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4 Considerations for Using Drone Photography in Real Estate Marketing

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Aerial photography is quickly being adopted as an essential component of savvy real estate marketing programs across the world. By using drones, aerial photographers create stunning photos that show properties in visual context to the surrounding area. This is especially ideal for waterfront properties, large estates, and properties with unique geographic features. Top agents know that drone photos and videos make for amazing marketing content and featured images on listings, websites, and social media.

As the technology becomes more accessible, interest in aerial photography is at an all-time high. Businesses specializing in aerial imaging are popping up in nearly every major market, and some agents are even investing in their own aircraft to create the images themselves. However, many real estate professionals still hesitate to employ this technology due to misinformation and confusing regulations around the industry.

Before hiring an aerial photographer or making the investment yourself, there are a few essential things to consider.


Due to the confusing laws surrounding commercial drone use, some real estate agencies have gone as far as implementing a company-wide policy of no aerial photography. This is largely because of the grey area created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the regulatory agency responsible for the drone industry. Beginning in 2012, the FAA implemented the so-called Section 333 Exemption, which is required for all commercial drone operations. This exemption was hard to attain and required a long waiting period to receive.

Beginning in 2016, the FAA announced new registration requirements for all drone operators (commercial and recreational). The new system created more accountability in the industry by requiring all drones over 0.55 pounds to be in a federal database and tagged with a corresponding license number. Any drones used in real estate marketing must be tagged with the correct registration, which can now be easily obtained online through the FAA website.