There are many different moving parts when it comes to starting your own real estate drone photography business. If you buy a drone and try to go out and get clients right away, chances are you will come back with nothing. Real estate drone photography and videography is a competitive industry and requires careful planning and branding to achieve success.
How do you start a real estate drone photography business? From figuring out your branding and legalities to figuring out pricing and marketing tactics, a drone real estate business requires more than just a drone and some cool shots. You need things like a quality camera for stills, a Flysight Monitor, an Osmo, and so much more. You also have to offer a variety of services to compete with other drone businesses.
Throughout this complete guide to starting a real estate drone photography business, you will learn all you need to know to get started and all the tools it takes to run a successful business.
What You Need To Get Started
So you want to start a real estate drone photography business, but you are unsure of where to start. Before you trek down the long and unforgiving path of starting and running your own business, you must first be familiar with drones and drone photography & videography. You can plan until you are blue in the face, but if you don’t have the skillset to match, your business will go nowhere.
The Money Maker:
There are countless drones on the market, but you will need a drone that has a quality camera on it. Some drones come with a camera that is better for still photography, while others have a camera that is amazing for videography.
A few things to look for in the drone you’re purchasing:
- The size of the sensor in the camera
- The resolution of stills and video
- Whether or not the drone has a stabilizer
There are drones that shoot stills in 4K, but when it comes to video, the shots come out shaky with poor quality because the resolution for video is lower than standard or the drone doesn’t have a quality stabilizer on it.
It is recommended to have two separate drones; one drone that specifically shoots still photos, and another that specifically shoots video. This will ensure that you stay organized on the job and always get enough shots before going home to start post-work, but it will also ensure you are using the best quality drone for each stills and video.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a popular choice among real estate drone photographers. It features four propellers, fixed legs, and a camera hanging from a gimbal on the undercarriage of the drone. One of the coolest things about this drone is the fact that it has a 5.5-inch 1080p resolution screen directly on the remote. This allows you to see exactly what you are getting, even on the sunniest of days. It is basically a small tablet running Android software without the app store.
The camera on the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is spectacular. It features a 1-inch image sensor that shoots 20-megapixel stills with 11.6 stops of range. It has an 84-degree field of view, which is a bit narrower than the Phantom 4 whose field of view is 94-degrees. If you prefer wider shots that you have the option to crop later, you may want the Phantom 4 rather than the Pro version.
Nonetheless, its 25-minute battery life and multiple speed settings make this drone perfect for real estate drone photography professionals.
Alongside your drone or drones, you will need a few other pieces of equipment to run a successful business. Apart from any carrying cases, batteries, and essential lens cleaners or replacement propellers, you will need things like:
- A still photography camera:
- This doesn’t have to be extremely expensive or high-quality because most of your shots will be done with your drones, but it is always nice to have a small digital camera at your disposal. These specifically come in handy if the realtor grants you a walkthrough of the property beforehand because you can easily document the flow of the walkthrough to use for reference when putting together the order of events in your video.
- An Osmo:
- The DJI Osmo is another device that is extremely helpful for this industry because it gives you a perspective you can’t get with your drones. The Osmo provides smooth shots if you want to hold the camera and walk at the same time.
- A Flysight Monitor
- Investing in a Flysight Monitor for your business will allow you to fully record flight data. It features a matte display for easy viewing as well as a sunshade and dual antenna receiver. It is perfect in aiding your cinematic shots.
- ND Filters
- These filters reduce highlights in shots and are perfect for bright days. They also protect your lens in the process.
- Points of Redundancy
- Back-up batteries, SD cards, cables, remotes, blades, and filters are essential because you never know when something will fail.
Mastering Cinematic Movements:
Mastering all the different types of cinematic shots will increase your value tremendously. The more shots you master, the more diverse your videos will be, and the more you can charge the realtors you are shooting for.
The different cinematic shots include:
- The upper reveal:
- The rotating upper reveal
- The rotating lower reveal
- The half-moon shot
- The de-elevating lower reveal
- The obstacle shot
- The obstacle tilting reveal
It is important to note that the more you practice, the better you will be. It is crucial to practice these shots in different wind conditions as well. You should be able to execute these shots in up to 25 mph winds, but it isn’t recommended you try this until you have at least 100 hours of flight time.
Use these shots as guidelines, but let your creativity flow. The obstacle shots will be difficult at first, but if you can master them, it will take your real estate drone business to the next level.
Once you acquire the equipment and skill set needed to run your own real estate drone photography business, you can focus on things like a business plan and pricing. Owning a business is more than just a catchy name. You have to create a brand for yourself, which means you also have to understand how realtors do business. In order to be successful in this industry, you have to stand out from the rest. The question is how do you do this?
Hal SimmonsWhen I first started flying drones I was always afraid of damaging my drone. I would always be thinking what if. I questioned myself often and as a result it made me question various aspects of flying drones. In the process I learned a lot. This is why I feel I have a lot of information that will be helpful to beginners and intermediate drone enthusiasts. Of course I still have a lot to learn so join me on this journey and I am sure you will enjoy the adventure ahead of us.
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