the home.

This example is much better as the height of the drone is only 20-25 feet high. You’re still able to utilize the drone by shooting from a different vantage point a common DSLR cannot reach, but you are staying low enough to show the house itself, not the roof.

5. Careful editing

I always like to think of photography as 50% shooting and 50% editing. When shooting in RAW, there is so much that can be changed to make a dull image look incredible. For my workflow I like to use Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop, both programs are in a sense the same. Using photo editing software, you can reduce harsh shadows, tweak colors if necessary, and totally change the white balance even after the photo was taken. Here is a before and after of a photo that was taken for one of my clients.

If you are a current or prospective real estate photographer looking to use a drone, following these 5 tips will ensure you take great photos every time. The beauty of photography is that each individual has their own process. With that being said, feel free to let us know down in the comments some of your tips for taking real estate drone photography!


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