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  • Writer's pictureJustin Holmes

Why Realtors Need To Hire A Drone Pilot

Before you add drone photography to your real estate marketing mix, it is important to consider how you might go about capturing those aerial images for your customers. Do you simply buy a drone and shoot them yourself? Or do you look to a drone photography service to get the job done? Perhaps your best bet is to hire a professional real estate photographer who offers drone services. Read on for three reasons why.


The not-so-professional approach


Surely you have seen them: poorly framed pictures and amateur shaky-cam video clips. From family photos to vlog videos and anything in between, a camera in untrained hands will usually yield less-than-desired results. That may be okay for a family photo album or a vlogger’s fifteen followers. Not a great idea when it comes to assembling an assortment of real estate strategies to market a property.


Oh sure, advances in technology have made it easier to get quality images from a digital camera or even a mobile phone. The new iPhone 12 Pro Max, for example, boasts a 2.5x zoom lens, 12-megapixel resolution, 4K video quality, and LiDAR scanner. Many smartphones today, including the iPhone, also include image stabilization to aid with steadier image capture.


And yet, there are plenty of property listings filled with pictures that look like they have been taken by a child who did not bother to clean up his room, let alone figure out how to properly light and frame a photo. Having capable camera equipment is only one piece of the photographic pie. Other slices include the time it takes to learn the craft and work each photoshoot (not to mention editing the videos and pictures after the fact), along with the talent needed to produce top-notch results.


So, real estate agents have two general options for photography. Those who have the time and talent to achieve professional results – and who have a desire to provide their own photography services – can go the do-it-yourself route. Others will opt to contract with a professional real estate photography service.

What about drones?


When it comes to drone photography, agents face a similar choice.


Offering drone photos and videos to your customers does a few things. First of all, bird’s-eye views of a property add a unique perspective to a listing. They give prospective buyers a look at features that cannot be viewed from the ground, such as the roof or the chimney. Large properties or wooded lots often cannot be seen in their entirety without aerial images. Drones can solve that problem.

Next, drones allow you to add other unique elements to a listing. You can take your buyers on an aerial tour of local hotspots or area attractions. You can fly them over their child’s path to the neighborhood school or park. You can show them comparable listings or properties that have recently been sold.


Finally, drone photography becomes for you a powerful marketing tool to help your business stand out. Along with other strategies you might offer – an exceptional print advertising campaign, 3D virtual tours, and walkthrough video services, for example – drone photography helps you to build and improve your brand identity.


But the question remains: who performs your drone photography?

The case for contracting a professional real estate photographer

Two things are true: drone technology is improving, and drone prices have been falling. Those two truths can make it awfully appealing to invest in drones for your real estate business. But is that the best choice for your business?


Maybe the answer is yes. But if you are unsure whether you should go it alone or hire a professional, consider the benefits of a professional real estate photographer who offers drone services. Any professional drone photographer for real estate should…


  1. Be licensed and insured. While the use of a drone does not require a commercial pilot’s license, in order to pilot a drone for commercial purposes, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that drone operators be certified under FAA Part 107. It is also important that a drone operator be insured. Drones can crash and cause damage or injury. A drone pilot should be insured and be able to show proof of insurance.

  2. Have an eye for real estate photography. There are a lot of drone operators these days, both professionals and hobbyists. Many are quite skilled. But having the skill to operate a drone does not immediately equate to having the ability to take quality pictures and videos from that drone, let alone having a keen eye for the unique needs of real estate photography. Make sure that any drone service you consider is able to provide a portfolio of real estate photographs for you to evaluate.

  3. Offer additional services. A real estate photographer who offers drone services (as opposed to a drone operator who takes pictures) can often provide an array of related services, such as digital editing and twilight photography. To maximize the benefits of a partnership with a real estate photographer, look for a business that can also help you with 3D home tours, HDR listing photography, virtual staging, print and design services, and more.


If you are going to add drone photography services to the list of real estate marketing strategies you offer your clients, you have a choice to make. Either you purchase a drone and learn how to fly it, get licensed and insured, practice shooting pictures and video, and become proficient with digital editing tools yourself, or you hire someone else to do it for you.


For most agents, a relationship with a professional real estate photographer is the answer.

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