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A recent drone stills photography job I did about a month ago on a very special piece of New Zealand Coastal property for sale.

The Brief

The brief from my Realtor client was to get 5-6 hero drone stills of a 813 acre coastal property and luxury lodge. This first shot was actually two shots stitched together in Adobe Lightroom.

The whole property for sale looking south

Sunshine finally on the Lodge

The Challenge

The main ‘challenge’ to this job was that the property was at the other end of the South Island of New Zealand from where I live.  It was a whole days plane and car travel to get to this remote location.  We had 3 days to get the job done which was effectively only one shooting day as we needed the other two days for travel.

Added to this was that we were relying on the property owners to predict a good weather window 3 or 4 days ahead which is no easy feat on a coastal New Zealand property!

The Tasman Sea

Looking North

Shoot Day

Our one and only shoot day dawned heavily overcast unfortunately but myself and the interior stills photographer charged ahead regardless as we couldn’t return home empty handed.

Overcast conditions and things weren’t looking their best

However the weather gods decided to play the game at about 1:30pm in the afternoon after spending the morning shooting in overcast conditions.  The benefits of going through the motions in the morning mean’t we knew exactly what spots to go back to to get the shots we needed once the sun popped.

We were also fortunate that once the sun did appear it was a nice and flattering late afternoon sun. Its also winter here giving a good low sun angle to help make things look good as opposed to a high and harsh overhead sun angle we get in mid summer.

A bit of wind sculpturing!


Limestone Cliffs

Your own private beaches included


Equipment Used

I shot the whole job with my DJI Inspire 2 and the Olympus 12mm lens (24mm focal length).  I shot in full manual mode with a very stock standard 5600k white balance and used the DJI app’s auto-bracketing feature for each shot which gives you approximately 0.5 – 0.8 of a stop each side of your exposure.  I shot it all in raw and editing the pictures in Adobe Lightroom.  From memory I think I went through 5-6 pairs of batteries on my Inspire 2.

Nikau Palm Forest


Was the Client happy?

Yes the client and the property owners were very happy with the drone shots and the interior shots that my colleague took.  It would have been a bit disappointing if the sun had not appeared and we returned with only the overcast shots.  I would have loved to have shot some video of the property but neither my Realtor client or the property owner were interested in getting a video done.  I need to work on selling the benefits of video better!

The Lodge on Dusk


The Purchase price?

In case you are interested in purchasing a slice of prime and remote coastal New Zealand, including the lodge, its selling for NZ$23,995,000 or approx US$16.5 million.  Let me know if you are interested!