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Maximizing Real Estate Listings with Expert Drone Photography: A Guide for Agents

aerial view of rural home and driveway

In the dynamic world of real estate, captivating aerial imagery has become a cornerstone for showcasing properties. Integrating drone photography into your marketing strategy as a real estate agent can significantly elevate your listings, offering potential buyers a unique perspective and a comprehensive view of the property. However, the key to reaping the benefits of drone imagery lies in choosing the right drone pilot.

Here’s a guide to help you vet potential drone pilots effectively.

1. Certification and Compliance

Start by ensuring the drone pilot is FAA-certified. In the U.S., commercial drone pilots must have a Remote Pilot Certificate under the FAA's Part 107 regulation. This certification is not just a formality; it demonstrates the pilot's understanding of airspace regulations, safety practices, and operational requirements. Verify their certification and inquire about their understanding of local airspace restrictions, especially in areas with complex regulations like the Willamette Valley, Oregon, known for its proximity to multiple airports.

2. Portfolio and Experience

Experience matters. Review the pilot's portfolio to assess their expertise in real estate photography. Look for variety in their work – different property types, landscapes, and architectural styles. Please pay attention to how well they capture the essence of each property and the surrounding area. An experienced drone pilot should provide a compelling narrative of the property, showcasing its best features from angles that ground-level photography can't achieve.

aerial photo of a home
Aerial photos show a dramatic view of the property in context with its surroundings.

3. Equipment and Capabilities

The quality of the drone and camera significantly affects the final output. Inquire about the type of drone and camera the pilot uses. Look for high-resolution cameras capable of capturing 4K video and high-quality stills. Additionally, consider their ability to shoot in various lighting conditions crucial for capturing properties at their most appealing times, like the golden hour.

4. Insurance and Liability

Ensure the drone pilot has liability insurance specifically for drone operations. This is crucial to protect yourself and the property owner from potential damages or accidents during the shoot. A professional drone operator should have no issue providing proof of insurance.

5. Communication and Professionalism

Effective communication is critical. The pilot should be able to understand your specific needs and translate them into stunning visuals. Their professionalism extends beyond flying skills; it includes punctuality, responsiveness, and the ability to work under varying conditions.

6. Creativity and Customization

Each property is unique, and the drone footage should reflect this. A skilled drone pilot can offer creative suggestions and customize their approach to highlight the unique features of each property. Whether capturing the expanse of a rural property in the Willamette Valley or the intricate details of an urban dwelling, their creativity can make a significant difference.

7. Testimonials and References

Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for references or testimonials from previous clients, especially other real estate agents. Hearing about others' experiences can provide insights into the pilot's reliability and quality of work.

overhead view from 400 feet looking at a rural home and surrounding property


In conclusion, the right drone pilot can transform your real estate listings, offering breathtaking views that captivate potential buyers. Focusing on these best practices ensures that your aerial imagery meets and exceeds expectations, setting your properties apart in a competitive market.


Aerial photography by Aerial Northwest, a partner of Salem Realty Media.

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