8 Best Drones for Architectural Photography in 2023 | Reviews & Buying Guide

Drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, have become quite popular recently for recreational purposes. 

Originally developed for military needs, drones have been adapted to make them usable for other purposes, such as photography. They can access areas and take shots from angles that are impossible otherwise, which makes them such a great tool for architectural photography. 

However, with so many options on the market, selecting one that meets your purpose most effectively can be quite challenging. To help you, we’ve created this informative guide, featuring the nine best drones for architectural photography, and to make things easier, we’ve even included a buyer’s guide and some FAQs. 

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Best Drones for Architectural Photography

In this article, we’ll explore the best drones for architectural photography, taking into consideration factors such as camera quality, flight time, and stability. So, without further ado, here’s the list of the 8 best drones for architectural photography.

1. DJI Mavic 3 Camera Drone – Best Overall

DJI, or to give its proper name Da-Jiang Innovations, is a leading technology company specializing in the manufacture of drones. This camera drone from the brand comes with some innovative features, such as omnidirectional obstacle-sensing technology, to provide you with the best experience.

The DJI camera drone is a powerful drone that can be used for all types of photography purposes due to its 4/3 CMOS sensor. It provides a 12.8-stop dynamic range, ensuring the highest image quality, including shadows and highlights. 

Besides the impressive camera, this drone can travel far due to its long transmission range while ensuring stable and smooth feeds with the O3 plus transmission system. 

It can also stay in the air for up to 46 minutes, helping you capture all the shots easily without worrying about the battery. Plus, the Mavic 3 camera drone has an advanced RTH system enabling it to return home quickly and efficiently. This feature can be manually activated by the user or gets activated on its own when the battery is low.  

We did not come across any significant downside while testing this drone. However, you should note that it comes with an old controller that can sometimes affect the processing speed. This problem is easily solved by using a new controller. 

Camera Specs: Hasselblad Camera | Video Capture Resolution: 5.1K@60fps | Flight Time: 46 min | Max Speed: 72 kph | Max Range: 15 km | Obstacle Avoidance: Advanced

2. DJI Mavic 2 Pro – Best For Storage and Portability

Yet another exciting product from DJI is this remote drone, which offers 4K video quality and is compatible with a wide selection of devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This drone allows you to capture high-resolution aerial shots and videos easily, making it a fantastic choice for real estate photography

With so many impressive features of this drone, let’s start with the camera. This one also comes equipped with a Hasselblad L1D-20c camera with a 20MP 1-inch CMOS Sensor, helping capture architectural shots in full detail and record videos in 4K resolution. You can even take HDR photos with this camera. 

And if you’re worried about storing these high-quality images and videos, the remote drone comes with 8GB internal storage and supports SD cards up to 128 GB. 

We also liked the Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing technology that allows the drone to navigate around obstacles easily and avoid collisions. This feature works flawlessly when combined with the DJI Go 4 application on your smartphone, helping the drone quickly reach its target. It comes in handy, especially when the battery is low, and the drone needs to be recalled.  

The 30 minutes of flight time this drone offers is not the best we’ve seen, which might make this option unsuitable for those who want a longer flight time. But if this isn’t something that bothers you, it’s among the best options to go with. 

Camera Specs: Hasselblad Camera | Video Capture Resolution: 4K@60fps | Flight Time: 31 min | Max Speed: 72 kph | Max Range: 8 km | Obstacle Avoidance: Advanced

3. DJI Mavic Air 2 Drone – Best For Beginners

The next item on our list is the DJI Mavic Air 2, which features an intelligent tracking and flight system, allowing you to capture 8K hyper-lapse videos conveniently. It is a must-have option for any architect or photographer who requires a highly compact drone that can be carried easily anywhere.

For starters, the DJI Mavic Air 2 comes with a camera with a ½-inch CMOS sensor that allows you to capture 48MP photos easily. There is also the 3-axis gimbal that provides 4K/60 fps video capabilities making all of your aerial recordings smooth.

The most impressive camera feature of this drone is that it can Livestream 1080p FHD resolution videos directly for easy viewing of the architectural site from wherever you are. 

Other than that, the Air 2 can stay up in the air for up to 34 minutes and can stay locked onto the subject, thanks to the Spotlight 2.0 feature. This feature makes shooting videos and capturing images easier while the drone flies freely.

And for safety purposes, this drone comes with obstacle sensing in three directions to avoid collisions, making it an ideal choice for beginners.  

The only drawback we noticed with this incredible product is that this drone is not suited for small and tight spaces. If you’re looking for such an option, other more compact alternatives are available on the market, but performance-wise, there are no issues with it. 

Camera Specs: 48 MP Camera | Video Capture Resolution: 4K@60fps | Flight Time: 34 min | Max Speed: 68.4 kph | Max Range: 18.5 km | Obstacle Avoidance: Advanced

4. DJI Air 2S Aerial Drone

Moving on to the next item, we bring you the DJI Air 2S drone, which packs innovative features, like a one-inch camera sensor in a compact body for the best experience. The Dlog-M color profile also makes this the best product, leading the evolution of aerial drones for architectural photography. 

Even with most items on our list possessing some fantastic camera capabilities, the Air 2S drone still manages to set itself apart due to the one-inch image sensor. This sensor, coupled with the large 2.4μm pixels, enables this drone to take 5.4K videos at 30 frames per second. 

In addition to that, there is a feature called Mastershots, that allows you to take the best shots in any location with a single tap. This means no more fiddling with the camera controls and wasting time while trying to take shots from the perfect angle.

Your photos and videos will also look crisp and vibrant as this drone comes with a 10-bit Dlog-M color profile that can easily record up to one billion colors. At the same time, even the tiniest details are retained, making the images pop. 

The best part is that the drone has O3 OcuSync 3.0 image transmission technology, ensuring a reliable feed. 

While testing this drone, we discovered that it could not travel long distances, and you need to be near the site for capturing images and videos. This might be a deal-breaker for those who want to take photos from far away.  

Camera Specs: 20 MP Camera | Video Capture Resolution: 5.4K@30fps | Flight Time: 31 min | Max Speed: 68.4 kph | Max Range: 18.5 km | Obstacle Avoidance: Advanced

5. Ruko Remote Control Drone

For those unaware, Ruko is one of the renowned manufacturers of technological products mainly for recreational purposes. These include robots, remote-controlled cars, and drones. This camera drone is one of the best products from the brand and can be used for purposes such as taking real estate photos with great results. 

Ruko is known for delivering high-quality products, and this F11GIM drone is no exception. It comes with two intelligent batteries that provide an outstanding battery life of up to 56 minutes, making it an ideal option for all your photography needs. 

Besides that, the brushless motors provide this drone with level-six wind resistance for greater flight stability. That means you won’t have to worry about the drone meeting with any accidents, even in windy conditions. 

And that’s not all. The onboard GPS navigation system comes with several useful features, such as Gesture Shooting, VR Mode, Filter, and more. These can be used for taking photos while adding an element of fun to the process. 

And speaking of photos, the 4K camera on this drone can take 30fps videos and 4K photos that look stunning thanks to the EIS technology.

The Ruko remote control drone is undoubtedly an outstanding option with a good camera and battery life. It only has one problem, which is that the navigation system may not work very well in areas with a weak GPS signal. So, check the GPS of your area before going with this option.

Camera Specs: 4K Ultra HD Camera | Video Capture Resolution: 4K@30fps | Flight Time: 20 min | Max Speed: 50 kph | Max Range: 300 m | Obstacle Avoidance: Basic

6. Parrot Foldable Drone

Parrot is your best option if you’re looking for a drone from a European manufacturer. The brand develops products that are equally suited for work and fun, which is evident in this foldable drone. It can be used for taking breathtaking videos and photos making it a compelling choice in this range. 

The first thing that you’ll notice with this drone is its compact size and lightweight build. This is possible due to the carbon frame, which weighs only 320 grams and makes carrying the drone very easy. Plus, this material makes it possible for the drone to unfold in under three seconds. 

Once in the air, you can take some beautiful shots thanks to the powerful camera equipped with an f/2.4 wide-angle ASPH lens. It can record videos in multiple formats, including 4K, 2.5K, or full HD. The camera also has a timer and a burst mode for those who want greater control.

Coming to the battery, the Parrot drone has a Li-Po battery that provides it with 25 minutes of flight time. Furthermore, the included USB Type C charger allows the battery to charge 60% faster than conventional chargers.

We loved the Parrot foldable drone right from the start, with its innovative features and stellar performance. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the companion app, which requires you to pay an additional amount for unlocking all the features. This might not go down well with some customers. 

Camera Specs: 4K HDR Camera | Video Capture Resolution: 4K@60fps | Flight Time: 34 min | Max Speed: 55 kph | Max Range: 8 km | Obstacle Avoidance: Basic

7. Autel Robotics Portable Folding Drone

When looking for the best drone for real estate photography, you cannot go wrong with this option from Autel Robotics. It boasts a powerful camera, a compact and foldable design for portability, and advanced safety features. All these come together to offer the best experience making this drone a worthy choice for all.

The EVO camera drone from Autel Robotics makes a lot of sense if foldability is a must-have feature for you. Aside from possessing a compact form factor, this drone can easily be folded up and placed in a backpack. 

And despite being such a small-sized drone, we were pleased to see that the manufacturer has not compromised on any of the features. It comes with a camera that can record 4K videos smoothly without experiencing any lags. 

Other than that, you get a controller remote that has a 3.3-inch OLED display that can be used to control the drone from 4.3 miles away. The dual GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning system is also for accurate navigation.

Plus, the one-touch buttons on the controller make it easy to control the drone even if you are a beginner. 

At times, you might find that the EVO drone does not return to the home spot. This issue might be with the navigation system and can be easily sorted out by a software patch. Other than that, we did not find any fault with this device. 

Camera Specs: 4K Camera | Video Capture Resolution: 4K@60fps | Flight Time: 28 min | Max Speed: 72 kph | Max Range: 7 km | Obstacle Avoidance: Basic

8. DJI Phantom 4 Drone

Next up on our list is the DJI Phantom 4, which is among the highest-rated products in this segment on the market currently. For the purposes of drone photography, this device is equipped with features like a 20MP CMOS sensor and a mechanical shutter that help take aerial photos easily. 

For architectural photographers, getting a clear image from a drone flying above the site is often difficult due to rolling shutter distortion. However, this DJI drone completely eliminates this issue by including a mechanical shutter with its camera. Add the 20MP CMOS sensor to this, and you get the clearest picture quality without any blurriness. 

Other features that are worth mentioning include a smartphone holder on the controller itself, which makes it easy to control the drone. Simply install the DJI Go 4 app on your smartphone to do so.

The flight performance of this drone is also unmatched, with a maximum flight speed of 72 kph and a transmission range of 8km. It supports 1080p live streaming and has automatic frequency switching, thanks to the OcuSync 2.0 technology.  

Last but not least, there are multiple flight modes for you to choose from, such as TapFly, Draw Mode, etc. 

DJI products are generally more expensive than the competition, and this drone is no different. If you do not wish to spend a large sum on a drone, this might not be a perfect choice. On the other hand, it is an excellent option for those who want the most powerful features. 

Camera Specs: 4K Camera | Video Capture Resolution: 4K@60fps | Flight Time: 28 min | Max Speed: 72 kph | Max Range: 5 km | Obstacle Avoidance: Advanced

Best Drones for Architectural Photography Comparison Table

Product Camera Specs Video Capture Resolution Flight Time Max Speed Max Range Obstacle Avoidance
DJI Mavic 3 Camera Drone Hasselblad Camera 5.1K@60fps 46 min 72 kph 15 km Advanced
DJI Mavic 2 Pro Hasselblad Camera 4K@60fps 31 min 72 kph 8 km Advanced
DJI Mavic Air 2 Drone 48 MP Camera 4K@60fps 34 min 68.4 kph 18.5 km Advanced
DJI Air 2S Aerial Drone 20 MP Camera 5.4K@30fps 31 min 68.4 kph 18.5 km Advanced
Ruko Remote Control Drone 4K Ultra HD Camera 4K@30fps 20 min 50 kph 300 m Basic
Parrot Foldable Drone 4K HDR Camera 4K@60fps 34 min 55 kph 8 km Basic
Autel Robotics Portable Folding Drone 4K Camera 4K@60fps 28 min 72 kph 7 km Basic
DJI Phantom 4 Drone 4K Camera 4K@60fps 28 min 72 kph 5 km Advanced

Drones for Architectural Photography Buying Guide

So, these were the best options if you’re looking to purchase a drone for real estate photography. However, knowing about these options might not be enough to help make a decision since that decision depends upon several factors. Here are some of the essential factors that should be considered when buying a drone to make the process easier:

1. Camera Type

When buying a drone for architectural photography, the camera is the main consideration since the quality of the photos and videos depends upon it. A poor-quality camera will result in defeating the very purpose of buying such a drone. The camera may be a part of the drone or there may just be a mount allowing you to attach any camera you like. 

2. Controllable Range

Select the drone depending on the distance from which you need to take photos and videos. The controller range determines how far the drone can go from the controller without losing contact. Generally, this distance ranges from 30 m to 1000 m, and the more expensive the drone, the greater the controllable range. 

3. Live Feed

The live feed allows a drone to transmit the video it captures to your smartphone or tablet in real-time. Since this is an advanced feature, it may not be present in all types of drones, and drones that have it are generally costlier. However, if it is important to your needs, then make sure to get one that offers a stable and good quality feed.

4. Battery Life and Charging Speed

A drone with a longer battery life can fly for longer periods before it needs to return home for recharging. Drones made for architectural photography generally have a battery life of 30 minutes, but costlier ones may even have a battery life of up to 60 minutes. Similarly, the charging time varies from two to five hours, but a few options have a fast charging feature. 

How does a camera drone maintain stability while flying?

Quadcopter camera drones control direction motion and maintain stability using four rotors. Two rotors rotate clockwise while the other two rotate counterclockwise. The camera sits at the center to take photos and record videos.

What wind speed is safe to fly a drone?

For beginners, it is recommended to avoid flying drones at wind speeds above 10-15 mph. However, advanced users can easily operate drones at speeds as high as 20 mph.

What are some tips for capturing great architectural photos with a drone?

To capture great architectural photos with a drone, make sure to plan your flight path in advance, use a high-quality camera, and consider the lighting and weather conditions. It’s also important to follow all FAA rules and regulations and to be respectful of people’s privacy and property.

Is it legal to fly a drone for architectural photography?

Yes, flying a drone for architectural photography is legal as long as you follow the rules and regulations set forth by the FAA. This includes obtaining a remote pilot certificate, registering your drone, and following airspace rules and restrictions.

Do I need a license to fly a drone for architectural photography?

Yes, you need a remote pilot certificate from the FAA to legally fly a drone for commercial purposes, including architectural photography.


This review-based guide has come to an end, and we hope it has been helpful to you in selecting the best drone.

Before leaving, let us just share our favorites from the list. The overall favorite is the DJI Camera Drone which comes with a Hasselblad camera and offers incredible picture quality with good battery life.

Another option is the DJI Remote Drone which is foldable and offers expandable storage support. While our final pick would have to be the DJI Mavic Air 2 which comes with simple controls and is ideal for beginners. 

With that it’s a wrap, see you next time! 

Related Articles

13 Best Light Meters on the Market

4 of the Best Large Format Printers for Photographers

7 Best Tripods for Macro Photography 

The 10 Best Cameras for Photographing Artwork

5 of the Best Tripods for Real Estate Architectural Photography

7 of the Best Cameras for Architectural Photography

7 Best Quadcopters For Videos And Aerial Filming

Leave a Comment