Image quality, portability, price, and ease of use
The best drone for real estate in 2017 is the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. This drone offers the best combination of the four most important things to think about when buying a drone for real estate. If taking pictures of real estate is your primary goal, the choice is simple - Phantom 4 Pro. I make my case below.
With drones, you have to balance out image quality against all of the other variables. If image quality is the only thing you are concerned with you are officially an aerial photography camera snob and you should double or triple your budget, forget about being able to just throw it in your car, and get ready to climb a step learning curve. If you choose to fly a camera that has a good enough camera you will be able to get an image that is easily cropped and edited. Better cameras will also work better in low light situations and can shoot with higher shutter speed. The Phantom 4 pro has a 1 inch sensor and takes 20 megapixel images. This is a wonderful camera and you will be able to take great pictures of real estate.
If you have not owned a drone before, please trust that portability is important. The reason I don't recommend the Inspire or one of the higher end drones that can carry even better cameras is because you give up so much portability. Yes, you gain the use of a real camera (although the Phantom 4 pro gets pretty darn close) but the hassle of moving this larger machine around can be a huge burden. You have to put it in travel mode, then take the props off, then stuff it into a giant box, then carry the big box around, then rebuild the drone on site, etc etc etc. The Phantom 4 Pro fits in a backpack and is easy to carry around. For extreme portability, check out my article on the Mavic Pro Vs Phantom 4 Pro.
The Phantom 4 Pro is not cheap at $1499 but let me save you a little money. If you are a real estate agent taking your own pictures you probably do not need to spring for an extra battery because the flight time of the included battery is enough to easily shoot pictures of an entire mansion from the air. There are other options available like the regular Phantom 4 that comes in around $1299 but I highly recommend you spend the extra money to get the better camera and the additional crash resistant features on the Phantom 4 Pro I will discuss below. The Phantom 4 Pro should last for several years because this camera is great, and that alone justifies the cost.
Ease of use
DJI is ahead of everyone else in the drone photography game as far as I am concerned. Every version of the Phantom comes out with more features that makes it easier and accessible. The Phantom 4 Pro adds rear collision detection sensors to the side and front ones. You could think of the price difference between the Phantom 4 and the Phantom 4 Pro as insurance. You only have to prevent one backward flying crash to justify the extra cost. And did I mention you get that awesome 20MP camera?
DJI stuff is notoriously easy to use when compared to anything else on the market, so any of the latest drones should be good for just about anyone. If you have played any video games or driving a remote control car you should be fine. Even if you have no RC or video game experience, you should be fine. Consider buying a little practice drone like the Cheerson CX-10D to practice on inside (cost is about $20).
The Phantom 4 Pro is the best drone for real estate
I have been shooting aerial photography for a long time and I feel confident recommending the Phantom 4 pro for real estate use. If you decided on a different drone, please let everyone know what you use and why you picked it below in a comment. We can all learn together. Thanks for reading!
The links in this article are affiliate links that give me a tiny commission if you decide to buy after you click. They do not increase the price you pay. The links also take you directly to DJI and I recommend buying from them because it makes support less of a hassle if you end up having any problems. - Justin
Which DJI drone should you get? The choices might seem really confusing so let me help you make your decision. Two of these drones are amazing but they each have their own strengths and weaknesses and you need to match those with what you are trying to do. One of them doesn't make sense. In my opinion, the choice is either the Mavic Pro or the Phantom 4 Pro depending on what you want to use it for.
For the aerial photographer looking to make money shooting small jobs
The Phantom 4 Pro is the best choice here even though it is the most expensive for two simple reasons. The biggest reason to buy this drone over the other two is the camera. The camera on the Phantom 4 pro has a 1" sensor and takes 20mp stills. The Phantom 4 pro also looks more professional than the Mavic Pro and as silly as that might sounds this is important. It has other features you might get distracted by but if you are wanting to make money with your drone doing real estate photography then the Phantom 4 pro is the one to get. It is the most expensive at around $1500 but you only need one or two jobs to cover the cost difference between the Phantom 4 and the Phantom 4 pro. If you want to make side cash with your drone, this is the one to get. The flight times are so good on this one that you can get away with only having one battery, but having a backup is a good idea.
For the traveling aerial photographer
There is a saying in photography circles that the best camera is the one you are going to actually use and the compact, easy to carry mechanics of the Mavic pro make this the drone of choice if you are planning on traveling. You do not have to take the propellers off and the thing just folds up into a tiny little drone carrying bag. Bringing this along is an afterthought and that means you will have it available when those amazing shots present themselves. I can't tell you how many times I have been driving around Maui and I see something so beautiful that would look incredible from the air but carrying my Inspire around with me all the time is completely out of the question. The camera is nowhere near as good as the Phantom 4 Pro or even the Phantom 4 but if you don't have your drone with you, you aren't going to get the shot.
For the aerial photography hobbyist who is not a camera snob
Let us say you do not plan on trying to make money using your drone, you just want to take awesome aerial pictures of stuff. Which drone should you get then? The choice has got to be the Mavic Pro. The ability to carry this thing anywhere is a game changer and it is worth giving up the better camera and feature set of the Phantom line. I have had drones of all sizes and shapes and the bottom line is you will fly more with a more convenient setup. Buy the Mavic Pro.
For the aerial photography hobbyist who is a camera snob
I totally understand where you are coming from. Flying the best possible camera is important to you and worth the extra hassle. You have probably already guessed which one you should buy - The Phantom 4 Pro. If you are in this category, you know you have to at least consider doubling the cost and hassle and try and fly the X5 with the Inspire but I really can't recommend that unless you have deep pockets and the need to fly the best. The Phantom 4 pro is a fine rig and will take amazing pictures and it is the one I would recommend for the photography hobbyist looking to get started. It also has a host of other features like obstacle avoidance that might come in handy if your drone flying skills are not well developed.
Phantom 4 vs Phantom 4 Pro
I think you should either be considering the Mavic Pro for its portability or the Phantom 4 Pro for its amazing camera. The Phantom 4 comes somewhere in the middle and I don't really understand why anyone would choose it over the other two options. Yes, you save some money over the Phantom 4 pro but you still have the same hassles of carrying around a larger drone. It will take better pictures than the Mavic Pro but you will not be able to have it with you all the time.
Conclusion - Portability or Image Quality is the bottom line
In my opinion, you should decide what is more important to you: portability or image quality. Remember, just sitting at your desk it is easy to say image quality over portability. Portability means simple and easy to carry around. Will you take the time to lug around the significantly larger Phantom 4 pro all the time? Will you carry a separate backpack with your drone when you travel? Will you take the time to screw on the props and unpack everything? The Mavic Pro is a simple package and you can easily take it anywhere. The Phantom 4 Pro has an amazing camera and will reward those who deal with the extra hassle and cost.
This is an awesome guest write up about getting started in aerial photography for hire. If you like this one, be sure to visit dronemultimedia.org for more.
Backstory - Introduction
Hello readers from around the world, my name is Michael Diaz! I am the founder of Drone Multimedia. Check us out at http://dronemultimedia.org/ I am very excited to share with you my story of how I created a small business and a passive income stream using only a drone and a laptop. (and a few marketing tools ☺)
A little bio about myself - I am a recent graduate of the University of Florida. I studied Information Systems and Entrepreneurship in college which really set me off in the right direction. I am currently a full time employee at a top Fortune500 company as well as a real estate agent. As a hobby, I maintain an Instagram @DroneMultimedia where I share the best aerial photography and videography from across the globe, promote products, advertise, and much more. The community is 50,000+ strong and growing. On to my story…
It all began when I got my first drone at 21 years old. It was a DJI Phantom 1 (http://www.dji.com/phantom) with no camera attached to it. Luckily, I had a GoPro Hero 3 Black which I was able to mount to it. This was my very first time flying a drone so it definitely took a few weeks of test flights before I really got the hang of it. I initially did not have any intention of monetizing my drone, as I simply viewed it as a hobby. See some of my first ever photos below:
Because I got my drone right when they first became popular, I started to get a lot of attention when I would post aerial photos. Everyone that saw my photos marveled about how awesome they were and how much they enjoyed seeing a new perspective on things they may have seen 1000 times. (ex. Century Tower) This is the moment I knew I was on to something. The gears began to turn in my head and I started to think back to my entrepreneurship classes and also my real estate courses. I realized there was a need that currently wasn’t being met. Put simply, real estate agents need to sell buildings. In order to sell buildings, they need quality pictures of these buildings. And from that point on, I decided I was going to sell photo and video packages to people who were trying to sell real estate.
How I got started - the discovery phase
Once my mind was made up that real estate photography was going to be the avenue to make money, I started researching how other businesses were successfully doing it. I googled the most successful aerial photography businesses out there and tried to understand how they were formulating their deals, communicating to their customers, and how they were running their business. I then began to call local aerial photography businesses as a customer to see how they would quote me, what their procedure was, and how they planned to deliver the content. I consider this the discovery phase. This is where I read up on FAA regulations (https://www.faa.gov/uas/), where I created my very first website (gnmmultimedia.weebly.com) and I began reaching out to local real estate agents.
Takeaways from Discovery Phase
Once I had these essential facets of my business set up, it was time for me to find my very first client. This is where I entered what I call the “Bust your ass” phase of starting a business.
The "bust your ass" phase
I will now outline and summarize how I would acquire clients and fulfill orders.
This phase took a lot of patience and trial and error. I would modify my email campaigns, Facebook page, cold call script, website, and Instagram on a weekly basis until I figured out what worked. Once I found someone that was interested I would determine a few things.
The $$ Phase – My First Deal
If you have read this far, truly thank you for your time.
My first deal came about when I leveraged my personal network. I got help from a good friend who worked at an apartment complex to get my “foot in the door.” I was able to close a deal with them for 20 photos for roughly $200 dollars. Not a huge amount, but hey I knew I was on the right track. From that point forward, I would go to each apartment complex and show how the other had just bought my awesome aerial photos and they would get FOMO (Feeling of missing out) and buy my package. I repeated this process until I took pictures of every apartment complex on a particularly populated street. With each photo shoot, I would add the photos to my website and become more and more legitimate. At the same time, they may have seen my advertising, social media, and more that would further my image as a legitimate business.
The $$ Phase Pt. 2 – The Real Money
Once I had a functioning business model and some clients, I quickly began to learn how to sell my product effectively and how to make the most $$. Here I will summarize some of my takeaways:
I currently employ many of these tactics to actively close drone deals. I will continue to create blog posts if people want to learn more. I have a lot of insight that I can deliver in the world of drones, marketing, startups, branding, real estate, and more.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read about my story. To read more visit http://dronemultimedia.org/