Real Estate Drone Video Tip #3 – Adjusting the Color Settings on Your 4K Camera

It was a beautiful day outside today, so what better way to spend it than taking the drone out for a little flight time. As I am always the perpetual student when it comes to drone photos, I decided to play with the color settings on my camera, just to see how different settings affected the quality of the photos. I selected the clubhouse in my neighborhood, since I could capture a residential structure, water with sun reflecting in the background, a blue sky, and a green pasture. Here are the basic settings I used on my camera. These were held constant, and I only changed the color settings available on the DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone. I wanted to see just what variations I could observe by changing the camera settings.



Photo – Single Shot

ISO – 100

Shutter Speed – 250

Image Size – 4:3

Image Format – JPEG + RAW

White Balance – Sunny

Style – None


I first took this set of photos last week, but had the image format set to RAW. What I didn’t realize is when you take photos in RAW, all your color settings are lost during import. When I previewed the photos on my iMac, the photos looked right (black and white, vivid, etc.), but when they actually imported, they all looked the same, because the RAW format doesn’t do any processing. By contrast, for a JPEG image, all the processing is done in the camera. So, what does this mean? If you want to be able to edit your photos later in Lightroom, or some other editing software, use RAW format. It retains all the available detail from the camera. JPEG, however, has already done all its processing, so you can’t change it later. I didn’t intend this post to become a RAW vs JPEG tutorial, but I hope my costly mistake saves you some trouble of your own. To be safe, just leave your photo settings to JPEG + RAW so you have options later. Better to have too many images that you can delete later, than to not have the format that you need. I used this link when I was learning the differences between RAW and JPEG.










Black & White















It didn’t look like there was much difference between D-Cinelike and D-Log settings. Neither one of them seemed to be much different than the NONE setting. The ART setting took away some color, almost getting somewhere in between original color, and black and white. Black and White is obvious. I think the Black and White setting would be great if you were taking drone photos of a historical landmark, or any other older structures. Vivid is my favorite setting when it is close to sunset. I think this setting can be used to really sell a property. Same with Beach and Dream. These settings really accentuate the sky and water in the background. Classic setting seems to be similar to Vivid, Beach and Dream. The Jugo setting gives a nostalgic feel to the photo. Not as much as Black and White, but it definitely gives a very nice touch. I hope you found this to be useful. Leave some comments below on your favorite camera settings when taking drone photos. See you next week!

7 Tips on Selecting the Right Drone Photographer


Let’s face it. Drones are here to stay. With the FAA slowly loosening the regulatory barriers to entry for drone operators, real estate agents and homeowners now have a new and exciting service available to them to better market their listings. What better way to see a property than from a breathtaking aerial perspective!


As in any service that you are hiring for, there are certain criteria that must be met for you to obtain a quality product. The same is true for drone photography. Don’t just go out and hire the first operator you run across. Do the proper research, select the operator that best fits your needs, and ensure that they meet all proper legal requirements for the drone photography field. Use the tips below to help you find the right operator for your real estate marketing efforts:



  1. Make Sure the Drone Operator Has the Proper FAA Credentials

I consider this to be by far the most important requirement for a potential drone operator. It has been a long time coming for the FAA to put in place a LEGAL means of entry for drone operators into the national airspace. In order for operators to safely operate in airspace with manned aircraft, the drone operator must either have a Section 333 Exemption, or a Part 107 Remote Pilot certificate. PLEASE make sure that anyone you hire has the proper credentials to do this type of work. Having these credentials means that your operator understands how to SAFELY operate in the same airspace as traditional manned aircraft. This field has to come too far for it to be set back by reckless operators who do not observe proper protocol when operating their drone. All it takes is for a few tragic mishaps for the FAA to shut down all progress that has been made in the field of drones.

  1. Make Sure the Drone Operator Is Properly Insured

Current commercial drone setups have become extremely reliable, but flyaways and unexpected catastrophes do happen. These small machines are by no means invincible against Mother Nature, and against operator error. That is why you should ensure that your drone operator is insured for at least $1 million in liability insurance. Imagine the potential damage to your livelihood and your reputation if the property you were trying to sell was damaged by a drone operator that you hired. Insurance is not currently a requirement in all states, but you as a realtor should ensure that you protect the assets of your clients.

  1. References, References, References

There is no better way to find a quality service than to ask those who have already used that service. There is no substitute for word of mouth. If you market primarily luxury properties, reach out to other realtors in your network, and ask them to recommend a drone operator that has worked for them in the past. They will be able to give you some details about the drone operator. What is their pricing package? Do they have a quick turnaround for delivering drone photo and video? How flexible are they when scheduling shoots?

  1. Ask to See Samples of the Drone Operator’s Work

This one is obvious. If a drone operator already has a website, there is a 99% chance that they will already have sample drone photos and videos on their site. If not, ask them specifically for samples of their work. This will give you an idea of whether or not they can provide the quality of work that you are looking for. Is there work of the quality that will help you sell more homes faster? That is the bottom line of obtaining any aerial photography, right? Remember, drone photography is meant to complement typical interior photos that are usually shown on a property listing. Photos taken from above can provide a new perspective that traditional photography cannot. Some of the best aerial photos showcase the size of property, and its proximity to other nearby amenities. I recently took some photos of my neighbor’s house, and the one that the realtor commented on was the one that provided a great perspective of the size of the backyard. These are the types of photos that your drone operator needs to be able to provide.


  1. What is the Pricing Structure of the Drone Operator?

The last thing you want is to be surprised by a bill that is much larger than you expected. Before you sign up for drone photography, make sure that you are completely clear on the pricing package. Most drone photographers offer several options depending on whether the realtor wants photos, videos, or both. Decide what you need to market your property, and then decide on the package accordingly. Are you marketing a smaller property, or a vacant lot? In that case, a purely drone photo package may be sufficient. Are you marketing a large tract of land, or a higher-end property? If that is the case, a combination of photo and video may be appropriate for you. The video may be a great complement to still photos to really showcase the size of the property. Also make sure you understand whether or not your pricing includes photo and video editing. You don’t want your drone operator to deliver a disc full of raw photo and video that you have no idea what to do with. Try to hash out as many of these details as possible before actually booking a drone operator.

  1. How Does Your Drone Operator Handle the Unexpected?

Drones are very susceptible to weather. Drones do not play well with high winds. Make sure that your drone operator is very accommodating of schedule to make sure that your drone photos are obtained in a timely manner. After all, time is money in the real estate business. Also make sure that your drone operator understands that a certain level of quality must be met, otherwise the photos and video must be done again.

  1. What Kind of Equipment is Your Drone Operator Using?

The brand of drone being used by your operator is not so important, as long as it doesn’t look like they just strapped a camera they had lying around onto a quadcopter they had lying around. Most of the commercial rigs being used right now are of great quality, with fantastic stabilization gimbals that take out all of the jitter of the photos and videos, even when winds are present.




What I Did to Pass the Part 107 Remote Pilot Knowledge Test

Before you can produce any commercial drone photography, you must first successfully pass the Part 107 knowledge test that went into effect August 29, 2016. This post is not intended to be an in-depth study guide for the Part 107 knowledge test. I merely intend to give overall advice on how to prepare for the test, and what materials I found helpful during the study process. Here are the 6 tips I have on what and how to study for the Part 107 knowledge test:


  1. Understand the Breakdown of Test Questions – The FAA spells out the approximate breakdown of question types on the test. I have reproduced them below:



UAS Topics                                       Percentage of Items on Test

Regulations                                         15-25%

Airspace & Requirements                15-25%

Weather                                               11-16%

Loading and Performance                7-11%

Operations                                           35-45%


I found this estimate to be extremely accurate. Additionally, the FAA provides the exact topics that are to be covered within these main topics. These can be found on the FAA website.


I made sure that I downloaded each reference listed in this breakdown. The FAA did a great job with this reference list, as I was able to find each topic listed in these references.


  1. Study, Study, Study – This test is by no means a cake walk, especially if you have no previous piloting experience. I am an Aeronautical Engineer, and I still made sure that I thoroughly studied for the exam. I studied for 2-3 hours per day for several weeks, probably totaling 40-50 hours of study. The only specific section I felt I had an advantage on was the Loading and Performance section, since I use many of these principles in my day job.


  1. Do (and Understand) Every Question in the FAA Part 107 Sample Exam – The FAA produced a sample exam ( ) that does a great job of giving you a good idea of the level of difficulty of questions that you will encounter on the actual exam. When I took the exam, I did not feel that the actual questions I had were significantly more difficult than the sample questions. Make sure you do every one of these questions, and understand the concepts behind them. Answers to the questions can be found here.


  1. Take Advantage of the FAA UAS Study Guide – This was another very helpful resource put out by the FAA. It had a very good overview of each topic. Of the resources I consulted, I found this to be the best one with regards to information on weather.


  1. Take an Online Part 107 Study Course – Since the Part 107 Knowledge test went live, there have been several online study courses pop up. I didn’t personally use one of these, but if it makes you feel comfortable, by all means sign up for one of these. From the ones I have scanned, they all seem to be reasonably priced.


  1. COMPLETELY Understand Airspaces – Personally, this was the topic that I spent the most time studying. There weren’t as many airspace questions on the test as I expected, but there were still quite a few. The biggest thing I did to study for these types of questions was purchase a Gleim Private Pilot test prep book. There were tons of airspace questions to practice on, as well as weather questions. This is a great resource, as it has collected actual test questions that have been released by the FAA, so you can expect to see the same types of airspace questions on your Part 107 knowledge test.




Well, there you have it. These are my 6 tips on what and how to study for the Part 107 knowledge test. If you understand ALL the content outlined in the FAA study guide, you will be fine. Through my preparations, I made a 90% on the test. You can do the same or better. Good luck and happy flying!