5 Aerial Photography Tips for Real Estate Agents

Quadcopter coming in for a landing

1. Why use aerial photography?

“Aerial photography is another way to showcase the best features and benefits of your listing,” says Mediamax Senior Photographer John Koliopoulos. Instead of just the standard front façade, buyers get to see the “big picture” – the backyard, the siting of the home, the view. It also works well for construction sites and developments, Koliopoulos says, allowing you to show the layout of a site, for instance. Think of aerial photography as a value-add, just like HDRs and Twilights, he says.

2. How do I know my listing is a good candidate for aerial?

A small house on a small city lot probably isn’t. But properties with some open space are great candidates for aerial, says Koliopoulos. If you’re not sure, ask your photographer for advice. Aerial photography helps you showcase the whole space, as well as features like barns, ponds, etc. If there’s a stunning view behind the home that street-level photography would otherwise miss or wouldn’t do justice to, add aerial photography to whet buyers’ appetites. It’s also a great way to showcase unique features. For instance, a client recently ordered aerials to show a listing’s roof-mounted solar panels.

3. Couldn’t I get the photos you’re talking about from Google Earth?

No, says Koliopoulos. In fact, the best aerial photographs aren’t taken straight down, like Google Earth or Google Maps photos, but from an angle similar to what you’d see from a tall ladder (taller than you’d want to climb, to be sure). It’s an elevated view just high enough to pique buyers’ interest and showcase the property’s attractive features. But it’s not so high that the property becomes just another roof in a sea of roofs. Google’s photos are “not attractive for real estate,” says Koliopoulos. For best results, get aerial photos from a professional photographer created specifically for your listing.

4. What about FAA regulations? I’ve heard they’re in flux.

That’s right. The FAA has yet to finalize rules for the commercial use of what many call “drones” but we prefer quadcopters, RCMAs or UAVs. Professional photographers are keeping close tabs on FAA rulemaking but most feel confident they can operate safely and legally under current rules governing model aircraft. Meanwhile, the insurance industry isn’t waiting for the FAA, so photographers can get insurance. Any professional who’s made a serious commitment to aerial photography should be insured, so be sure to ask before you hire someone.

5. Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper if I did it myself?

Likely, all you have to worry about with do-it-yourself listing photos is bad pictures. But what about DIY aerials? Should you draft your teenage nephew to buzz your listings with that quadcopter he got for Christmas? How would your sellers feel about that? Make sure you hire a professional photographer to take your aerials. You’ll get excellent photographs that’ll wow your sellers as well as buyers. Professional aerial photographers have invested in the right equipment and the time to master it, which is considerable. For a pro, it’s his/her reputation on the line. Getting the shot safely is as important as getting it at all.

Mediamax now has four photographers ready to provide you with the professional aerial images including Senior Photographers John Koliopoulos and Jeff Perry, our newest team member Dale Honning and me. Whether you need aerial stills or aerial video, we’ve got you covered. Order Aerial Photography by Mediamax today.