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Real Estate Drone Pilots Dominate the Industry

May 16, 2021 | 0 comments

Note: Keep safety and responsibility in mind when flying. If you’ve never flown before, it’s never too late to learn. Find a hands-on Training near you.

 In order to legally operate a drone business, you will need a Part 107 License. If you want to pass the test on your first try, take a Prep Course.

You’ve read about them, you’ve seen them or you’ve seen what they are capable of in real estate listings. Drones have changed the way we illustrate sites, buildings and houses. It is only a matter of time that they are implemented in your office (if they haven’t already). With eyes on the sky, we are able to look where we couldn’t before, we can illustrate at better angles and we can really give new life to old visuals.

Our suggestion? Be fearless and take on flight! Drones will only here to improve your work by putting your eyes at sky level at an affordable level. With today’s tech improvements, anyone can benefit from learning how to fly a drone.

In this post we look to answer a few common questions regarding flying drones and what to do next.

Is flying a drone difficult?

The first thing we need to talk about is flying a drone. This is something you probably want to know more about. Maybe you wonder if flying will be a challenge you can’t handle. Perhaps you don’t have the time to learn it. Well, cheer up, this is something you should not worry about at all. With today’s drone technology, everything is being thought of. Drones are almost self-driven and programmed to stay in place in absence of instruction. This means that if you drop the controller the drone will simply hover in place. You have high-tech transmission features like OcuSync that will prevent loss of communication between drone and controller. You have Obstacle Avoidance on most high-tech drones which prevent the drone from crash against obstacles however, don’t rely 100% on it, it’s a prevention feature.

What happens if my drone’s battery runs out mid-air?

Again, rest easy. Drones have a Return-to-Home feature when the battery is low. It smartly calculates flight path and flight duration between the current location and the home waypoint to make sure to fly automatically back when the battery is low. You will also be able to see on-screen current battery status and flight time available.

Needless to say, you should always fly with precaution. These sophisticated drones are equipped with technology that should exceed your requirements as a photographer. This means that you should never push them to their limits, ever. For example, avoid flying your drone so far off that you can’t see it, keep it in your Line-of-sight (LOS).

Where can I fly my drone?

There has been a lot of talk about the new drone laws in recent years. Many countries have indeed enacted regulations for drones. In the United States, The Federal Aviation Administration has set out drone regulations. 

However, most restrictions and rules apply to the commercial use of drones. While many new drone pilots are simply curious and only fly them for fun, they still have a responsibility when operating them recreationally. 

Let’s keep it simple. You do not need a permit if you’re flying your drone recreationally. All you need to do is register your drone with the FAA. Simple and inexpensive, registration costs only $5. You can register your drone at this website by creating an account, then follow the instructions.

This means you cannot just fly your drone anywhere you want. In general, you should understand the following limitations:

  • Fly your drone below 400 feet to avoid crashing other aircraft.
  • Always have a visual on your drone and keep it within your Line of Sight.
  • You should not be flying within five miles of any airport or near any other aircraft.
  • You should never fly over people, a stadium, or a sporting event.

Additional restricted areas exist as well. Washington D.C., for instance, and national parks are off-limits to flying your drone. There are apps and online maps that can alert you if you’re in a restricted area – such as B4UFly from the FAA.

Anyway, the regulations outlined above apply only to the U.S. Other countries may have their regulations. The following links provide information on Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

Which drone is best for photography?

For professional purposes, you can work perfectly well with either the DJI Air 2S however, the Mavic 2 Pro or the Zoom will open a broader reach of prospective clients. If your jobs will require you to work in restricted areas frequently where you’ll need to work out the geofencing unlock on DJI drones, you might consider getting an Autel Evo 2 Pro.

Geofencing is not a disadvantage

Geofence is what internally restricts drones to fly in certain restricted areas. DJI has implemented this feature in their drones to prevent new pilots from flying unaware in restricted or controlled areas. On their website, you can easily verify the restrictions on any given area. Unlocking the Geofence is not all that difficult either.

Learn more: DJI Fly Safe: GeoFences US Locations

The Mavic 2 Pro is the highest-rated drone by many photographers. It will give you everything you need as a professional, artistic photographer and allow you to delve into more technical photographer roles; such as real estate, mapping, and inspections. If recording film is part of your offers, using the Mavic 2 Zoom will yield much better results.

Important to know though, the Mavic 2 Pro was released in August 2018 while the other two suggestions are newer releases. The Air 2S was just released this April while the EVO 2 Pro was released in May 2020. These two have newer technologies despite the Mavic having better specs. Although no official source can confirm this, our recommendation would be either to stick with an EVO 2 Pro or an Air 2S until the next generation of Mavic comes along, since it can be expected to be a considerable upgrade.

Learn more: DJI Refines Geofencing To Enhance Airport Safety, Clarify Restrictions

How much does a drone photographer make?

This is a widely asked question and there is no straight answer since Real Estate Photography can be both freelanced or employed. 

As far as employment is referred, the salary for this role can vary greatly between $16,000.00 and $150,000.00 per year. These stats are not specific to Real Estate photography however, this can give you a broad idea of what could be possible to land a job for $50,000.00 per year. Simplified, this means at about $25.00 per hour.

As far as freelancing goes, this can be far higher based on time, industry, and marketing. Any job can take from just an hour to several hours, making a limitation for how many clients you can visit in a single workday. Crunching some numbers, the average photography job can be bought for about $300.00. Assuming these are rather quick jobs, you could consider 2-3 clients per day, average about $900.00 in a single day’s work.

A real estate drone photographer could achieve an hourly rate of about  $150.00, which is equivalent to a weekly pay of $6,000, or a monthly pay of $26,000, or an annual salary of $312,000.

To be able to achieve these figures, of course, you would have to be very good at what you do and excel at marketing but some drone photographers do achieve higher figures than these stated. 

Real Estate Agents on Drone Photography

Clearing the fog and giving some insights into the Real Estate photography industry, we hope you can feel more comfortable with the thought of becoming a pilot yourself. More and more people are applying the use of drones in their jobs to either simply promote other areas of their work or to promote the images and film themselves commercially.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to write in our comment box below.


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