This is a guest post by Dave Spencer in the Seattle area.
Often the best drone photos for real estate don't look like they were shot from the air...
That's because of processing fluency, a language study that's been established for over 100 years. Progressive companies quickly discovered the science worked for advertising too, both written and visual.
Advertising is about sparking positive emotion. Yet one of the things this science uncovers is that when a viewer's brain has to "trip" over something to understand it (for even a fraction of a second), the byproduct is actually a negative emotion. Here's an example:
We all know that most homes have straight up-and-down-walls. But because the photographer's camera was not exactly level, the vertical lines in some listing photos seem like they're pointed to converge outside the image. Your buyer's brain does the math and instantly delivers a straight wall verdict - along with a negative emotion! At that point, many shoppers simply move on to another.
Converging vertical lines is a common real estate mistake that triggers a "figure it out" mode in the brain. Other potential problems include white balance, window exposure, and focal length distortion. There are more but bottom line is that when it comes to effective advertising photography, simple and incredibly easy to understand isn't just a style--it's a basic requirement.
The average real estate drone photo has very poor processing fluency. Of course, the brain has to trip over an unnatural perspective (flying). Rarely are vertical lines corrected. Wide angle distortion is extremely common. And there's almost always too much information (never a good thing when selling). Many drone photos feature rooftops and driveways; is that an emotive image? Of course not.
A thumbnail photo captured from a drone has under 4 seconds to engage the viewer. Think about it the next time you pull up a map because that's essentially what a high altitude sweeping drone image is--a map with a 4-second fuse.
Real estate drone shots should be tight and low. When someone wonders "was that shot from the air?" and really isn't sure--you've got it right.