What should a real estate agent look for in a drone photographer?

Elevation Aerial Photography and Drone Services

In today’s seller-friendly real estate market many have observed that the quality, quantity, and effort of listings and photos has been on the decline. An agent with future vision should still make an effort to make sure their listings stand out and professional drone photos are one of the best ways to make your listing more premium.

But how do you choose from several local pilots when you do not know what you are looking for?

A professional drone pilot is a photographer first. in my case, I shot tens of thousands of film photos starting in the late 90s before adopting digital photography in the early 2010s. I was a practiced and seasoned photographer well before taking my pictures to the skies.

Becoming skilled at flying a drone is much easier than developing your photographic eye and sense of framing and light.

An excellent drone image creator will have a portfolio which shows versatility, subject knowledge, and artistry.

Subject knowledge:

Knowing what a client is looking for and how photography best serves that need is the first step toward delivering the highest quality drone photographs and videos. An excellent drone pilot isn’t “taking pictures of the home from a drone” They instead are giving an instant story about the home, its location, the neighborhood, and nearby amenities to a potential client at a glance.

As an agent, your upload to MLS should provide interior, exterior, and aerial pictures that attract the potential buyer. Your relationship with the photographer is vital to get the best results. You should know and trust their skill level and they should provide consistent high-quality results.

Here are some subject knowledge applications that drone pilot should demonstrate in their portfolio without a shortlist being required.

Drone photos should be taken in all cardinal directions if possible.

Photos facing north, south, east, west, and every intercardinal direction should be taken and edited fully so that the agent can select the photos that give the most context.

Drone photos do not necessarily make the property look any more ‘special’ what they do best is give contextual information about the home. For example, the above photo shows the relationship of the home in the lower right-hand corner to the nearby park. Listing information and Google Maps might be used to get similar information but nothing drives the point home like a photo that shows the home, the park, and the surrounding neighborhood. This allows potential buyers looking at comps to know why your property is special.

2. Drone Photos should help the buyer envision themselves in the property.

The context of the photo should allow the buyer to understand if the property will support their lifestyle. They should at a glance fall in love with the surroundings not just the walk-in closet.

Interior photos will not put the home into context the way that the photo above does. It shows the mountains, the terrain, the forest living, and the proximity to services.

3. Drone photos should be taken from a variety of elevations.

A single drone photo might focus on the layout of the property and outbuildings or perhaps give the context to the neighborhood allowing the viewer to see a school nearby or proximity to the fire department. But well-done drone photos show different perspectives.

The photos below show the same property from different altitudes pushing different focus points to the viewer.


An excellent pilot will make any property look amazing.

A pilot needs years of experience to shoot in a variety of conditions, a variety of properties, and different aerial photo usages in order to maximize their hit rate. Hit rate refers to the number of useable photos in a single session. Only through thousands of not so great photos can the drone pilot increase their productive time on site.

A pilot should be able to deliver a city dwelling, an apartment on a high rise, and a horse ranch with agility.


Expert aerial photographers seek the best light and the best angle. The picture is worth a thousand words only if the photographer has something to say.

Aerial photos need ultimately to get the buyer to look at the property by attracting them to the beauty of the location as well as the home. Something that only a beautifully drone photo can do.

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Elevation Aerial Photography and Drone Services