Pole Aerial Photography for Real Estate

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Pole Aerial Photography for Real Estate

Pole aerial photography is a service real estate photographers can have in their arsenal that can set themselves apart from the competition. But more importantly, it allows the camera to get up high in the sky. This results in views that can be unobtainable from ground level.

Benefits of Pole Aerial Photography

Not all properties have a perfect view from the street. Various things can be in the way that block the view of the home. Things like landscaping and fencing can make it difficult for buyers to see the front of the property. Pole aerial photography allows us to put our camera higher up in the sky to be more eye level with the property. Additionally it enables us to avoid obstructions that might be right in front of the camera.

Let’s take a look at some examples of where pole aerial photography improves the end result. This first example shows some landscaping bushes surrounding the walkway to the front door of the property. Putting our camera higher into the sky, we can shoot over the bushes closest to the camera. Buyers can then see more of the front of the property itself.

(Click on the navigation buttons to switch between the before/after photos.)

As you can see from the example, pole aerial photography may not result in a drastic change. However the higher vantage point allows us to deliver a more pleasing image to our clients due to our attention to detail and superior level of service.

Here is an example of a home on a farm that had a white metal fence directly in front. Using a pole allowed the camera to get above the fence, removing it completely from the image. Sure we could have photoshopped the fence out, but ethically the more honest photo is created by shooting over the fence so it is not in the picture at all.

Here is an “after” example where you can really see the benefit of pole aerial photography. Had I shot this home at ground level, the entire front of property would be hidden by the front fencing.

Pole Aerial Photography Example

Although you will probably only use pole aerial photography for front exterior shots, don’t hesitate to use a pole for other shots that might benefit from a higher vantage point. The seller of a recent property wanted me to take a photo from the driveway into the back yard. He wanted the entire pool area to be visible because he thinks a selling point is how big the space is. He said it would work great because of the wrought iron fence – being able to shoot through the fencing. However I noticed at ground level I was unable to catch much of the water. It didn’t really showcase the space like he anticipated.

I went and grabbed my pole and ended up with the following result.

Pole Aerial Photography Equipment

I use a Canon 60D for the still photos of properties and it has a swivel LCD. I tilt the LCD to the down position and push the camera up into the air on a painter’s pole. I trigger the shutter with an Aperture Pro Coworker Remote. The painter’s pole is a standard 12′ pole from a local big box home improvement store. The camera mounts to the pole with the Pole Pixie adapter mount.

I’ve heard good things about the CamRanger Remote that works for both Nikon and Canon dSLRs. I haven’t used it personally so I can’t say for certain, but it would be worth a shot if you don’t have a swivel LCD and need to view what your camera is looking at for framing.

By | 2017-07-20T00:59:23+00:00 April 6th, 2014|How To|15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Scott Vann April 7, 2014 at 7:45 am - Reply

    How do you hold the camera steady while on a pole? Are you taking multiple exposures while pole mounted?

    • Lance Selgo April 7, 2014 at 7:51 am - Reply

      The camera sways a bit but because it’s exterior, we are able to use a fast shutter to avoid blur. 3 bracketed shots are taken but most of the time only one is used in post processing.

  2. Mike June 13, 2014 at 7:00 am - Reply

    there is an App you can get (I have the Android version) that allows you to remotely view the scene on a SmartPhone at ground level. Very handy.

  3. Mike June 13, 2014 at 7:01 am - Reply

    forgot to add, you can also trigger the shutter from the SmartPhone too.

    • Lance Selgo June 13, 2014 at 8:16 am - Reply

      Is it CamRanger? Or something else? What’s the app called?

    • K. Charles McCarthy April 23, 2016 at 5:13 pm - Reply

      I think the camera must be wifi enabled for that app to work. I have a Canon 6D with wifi capability. . . .I’ve been a “pole dancer” for a month now. . .I love the results and so do my clients. As Lance mentioned, the faster shutter speeds takes care of any camera shake problems. . .but, actually, you can keep it pretty firm and still after you get the hang of it. . . .I use a 5 ft aluminium step ladder. . .stand on the first step. . put my cell phone flat on the top step and then set the bottom of the pole on the second step. . .works great. . .however, whatever you do. . . don’t skimp on the painters pole and camera attachments. . .that’s your business up there dangling 15 ft in the air!!!. Actually I also have a 60D with the swivel LCD.. ..I never thought to use it because I figured it would be too hard to see the screen. . .but I’m going to give that one a try now that Lance has mentioned it.

      • Lance Selgo April 23, 2016 at 9:18 pm - Reply

        You definitely can’t see the resulting shot completely but you can at least tell if the home is centered and you are close to framing correctly. 🙂

        • K. Charles McCarthy April 23, 2016 at 10:08 pm - Reply

          I tried it . . .and, you’re right. . . I could see it enough to line up the shot. . .one problem. . .none of my radio switches from my 6D work with my 60D. . .so I attach my remote switch that’s on a 3 ft cable. . .set my drive on the 10 second delay. . .run the pole half way up. . .hit the remote shutter button hanging down. . .run the pole up the rest of the way, set the shot and 10 seconds later. . .click. . got it!!!

  4. Harry June 30, 2014 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    I use this: http://dslrdashboard.info/
    It’s Free App

    • Lance Selgo June 30, 2014 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Very cool Harry!

  5. Fervil August 20, 2014 at 3:52 am - Reply

    Hey Lance! your aerial photo of a real estate is amazing! I couldn’t believe that it was shot using a pole! However, i’m concerned that maybe it can cause some problem sometimes with the device and the user. But i’m aware that aerial photography using a pole is a genius method to have. I agree with your tips that pole method can give us a superior level of service. I can also suggest that using drone (UAVs) is also the best way to have an aerial photography and can also help you to get rid of risk. hence, it’s also easy to use. By the way, you really got a nice pictures there! Keep it up mate! God bless you.

  6. Daniel September 11, 2014 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Great aerial photos Lance! I love the details and the the inclination of angle to every images you posted. Aside to that, i love the quality of every aerial photos. I totally agree with you how aerial photography can boost a kind of businesses. Thanks for the tips!

  7. Thomas September 30, 2014 at 2:43 am - Reply

    Thank you for all your great information. I’m reading up on everything I can as I have my first real estate shot in a few days.

    Regarding pole shots and remote: the Canon 6D has internal wifi and is completely remote controlled from an iPad using the EOS App. Focus, Aperature, and shutter speed are all configurable – but not white balance or (of course) zoom.

    • Lance Selgo September 30, 2014 at 6:19 am - Reply

      Very cool – did not realize that!

  8. Jeff Cartwright October 17, 2014 at 4:31 am - Reply

    I recently came across a 60 ft aluminum paap mast. I didn’t know what it was so I looked it up on Google and bingo. Holy crap it’s worth 2600. That’s crazy. I’m selling it instead of my original idea of scraping it. 750.00 any takers

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