5 Uses for Aerial Photography in Real Estate

5 Uses for Aerial Photography in Real Estate

Only a few short years ago, if a client requested aerial photography I would to hire a friend to take me up in his plane. Demand was low, costs were high. Roll forward only a few years and demand has climbed while cost has plummeted.

People purchase aerial imagery, photo and/or video, for a variety of reasons: capturing special family events; documenting the condition of a building; corporate events; and, real estate photography. To name a few. Here at Torben Photography the focus is on marketing residential, commercial, or agricultural properties, and documentation or inspection.

Commonly referred to simply as drones, the formal designation is sUAS (Small Unmanned Aircraft System) or UAS. The preceding S denotes UAS less than 55 lbs.

FAA Advisory Circular

While there are common reasons across categories, these are the most common:

Often requested as part of a standard photography package, aerial images can serve to capture elements of your home that just cannot be captured any other way. This can be true for larger, multi-acre properties, or those with significant elevation changes. Or other unique features. The following residence ticked all these boxes.

Sometimes, simply adding a few feet in elevation can make all the difference…

Going much higher, up as high as 400′ above ground level, aerial images can serve to show structures on a lot, or key features nearby. In aerial image for the home just above, this next image show it’s relation to key features in the area, namely the highway. Other examples can include a home’s relationship to common amenities, such as the home owners association’s (HOA) pool, club house, or bike paths.

Show your property, in relation to key features in the area.

Documentation & Inspection

Using aerial images to document a property can be formal, from a legal perspective, or serve as an inspection tool. In this next image, the primary purpose was discovering and documentation of roof damage following wind storms. The homeowner wanted his own inspection done prior to filing an insurance claim. Safer than climbing a ladder, such inspections can often be more informative since they’ll include views someone standing on a roof will not see.

A marina can offer numerous opportunities for aerial photography. It can be as straight-forward as getting images you cannot get any other way. Or to serve as a means of showing customers a ‘map’ of available berths, and where their boat will rest.

In the next aerial, the surface area was greater than could be captured in a single image, even 400 feet above ground level, looking straight down. This image was created using 46 separate images, corrected for distortion, and stitched together. The master image was nearly 1GB in size, before being output as a jpeg for delivery.

Own a Farm?

Farmers are just like any other land owner…perhaps even more so…since they live their land quite literally. Agriculture, live stock, whatever you grow, it takes a lot of land. More than any ground-based image can effectively convey. Aerial imagery for these properties can serve several purposes:

  • It’s your land, you want to see it, appreciate it
  • Training, aids comprehension and directions, for full-time or seasonal team members
  • Documentation to be used alongside, or overlay, formal surveys
  • Highlight features that simply cannot be appreciated any other way

Commercial & Industrial

A very common request, especially the end of December through early-February each year, comes from property managers and real estate portfolio owners. These range from doctors offices, to strip malls, major malls (Genesee Valley Ctr, below), and industrial facilities.

When you consider getting ready to sell your property, consider leveraging aerial images as part of your marketing effort. As the saying goes, a picture’s worth a 1,000 words. With aerials, perhaps even more.

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