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December 7th, 2009

AP Landing - Digital Photography CommunityLooking for some good information on elevated photography? has got an active forum that discusses photography from radio control helicopter and airplane, kites, lighter-than-air, full size aircraft and masts. The forums at are a great place to find parts and advice for building your own elevated photography rigs.

As long time PFRE blog readers know, I’m a rabid fan of elevated photography for real estate. From a marketing standpoint getting a great looking front exterior shot is a huge factor in successfully marketing a home. Here’s why:

  • The front exterior shot is the photo is the marketing hook that motivates potential buyers to look at this property in more detail.
  • In slide shows, and on real estate search sites you have only a split second to grab the viewer’s attention. Frequently this attention grabbing must be done with a thumbnail of the front exterior photo. If it doesn’t look good they are gone to one of the other 99 properties their search returned.
  • The more compelling features of the property that can be illustrated in that front exterior shot the better. Oh yea, if the front exterior looks butt-ugly find a better angle. No one’s going to know it’s not the front except you and the seller or agent.
  • A well done elevated shot can grab a potential buyers attention like nothing else.

Ten to thirty percent of homes are sited in such a way that it is impossible to get an attractive shot of the front exterior by standing on the ground. This means that an effective real estate photographer needs to have some means to elevate the camera off ground level. Frequently 10 to 15 feet is all that’s needed. So for many situations a ladder or standing on a vehicle will get the job done. But there are a few percent of homes that scream for a big mast, RC helicopter or full size aircraft. I actually like RC helicopter shots better than most full aerial shots. You can get in places with a RC helicopter that are illegal and dangerous with a light aircraft. I recommend that all real estate photographers find someone in their area that can shoot from a big mast or RC helicopter when they need it.

For example if you are in the Seattle area contact Tabb Firchau of AerialPan Imaging. Be sure to check out Tabb’s work. His aerial 360s and videos are awesome! I was very close to hiring Tabb a couple of years ago for a a mega-listing on Lake Washington that we were competing for, but we didn’t get the listing. Maybe next time.

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4 Responses to “ A Great Resource For Elevated Photography”

  • APLanding really is a great forum where you’ll have a hard time distinguishing between great hobbyist and professionals. Friendly and passionate about their industry.

  • APlanding has been the most helpful and informative site I have ever known. Their generosity of information helped me set up my New Zealand AP company and without their help it would have been a struggle.

    The article above is absolutely right, get the correct angle and you can transform the kerb appeal of a property enormously.

  • Hi Larry, thanks for the info on Aplanding. It looks like a good resource for photographers and I’ve just signed up.

    One platform was omitted from your list of elevated photography options … Blimp. We have been using a blimp for real estate photography for 8 years and now shoot everything from single family dwellings to subdivisions to bridges to shopping centres. It offers amazing perspectives not possible with the pole or aircraft. Have a look at for some samples. I am putting together a How To video and will let you know when its online in case anyone is interested.


  • Been a member at APLanding since Aug of 2007. You just can’t find many forums where the people are as friendly and helpful. Rarely if ever, will hear any bickering.. Make sure you enter the current photo contest “Color”… Bob

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