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How Much Does Drone Real Estate Photography Cost In 2023

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
Drone Real Estate

Drone photography has become a game-changer in today’s real estate market. As a real estate agent, understanding the real estate drone photography pricing is crucial to your business growth. 

Drones are now helping realtors close more deals while saving time. 

Aerial shots, videos, and even 3D maps help them skip much of the client closing hassle by offering potential buyers a comprehensive view of the property they want to buy.

This allows potential buyers to either decide to buy or not, saving realtors a lot of time (which for most realtors is literally money).

On average, there are 190 open jobs for real estate drone pilots on Indeed and the hourly pay is usually in the $50-$100 range. However, keep in mind that most of these jobs are temporary and usually project-based.

If you’re a drone pilot, knowing how much to charge for drone real estate photography can spell the difference between a deal closed or lost forever. 

Generally, for real estate drone photography, many drone pilots charge based on square footage, with a photo package that includes both exterior and interior shots. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at how much to charge for drone real estate photography (and videography) if you’re a drone pilot. As well as how much you should expect to pay if you need drone services as a real estate agent.

Why Use a Drone for Real Estate Photography?

Let’s take a look at why you (as a real estate agent) might want to use drones, and why drone pilots should double down on this industry.

First, some stats are in order before we continue:

  • 7 in 10 agents report that drone photography, videos, and virtual staging have been more important since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 83% of home sellers prefer to work with a real estate agent who uses drone photography (that’s massive).
  • 97% of home buyers used the internet to search for homes and expect to see quality photos

As you can see, it won’t take long for drones to not only be a good addition to the real estate market but actually a must. Whether you’re an agent of a drone pilot, drones are here to stay in this industry.

Real Estate Drone Photography Pricing 

On average you’d find these prices across the USA:

  • Average cost per house: $50 – $300

But let’s take a deeper look into how much drone photography costs for real estate:

Drone photography costs per square meter

On average, you’ll usually find these prices if the project is per square meter and not by the hour or number of deliverables:

Average real estate drone photography cost based on square meters:

Under 2000 sq. ft. $149
Under 3000 sq. ft. $199
Under 4000 sq. ft. $249
Under 5000 sq. ft. $299

The packages above could include:

Drone photos at 15-25 feet Front of Home (Center, Left, Right), and at 100 feet (Center Front of Home, Four corner obliques at 45 degrees, 1 nadir, or top-down).

Exterior Land Photos from the Ground (Center, Left, Right, Close-up of the front door, 2 corner shots of the home from the back yard). 

HDR Photos start from the front of the home, working through each room towards the back of the home, providing special emphasis on kitchens and bathrooms. 

And 360 Photos – one 360 photo per room to create a 3D walkthrough or virtual tour (I’m sure you’ve seen 360 tours before of homes, they work like a charm).

Drone photography pricing per package & project

Many drone pilots and drone businesses might prefer to charge by the project and deliverables instead of strictly by square meter. This usually gives them more flexibility with their pricing.

While each drone pilot and business has its own rates – on average we find:

Package typeAverage costIncludes
Drone photos only$100 – $3005 – 15 aerial images
Drone photos & video (large)$350 – $80015 – 25+ 1-to-3-minute video

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by Fash members.

How much does real estate drone footage cost?

While many people think drone footage costs as much as drone photos for real estate, it’s actually not the case.

Often, the cost of drone video for real estate is higher than that of drone photography. 

On average, real estate drone footage costs $250 – $600.

But here is a detailed table below, with pricing per deliverables:

PackageAverage cost
Short highlight reel$150 – $400
Video Walkthrough$250 – $600
Aerial drone footage (video)$200 – $450
Interactive 3D virtual tour$100 – $360
Video walkthrough & photography$300 – $900

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by Fash members.

Real estate highlight reel video cost

A real estate highlight reel can cost from $150 to $400 for a short video spotlighting the home or property's key viewpoints.

You’ll usually find highlight reels are 30 to 60 seconds and typically include sweeping shots of the front exterior, the main interior rooms, and the home's best features.

Real estate video walkthrough cost

A real estate video walkthrough is usually 1 to 3+ minutes of footage showing the whole exterior and interior space. It costs $250 to $600 on average and includes home size (more on that below) and video features that affect the length and cost.

Premium feature options include voiceovers, aerial video, and complex cinematic shots.

Real estate video walkthrough cost per house size

Home size (square feet)Average cost
Up to 1,500$100 – $350
1,501 – 3,000$200 – $500
3,001 – 5,000$400 – $800
5000+$600 – $1,000+

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by Fash members.

Bringing it all together…

As a drone pilot or a real estate agent, chances are you’ll either need or offer both drone footage and photos. So to bring it all together, here is a table with the mixed prices (average prices):

Package typeAverage costIncludes
Drone footage add-on$50 – $1005 – 15 aerial images
Drone photos only$100 – $3005 – 15 aerial images
Drone video only$200 – $45030-second to 2+ minute video
Drone photos & video (small)$250 – $5005 – 10+ aerial images 30-second-to-2-minute video
Drone photos & video (large)$350 – $80015 – 25+ 1-to-3-minute video

Drone photography & videography cost factors

real estate photography

You may be wondering what exactly impacts these prices, and why the price ranges are so far apart – That way you know how to price your services as a pilot or know what to expect to pay as an agent.

There are many factors that influence prices. But among them are the following:

  • Drone type – Drone equipment costs $2,000 to $10,000+. Naturally, you should expect pilots using high-end equipment to typically charge more but produce higher-quality images and videos (but in most cases, using a $1k drone is more than enough).
  • Experience – A new drone pilot may charge $25 to $50 per hour as they build their portfolio. A highly rated, seasoned professional may charge up to $500 per hour in some areas. As an agent, you want to snatch the up-and-coming pilots as they’re usually just as good.
  • Number of photos & video length – Price increases with the length of the video or number of images as they require more shooting and editing time, this here is obvious and you can 
  • FAA regulations – Professional drone pilots must be FAA licensed. Additional permits may be required if the area is a restricted flight zone – all of these can incur extra costs for the drone pilot.
  • Insurance – Professional drone photographers spend $450 to $750+ per year for liability insurance coverage and factor this overhead cost into their pricing – While they usually don’t charge YOU for that, it’s good to keep in mind.
  • Travel fees – Most drone pilots add travel charges when working outside a specified radius, so expect to cover travel fees.
  • Editing – Drone photo and video editing costs $70 to $180 per hour. Editing services include video stitching, color balancing, and special effects. Many drone pilots will just give you the footage raw and leave you to find an editor, but some of them offer editing services on top of shooting.
  • Rush services – Many pilots add $25 to $100+ for same-day or next-day rush service.

Is drone photography for real estate worth it?
(Pros & Cons)

There is a reason many people in this industry are starting to rely on drones.

Drone photography and videography are worth it for real estate listings as listings with aerial shots typically sell 50% to 60+% faster than those using standard photography.

Pros

  • Covers a wide area from many different angles
  • Shows a property's proximity and accessibility to nearby amenities.
  • Shows areas not visible from the ground
  • Increases real estate listing traffic
  • Provides a unique "bird's eye view" perspective

Cons

  • Requires expertise and licensing
  • May produce noise during the operation
  • Often takes more time to produce than standard photo and video
  • Seasonal and weather limitations
  • Restricted in some areas

How to hire a drone photographer for your real estate project

hire a drone photographer

There are many ways to hire a drone photographer as a real estate agent, with the best and fastest being just looking them up on websites like ZipRecruiter. 

But as a good rule of thumb, it’s best to follow these simple steps:

  1. Ask friends, family, or coworkers for referrals – you never know what you might find in your own network.
  2. Get at least 2 to 3 estimates to compare.
  3. Use the FAA's B4UFLY website or app to confirm drones are allowed in the area you want the photos or video.
  4. Look for members of the Association of Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) who have been in business for more than five years – it’ll mean they’re pros.
  5. Review their website and portfolio (if they have one). Usually, if someone has one, it indicates that they at least know what they’re doing.
  6. Browse their reviews if they have any.
  7. Avoid going with the lowest quote as the quality may suffer (and you’ll be wasting a lot of time).
  8. Get a contract in writing detailing copyright terms and everything included in the package.

How much to charge for drone real estate photography? (As a drone pilot)

You might have already guessed by reading this far – especially if you’ve read the price factors section.

As a drone pilot, the real estate drone photos and footage cost varies depending on the project's scale and complexity. Drone pilots typically charge between $100 to $500 per hour for real estate jobs, with a median rate of approximately $250 per hour.

As for day rates, drone operator day rates are $500 to $1,700 on average for a full day or $400 to $1,100 for a half-day shoot.

For shorter jobs, drone pilots charge $50 to $300 per hour, depending on location, drone equipment, and pilot experience.

But keep in mind these are highly dependent on my factors (that we discussed above). If for example you’re just starting out with no portfolio or references, don’t expect to be able to charge these rates.

How much drone pilots charge on average for real estate photography:

ChargeAverage cost
Per hour$50 – $300
Per half-day$400 – $1,100
Per day$500 – $1,700

How much to charge for real estate videography?

As I mentioned before, while similar the rates of drone footage are slightly higher than those of drone real estate photos.

And that’s without including editing fees!

Real estate videographers charge $80 to $200 per hour on average for shooting. Video editing rates are $70 to $180 per hour. Hourly rates are common for larger homes and properties requiring scouting, staging, and extensive post-production editing.

Conclusion

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article. We looked at just how crucial drones are becoming in the real estate industry, the costs of drone services for your real estate listings if you’re an agent, factors that determine these costs as well as how to charge clients if you’re a drone pilot.

One thing to keep in mind is that I believe these rates will slightly drop in the future as more and more drone pilots are jumping on the bandwagon and starting real estate drone photography businesses.

If you’re looking to start a drone business yourself, but don’t want to deal with all the competition – I’ve made a special report with little-known drone niches that are booming right now.

>> You can grab it for free over here.

FREE Guide: How to make money with your drone in 2023

A 37 page guide that shows you basically everything you need to get started right now.

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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