The Ultimate Guide for Real Estate Drone Video and Editing (2024 Guide)

Without the right skills, your shots may turn out shaky, blurry, or show unflattering angles of the property. Mastering real estate drone photography and videography takes practice, yet it's worth the investment for stunning, engaging marketing materials. In this guide, you'll learn the proper techniques for drone technology and editing tips for real estate marketing.

Drone Techniques for Real Estate Video

When shooting real estate drone videos, you need to prepare your drone and camera, set the scene by scouting locations, shoot in RAW format, and adjust the drone settings. Using natural lighting, taking strategic aerial shots from vantage points, capturing diverse angles and perspectives, and highlighting the property's unique features is ideal.

Imagine looking at a property from a vantage point tens of feet in the air. This is why drone photography using a flying camera is a refreshing sight. Real estate photos, videos, and editing have opened doors for properties that have a view to die for.

Chart listing the different drone techniques

As drone shots and photos make waves in the real estate scene, the more creative and interactive you are, the better the user experience will be. Such quality in aerial photography will eventually lead to satisfaction and sales.

With this, you should practice real estate photography and drone editing with the utmost excellence and the right equipment.

Prepare Your Drone Camera and Accessories

The photography market offers tons of options when it comes to drones. Some allow cameras and mobile phones to be mounted, while others provide a built-in camera for a safer option.

Drone flying in the air

  • Be critical of your equipment, and opt for high-resolution cameras to shoot captivating images with the best angles.
  • Consider the battery life of your hardware so you don’t run into its crash point.
  • Bring accessories like neutral density filters to counter harsh light entering the lens.

Set the Scene

About 86% of homebuyers use aerial videos to learn more about the neighborhood they’re considering moving to. Aerial photography and real estate drone photography can capture a lot of nasty surprises from a bird's eye view. Be sure to clean, prepare, and set up the property before taking test photos.

  • Clean up and organize the property: Remove any clutter from the yard, driveway, or roof. Put away gardening tools, toys, furniture, and other everyday objects that could detract from the home's aesthetics.
  • Time the shoot carefully: Early morning often works best when the streets are empty, and the lighting is soft. For beachfront properties, research when the beach will be least crowded.
  • Prep the landscaping: Mow the lawn, trim bushes, and take other measures to make the greenery look lush and vibrant.
  • Scout locations and angles ahead of time: Identify optimal camera positions to highlight the home's best features and surroundings.

Shoot in RAW

RAW shots in drone photography retain more image data than compressed formats like JPG. This gives you more flexibility for color correction, exposure adjustments, and other editing work in post-production.

  • The extra data in RAW allows you to recover more details from shadows and highlights. This helps compensate for challenging lighting situations.
  • You can process RAW drone images multiple times with no loss of quality. This lets you create different style variations to suit client preferences.
  • RAW files take up more storage space but preserve maximum image quality. Be sure your memory cards can handle the larger photography file sizes.
  • Popular photo editors like Lightroom and Photoshop provide full support for developing RAW videos into polished, professional photos and videos ready for real estate listings.

Adjust the Drone Settings

The image quality of real estate drone photography depends on the camera settings. 

  • Shooting mode: Shoot photos in manual mode to have full control over exposure settings. You can also take advantage of intelligent flight modes like First Person View (FPV) or Heads Free that allow smoother, more controlled movements.
  • Color profile: Shoot in the LOG color profile for dynamic range.
  • Resolution: Set the maximum resolution to 4K for maximum quality. Lower the resolution if you have limited storage.
  • Aspect ratio: Set the camera aspect ratio to 3:2 or 4:3 to get maximum image resolution in your drone images.
  • Focus: Autofocus is generally ideal, so the camera automatically keeps the property sharply in focus as you maneuver the camera.
  • Aperture: An aperture of f/5.6 is a good range for real estate photography. This provides enough sharpness throughout the scene while allowing some depth of field separation.
  • Shutter speed: Motion blur is among the common challenges encountered in drone technology. Solve this by using a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second or faster.
  • ISO: To minimize noise and grain in videos, use the lowest native ISO setting of drone cameras, which is typically around 100 to 200.
  • White balance: Set the White Balance to the appropriate preset based on lighting conditions, especially when it's sunny or cloudy. We recommend using the Custom setting for the most accurate colors.

Overview shot of the cityscape taken through a drone

Use Natural Light

Lighting conditions significantly influence how your aerial photos and videos will look.

  • Noon sunlight from overhead minimizes shadows, making it ideal for low-angle and top-down shots. Use ND filters to control the amount of light entering the camera lens.
  • The golden hour lighting around sunrise and sunset creates a dramatic, warm ambiance. Beware of the long shadows cast, which can obscure details. About 74% of real estate agents prefer twilight or sunset drone photos and videos.
  • Scout before shooting to determine the optimal times of day for lighting different portions of the house.
  • Diffused, overcast lighting reduces harsh shadows and glare.
  • Schedule photography shoots around dawn or dusk for the magical lighting. Limit long shadows by angling drone images away from the low sun.

Take Strategic Vantage Shots

Variety in angles and perspectives makes drone videos and photos truly shine. Dynamic videos require shooting more than just generic, expected angles. To succeed in aerial photography, you'll need to showcase the space from the best angles.

  • Mind the distance: Hovering the drone around 20 feet high allows you to strike a balance between showing the overall scope and highlighting intricate details. Vary height and angle to showcase all facets of the home and yard.
  • Explore varying perspectives: Go beyond your standard photography shots and choose a different perspective. Try to fly closer and do a slow zoom to capture exterior details.
  • Shoot a variety of angles: Capture wide shots, close-ups, straight-on angles, diagonal angles, and floor-level vantage points.
  • Capture details: Incorporate leading lines to identify the most eye-catching areas like the backyard, pool, rooftop deck, or nicely landscaped sections.
  • Include the surroundings: Provide aerial views of nearby homes, streets, green spaces, and other surroundings to give potential buyers a feel for the neighborhood setting and community.

Editing Tips for Real Estate Drone Photography

When it comes to editing drone photography, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop work well for processing drone photos.

  • Learn the tools of your chosen editing software inside and out for the best results.
  • Some potential clients may want brightly saturated and vivid colors in their photos. Others prefer a more muted, natural look.
  • Discuss your client's desired photography editing style to ensure videos match their vision.
  • Proper editing can truly make your house stand out and excite buyers.

Real Estate Marketing Using Real Estate Videos

Real estate photography and videography contribute to the success of most marketing campaigns or listings. Clips and photos gain a return on investment by making real estate properties sell at speedy rates.

According to MLS, homes with aerial photos and videos sell around 68% faster. Here's how a real estate agent can use drone videos for real estate marketing to sell more.

Play in Social Media

People love good videos and photos, especially if they spell quality audio and visuals. Having such in the context of real estate can help people see the house and its peripherals, meaning the neighborhood it belongs to or the natural scenic areas they are surrounded by.

Man holding a drone on a field

Use It as a B-Roll

Many photographers will understand the value of b-rolls, which can bring the same immense impact to real estate photography and aerial image editing. B-rolls are snippets or clips that act as introductory videos or fillers to incorporate a creative spark.

Procedures to Take Before Shooting Real Estate Drone Videos

Drone airspace is relatively free for everyone to use, although there could be restrictions depending on where you go to take photos and videos.

  • Obtain your FAA Part 107 remote pilot certificate to fly drones for commercial work in the US legally.
  • Register your drones with the FAA and affix the registration number visibly on the aircraft. This is mandatory for every commercial drone.
  • Purchase hull insurance and liability insurance to protect yourself financially in case of accidents while photographing high-value real estate.
  • Research local and state ordinances that may impact real estate drone photography, like needing owner permission for aerial shots.

Some local laws have no-fly zones. When flying drones to photograph properties:

  • Do not operate near airports, airfields, or aircraft.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 150 feet from people and structures when possible for privacy and safety.
  • Adhere to a 400-foot altitude maximum for drones under most circumstances.
  • Follow other applicable drone laws in your specific location.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can Real Estate Agents Take Good Drone Videos?

To take good drone videos, choose drones with stabilization and high-quality videography capabilities, scout locations beforehand, and use smooth flying techniques. You also need to capture a variety of angles and perspectives, adjust settings for proper exposure, and use editing software to polish and enhance the footage and photos.

How Are Drones Used in Real Estate Photography?

In real estate photography, you can use drones to photograph properties from aerial perspectives. Drone videos showcase 360 views, flyovers, and unique vantage points, so real estate agents can give potential buyers a comprehensive view of the home, neighborhood, and surrounding features.

What Is the Best Setting for Drone Photography in Real Estate?

The best drone photography settings for real estate include using the lowest ISO and shooting in a LOG color profile for dynamic range. It also helps to set shutter speeds to 1/200 and select aperture values from f/5.6 to f/11 for good sharpness and depth of field.

What Is the Best Drone for Viewing a Property?

The DJI Mavic 3 is one of the best drones for real estate videography because of its long battery life, obstacle avoidance, and 4K videography capabilities. We like the Mavic 3 due to its Hasselblad camera, stabilized gimbal, and quiet propellers for smooth, cinematic videos.

Final Thoughts

Learning real estate drone techniques opens up new creative possibilities for videos that capture properties in unique, dynamic ways. With the right skills and preparation, real estate photography professionals can produce polished drone videos that captivate buyers. Invest time practicing drone flying and videography to take your real estate videos to new heights.

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