How to Make Awesome Money With Real Estate Drone Photography?

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Written By Billy Chan

A drone lover who loves to share everything about drones!

We show you how to get a job, how to make money, and how to gain the skills you need in real estate drone photography.

Selling homes is one of the biggest applications of drone photography and videography. Here’s everything you need to know about real estate drone photography. We walk you through how to get a job, how to make money, and how to get the skills you need.

Table of Contents

#1 What is Real Estate Drone Photography?
#2 Equipment for Real Estate Drone Photography
#3 How Do You Land a Job?
#4 Drone License and Insurance
#5 How To Film Good Real Estate Shots?
#6 Benefits of Drones in Real Estate?

#1 What is Real Estate Drone Photography?

A real estate photographer takes pictures of the outside and inside of a property that is for sale or rent. Many of them now use a drone to take pictures of a property from the air. 

Real estate drone photography is becoming popular for many reasons. From a high vantage point, it is possible to offer viewers a good view of the house and the surrounding area. An increased chance of a sale can result from it.

A drone pilot can be hired to photograph the following property types:

  • Residential properties
    Buildings, communities, and houses.

  • Properties for business purposes
    Hotels, shopping centres, business headquarters, and hotels/facilities.

  • Large plots of land
    Golf courses, ranches and large estates.

#2 Equipment for Real Estate Drone Photography

The higher the price, the better the drone for commercial use. Technically, you can get beautiful shots even with an entry-level drone. Yet, your client will not be thrilled if you take the job with a DJI Mini 2. It’s not about the capacity. It’s about the confidence they have in you.

So, opt for an intermediate level camera drone that costs around $1,000. It will help you start off on the right foot. Here’s a list of features you should look out for:

  • Camera Quality
    A mid to professional-grade camera. Around 12 megapixels and up. The ability to capture raw images is a must. 4K video with a frame rate of at least 30 frames per second. With a built-in gimbal that provides smooth flight and stability for sharp images.

  • Battery
    A residential shoot can last for hours. With most drones, the battery life is around 30 minutes. So make sure you have at least 2 spare batteries.

  • Flight Mode
    If you’re not an experienced flyer, choose a smart drone with automatic flight modes. This will allow you to take great shots with a few clicks.

Best Drones for Real Estate Photography

DJI Mavic Air 2

DJI’s Mavic Air 2 offers a winning combination of great imaging capabilities, stability, and safety features. They make it the best buy under $1,000. It is DJI’s mid-range model in its small, foldable drone series. In addition to 4K and HDR video and crisp, detailed photos, it also offers silky smooth footage.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

If you’re serious, the Mavic 2 Pro, the higher-end model in the Mavic family, should be your better choice. It has the largest image sensor you can get in a small drone.

It has excellent battery life, video quality, and obstacle avoidance performance. The images and video produced by the Pro are superior to footage from other drones. And it does so without sacrificing ease of storage and transport.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

If you’re shooting in a large area or the location is a bit tricky, such as windy. Then you need a more advanced drone like the Phantom series. DJI Phantom 4 Pro detects obstacles accurately in flight. The drone’s camera has also been drastically improved over its predecessor.

The camera can shoot 4K footage at a maximum frame rate of 60fps and shoots 20MP Raw and JPG images. It has a stronger wind resistance that allows you to shoot smoothly in difficult situations.

Be sure to check out our ultimate drone buying guide, which lists all the details you need to know before buying a drone.


PriceWeightFlight TimeCMOS(Larger Better)Video ResPhoto ResObstacleSensing
Mavic Air 2$799570g34mins1/2”4K
Mavic 2 Pro$1599907g31mins1”Hasselblad Camera4K
Phantom 4 Pro$14991388g30mins(Dual Band 7 km video transmission)1”4K

#3 How Do You Land a Job?

“Volunteer” Approach

How can you start your career as a real estate drone photographer? It’s almost impossible for you to land your first client if your portfolio is empty. However, you can use a “volunteer” approach that many of your peers use.

Create Portfolio => Jobs => Raise Price => Better Portfolio

To get started on the right foot, you need to create your portfolio first. Not to find jobs. Not trying to bring home the bacon. Just focus on your portfolio. So you need to film for clients without asking for a penny. You need to take the initiative, knock on everyone’s door and ask to be a volunteer.

To narrow down your target and amplify the result, knock on the doors of real estate agents. If you can nail the big guy, you can add something truly valuable to your portfolio. Trust me. Great jobs are followed by a great portfolio. Then the money will come.

Online Communities

You can find jobs on sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn Jobs, and Glassdoor. Enter your location. Type in “drone pilot” or “drone pilot real estate”.

There are also some sites that list specific drone pilot jobs. Build your network there. Go to DroneBase and

How Much Should You Charge?

You should have heard of professional drone pilots charging more than $200 per hour. Maybe that’s why you’re getting your feet wet. But you also know very well that this is not yet the number you can charge.

The actual service fee you can charge depends on many factors:

  • Location
  • Devices involved
  • Your experience and previous customers
  • The size of your customer’s business

If you are starting your drone career and are confident enough to offer paid services. As a rule of thumb, charge $30 per hour or $150 per project. You can gradually increase your price along with the portfolio you’ve built.

If you want to learn more about how to run a successful drone business, invest a little money. Check out the comprehensive list of the best online drone schools we’ve compiled.

#4 Drone License and Insurance

You need to get a drone licence. But you don’t necessarily need insurance, although getting one is highly recommended.

The FAA requires a pilot certification for anyone doing real estate drone photography. Note that this applies whether you are doing it for money or not.

To receive a certificate, you must pass the FAA’s test at a testing centre. You can read our complete guide to getting a drone licence plus tips on passing the exam. It also gives you ideas on how to get insurance for your commercial flight.

#5 How To Film Good Real Estate Shots?

Drone cameras can capture photos and videos. They can also capture maps that clearly show the advantage of the location. And 360-degree panoramic pans.


Real estate agents typically need 10 aerial photos from which to choose. You can get a great view from 30 to 70 feet up. One tip is to take pictures from the corner of the property to get a three-dimensional view of the property. 

Drone photography is in high demand. Especially for property acquisitions, building renovations or construction projects. Clients include commercial real estate agents, real estate investment firms and development companies. 

Aerial photography can survey large properties by providing additional insight. It is possible to capture the entire site in one image by stitching multiple photos together. A massive and cohesive image that contains more detail.


One thing that makes drone footage stand out is that you can tell a compelling story by using cinematic reveals, slides, pans, orbits, and blast off shots.


The 360-degree panorama is another tool commonly used in virtual tours. Drones in one location rotate and tilt the camera while capturing overlapping images. These images can then be combined using special software. The viewing experience is as if you were sitting inside the drone and could look around the entire area.


Nice weather makes real estate images look even better. A calm, clear day is less risky for drone operations. Take the weather forecast into account when planning your shoot.


When a potential renter or buyer is looking for a home, they will have different criteria. A property’s location, such as near parks or cafes, adds to its appeal in this regard. When it comes to drone photography, don’t forget to include amenities.

They want to know what kind of neighbourhood they will be moving into. The drone’s altitude can be used to showcase attractive aspects of a location above eye level.

Especially if the property is near a shrubbery, take photos that reflect the surroundings. If the property is in a suburb, try to take as many pictures of the neighbourhood from above as you can.

The Basics

The principles of photography on the ground also apply to photography from the air. Incorporate elements such as leading lines, the rule of thirds, colour, contrast, pattern, and diagonals into your design. We’ve put together a training guide on flying a drone and creating great shots that will help you.

#6 Benefits of Drones in Real Estate?


Drone images can show the location of the property by showing nearby attractions, amenities, parks, airports, etc. The viewer experience is much better than a plain Google Map.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Photos are one of the most important elements when selling a home. Generally, real estate agents take these shots while standing in a driveway, yard, or backyard. Yet, these mediocre pictures will only get you so far.

Aerial photos can give buyers an accurate and cool picture of the property. Most importantly, it; can be aesthetically stunning.


The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) points out that drones are the new norm in real estate. Innovative companies are using them to attract clients. That’s because drone imagery not only provides great visuals but also tells a great story.

Drone footage with professional editing and cinematic music can make the ad look like a movie trailer. Who wouldn’t want to be a protagonist in a movie?

Drone Closes the Deal

RISMedia has calculated that the use of drones could increase listings by up to 73% and closings by up to 68%. Agents could see tens of thousands in revenue per year by using drones. According to Sold by Air, “83% of home sellers prefer working with an agent who uses drones.”

Companies using drones for real estate:

  • RE/MAX
  • Century 21
  • Keller Williams
  • Coldwell Banker
  • Avanti Properties Group
  • Goodman Real Estate

#7 What to Do Next?

Are you ready to bring home the bacon with your drone, but need more confidence? Check out the best online drone schools we’ve compiled to take your drone skills and business to the next level!

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