April 30, 2023

How To Start A Drone Real Estate Photography Business

Drones have transformed the way we capture images and videos, especially in the real estate industry. If you're a drone pilot with a Part 107 certification, you have the unique opportunity to turn your passion into a profitable side hustle with drone real estate photography. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore what it entails and outline the steps to build a successful business around it.

What is Drone Real Estate Photography?

Drone real estate photography is a lucrative business for pilots to offer


Drone real estate photography is the practice of capturing aerial images and videos of properties using drones. These images and videos provide potential buyers with a unique perspective, showcasing the property's layout, features, and surrounding areas. By offering aerial real estate photography, you'll help real estate agents, homeowners, and developers create captivating marketing materials that can enhance property listings and attract more buyers.

Benefits of Drone Real Estate Photography

Before diving into the business aspects, let's explore the benefits of drone real estate photography, which will give you a better understanding of why it's such a sought-after service.

Unique Perspectives

Aerial real estate photography offers a bird's-eye view of properties, giving potential buyers a better understanding of the property's layout, size, and features. This unique perspective can be a game-changer in the competitive real estate market. Many prospective buyers research houses online on websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin. Having aerial photos of a property can give buyers a better perspective of the neighborhood and other unique features.


Compared to traditional aerial photography methods, such as hiring helicopters or planes, drone real estate photography is more affordable and accessible. This cost-effectiveness makes it an attractive option for real estate agents and property owners.

Faster Turnaround Times

Drones can quickly capture high-quality images and videos, reducing the time it takes to produce marketing materials for properties. This allows real estate agents to list properties faster and streamline their marketing efforts. A typical turn around can be a few days to a week from hiring a drone pilot, to capturing the aerial photos, to editing and delivery.

Starting Your Drone Real Estate Photography Business: Essential Steps

Now that you understand the benefits of drone real estate photography, let's delve into the steps required to start a successful business.

Market research is an essential part of understanding the best types of aerial photography to offer real estate agents in your local area

Research the Market

Before launching your drone real estate photography business, it's crucial to research your local market. Identify your target client, such as real estate agents or property developers. Residential real estate agents assemble the marketing material for selling single family homes. Commercial real estate agents focus on commercial properties and developments. Focusing on a single type of real estate (residential vs. commercial) is important as you pursue your business. Analyze your competition and identify any gaps in their services that you can fill. This research typically includes reviewing real estate listings and noting trends with the types of aerial images and editing techniques that are used. In some markets, the use of aerial photography is included on every residential property listing above a certain price point. In other markets, aerial photos may not be used at all. This will help you understand your market's needs and tailor your offerings accordingly.

Develop a Business Plan

A solid business plan is the foundation of any successful venture. Outline your goals, target audience, pricing structure, and marketing strategies. Consider offering various drone real estate photography pricing services to accommodate different budgets and property types. These services can include aerial photos, editing services, aerial video, or even 360 degree panoramas.

Choose Your Niche

Focusing on a specific niche within drone real estate photography can help you stand out from the competition. This could include residential, commercial, or luxury properties. By specializing in a particular niche, you can better cater to your target client's needs and establish yourself as an expert in that area.

Invest in High-Quality Equipment

A drone pilot's equipment, including a high-quality drone, camera, and accessories


To deliver professional results, invest in reliable equipment, such as a high-quality drone, camera, extra batteries, and necessary accessories. Additionally, invest in image editing software to enhance your photos and make them stand out.

Generally, the best drone for real estate photography is the one you already have.

Obtain Necessary Licenses and Insurance

As a drone pilot, you'll need to have your Part 107 certification to operate commercially. Additionally, check your local regulations for any other permits or licenses required for drone real estate photography. It's also wise to obtain drone insurance to protect your business and your clients in case of accidents or damage.

Build Your Portfolio

Building a portfolio of the types of properties you're focused on can help get new clients

Before approaching potential clients, create a compelling portfolio that demonstrates your drone real estate photography skills. Include a variety of property types, such as residential, commercial, and luxury properties. A well-rounded portfolio will showcase your versatility and expertise, making it easier to attract clients.

Set Your Pricing

Drone real estate photography pricing can vary based on factors like property size, location, and the level of editing required. Research your competition's pricing and develop a strategy that's competitive yet profitable. Offer different pricing packages based on the services provided, such as basic, premium, and luxury packages.

Market Your Business

Effective marketing is essential for growing your drone real estate photography business. Utilize various marketing channels, including social media, local advertising, and online real estate forums. Network with local real estate agents, property managers, and developers to build relationships and generate referrals. There are many types of drone real estate marketing outreach methods that you can implement.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Exceptional customer service is crucial for building a successful drone real estate photography business. Be responsive, punctual, and professional in all your interactions. Go above and beyond to exceed client expectations, and don't forget to ask for referrals and testimonials to help grow your business.

Stay Updated on Industry Trends and Regulations

As a drone real estate photography professional, it's vital to stay updated on the latest industry trends, technology, and regulations. Regularly research new drone models, camera equipment, and editing techniques to ensure you're offering the best services possible. In addition, keep up with FAA regulations to ensure you're always operating within the law.

Expanding Your Business: Additional Services and Opportunities

As your business grows, consider expanding your services to increase revenue and diversify your offerings. Here are some ideas on how to make money with drones:

Aerial Mapping and 3D Modeling

Offer aerial mapping and 3D modeling services to create detailed property models for architects, urban planners, and construction companies.

Video Production

Provide professional video editing and production services to create captivating property tour videos for real estate agents and developers.

Drone Inspections

Perform drone inspections for roof and building assessments, allowing property owners and managers to identify potential issues without the need for costly and time-consuming manual inspections. This can be a great way to expand into a high-volume and lucrative industry. We've detailed getting your first drone roof inspection jobs in an article showing how a pilot earned $450 in a single afternoon.


Launching a drone real estate photography business can be a rewarding and profitable side hustle for Part 107 certified drone pilots. By following this comprehensive guide, you'll be well on your way to establishing a successful enterprise in this thriving industry.

Remember, success in this business requires dedication, professionalism, and a commitment to providing exceptional service. As you grow your business, continue to refine your skills, invest in the latest equipment, and adapt to industry trends to stay ahead of the competition.

Turn your passion into profit with a drone real estate photography business

Ready to turn your passion for drone photography into a profitable business? Get started today by following the steps outlined in this guide, and soon you'll be capturing breathtaking aerial shots while growing a successful business in this exciting industry.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your fellow drone pilots and aspiring drone real estate photographers. And if you have any questions or tips to share, feel free to leave a comment below. We'd love to hear about your experiences in the drone real estate photography business.

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