Essential Tips to Plan Your Drone Real Estate Shoot for Maximum Profit


Essential Tips to Plan Your Drone Real Estate Shoot for Maximum Profit

Flying a drone for fun is one thing; using a drone in real estate marketing is a completely different story. To make the most out of your drone or in order to start a reliable, profitable business, you should plan every drone real estate shoot carefully. From a pre-flight checklist and essential equipment to post-processing, editing, and delivery – here’s how to plan your drone real estate shoots for maximum profit.

Be Legal and Follow All Guidelines:

It all begins with one question – can drones be incorporated legally into business activities and if so, what steps do real estate photographers have to undertake? Before you can even get off the ground to shoot a real estate property, you will need either FAA 333 Exemption or a Part 107 license. Do not fly commercial drones without one of these certifications – not only are you at risk of FAA fines, but it’s also unprofessional and can land you in a lot of trouble.

In order to become a certified drone pilot, you should be at least 16 years old, be able to read, speak, write, and understand English, be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a drone, and pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.

A professional drone pilot should also carry insurance, have at least a few months of experience, use up-to-date equipment, and be aware of the latest drone news and rules.

A List of Essential Equipment:

• Drones and batteries (it’s always a good idea to have at least two drones in case one of them breaks down)
• A reliable transportation
• Hiking gear
• A backpack for your equipment

Pre-flight Checklist:

• Make sure you know where the place is located; ideally, you should know how to get to the property and how long it will take before you leave your home or office.
• Use Google Earth to find the positive features of the property that should be highlighted during the shoot such as ponds, streams, rivers, cliffs, etc.
• Charge the batteries, pack all the equipment
• Ask the property owner about the latest infrastructure improvements like houses, pools, barns, etc. and find them on the map
• Print out a hardcopy flight plan map on a single page with a property line. Use a Sharpie to mark the proposed areas of interest beforehand
• Plan out your ground route travel
• Check the weather for that location
• Take a few SD cards

During The Flight:

Once you packed, checked, and double-checked everything, it’s time to fly. Give yourself plenty of time to get there and always keep in touch with your clients. Upon arrival, find the property owner if they are at home, introduce yourself, and let them know that you are starting to shoot. It is also a good idea to show them your flight plan map and ask them a few questions about the property – chances are, there are even more interesting areas of their property that you could highlight from the sky.

During the shoot, try to mix things up by capturing riser shots, vertical descents and left to right alternating sweeps, but don’t forget that smooth, slow transitions are essential. Check out our other pro tips below to create a perfect real estate aerial video.

Pro Tips For Beginners:

• Shoot long, steady shots
• Use a drone with a gimbal to keep the camera steady
• Follow the 10-second rule: when you are done shooting the video, don’t stop filming immediately. Instead, count to 10 and only then hit the stop button
• Keep practicing - it’s best to create the same clip a couple of times, so you can choose the best one later
• Use the wind - allowing the drone to move naturally usually improves the quality of footage
• Always have a plan and set deadlines since drone flying time is limited (usually around 10-20 minutes). Knowing what you’d like to photograph or film before the shoot will help you to make the most out of the available shooting time
• Record video in 10 to 20-second segments
• At the end of the project, verify you have covered all the areas of interest on your flight plan map
• Use a new MicroSD card for each project and copy all video and photos to a laptop for safekeeping


Once you are home, download all media to your video editing workstation. It’s especially important if you have a few shots in one day. Then, rename each scene. Your goal is to choose about 15 to 20 best scenes and string them together to create a short yet effective story that highlights positive property aspects. The perfect length of the video should be between 1 and 3 minutes. For the best results, utilize smooth transition techniques between scenes and add some nice and quiet copyright-free music playing in the background if that’s what your client wants.

Deliver and Get Paid:

When you are done with editing, copy both videos and the folder with the 50+ high-resolution photos to a USB drive you can hand deliver to the client. Using the USB drive is more effective than a low-quality YouTube video that can give your clients a bad first impression of your work. You can also deliver content through via downloads. Collect money only after you have delivered a successful aerial video to a satisfied client. It’s ok to give the real estate agent or homeowner a week or two to pay you.

Aerial photos and videos add a cool touch to any real estate listing, attract more serious homebuyers, and directly influence the price of the property, but only if you follow all the rules and take your drone business seriously. Use this handy guide to plan, get ready for your shoot, and get the most out of your drone.