Drones take spectacular photos and videos, but is it really worth the extra cash to have one capture your wedding?
To drone, or not to drone—apparently, that's the question! With drone photography quickly rising in popularity, it is no surprise that we've seen the breathtaking shots these flying machines can capture. However, if you're still skeptical about aerial photography, we are happy to debate the pros and cons of having one shoot your wedding photos.
Are Drones Permitted
Policies are always changing. Drones are banned at all major National Parks and some cities don’t permit flying over private property. The FAA has an app called B4UFLY that will tell you if there are “unmanned aircraft” flying restrictions based on your location.
While this is less than glamorous, safety is the most important thing to keep in mind when you plan to hire a drone. Drones are essentially mini-helicopters equipped with cameras, so if the drone operator isn't a properly trained professional, you risk having any number of accidents on your hands. This is especially something to avoid particularly on your wedding day!
Planning and Professionalism Required
If your drone pilot doesn't have an established safety plan, insurance, extensive knowledge of how to operate said drone, or close coordination with the venue manager, wedding planner, wedding photographers and the couple, they can be a risk to your wedding party and guests. Make sure you have your wedding planner arrange for the ground photographer to collaborate with the drone flyer. They should sit down and go over their plans. Keeping everyone on the same page keeps everyone safe.
Get Drone Insurance
Every drone operator needs to show proof of personal property and liability insurance for commercial UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). This way, if something or someone gets hit (which is extremely rare, but still occurs from time to time), the operator is covered and the damaged object will be repaired. Trust us, don’t take the easy way out on this. Have your wedding planner double-check that your drone pilot has taken the maximum safety precautions. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
New Way to Capture Memories
Depending on your selected venue, hiring a pro drone pilot to shoot your wedding can be a no-brainer. You hire a professional drone operator for the same reasons you hire a wedding photographer. You want to make sure that the photos come out the best they can. After all, weddings only happen once; there are no reshoots. However, unlike a ground-based photographer, drones provide a whole new perspective and way to document your nuptials. It elevates the normal to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity capture a memories in a way that they will never be forgotten.
Take Advantage of Your Venue
Drone shots can capture dynamic, illustrative videos and images that display the scope and scenic context of your event. Drones offer unique and grand perspectives of the beautiful locations where people choose to say their “I dos.” Are you tying the knot on a mountainside, vast valley or other stunning location? Imagine looking through your wedding album on your 20th anniversary and having a sweeping aerial snapshot of your ceremony and venue. It's an amazing way to take full advantage of every aspect of the gorgeous space you chose.
Impossible Made Possible
Since drones are so versatile, you'll be able to get creative with your wedding imagery. Have your wedding planner gather your guests on the lawn to spell out your new initials or organize them in other fun ways to spell words or create shapes. We have found that drone photographers have caught several incredible, emotional moments that wouldn't have been possible to get from the ground, like the bride and her father hiding on one side of the house while the groom waits to see her at the altar—all in one shot. We get choked up just thinking about it! Some of the best photos end up being a couple's ceremony exit, surrounded by the sprawling green landscape and rolling hills or the beautiful cityscape and skyline. The contrast between the intimacy of those moments and the epic grandeur of the vista makes these shots so spectacular.
Drones are Sometimes a Good Distraction
From our experience, most guests are amazed by it. They actually approach the drone pilots and ask to take selfies with the pilot and the device. The drone then becomes an instant celebrity at your event.
Minding the Elements
Drones are pretty tough, but they're still electronic devices, so that means no flying in heavy rain or crazy winds over 25 miles per hour. The good news is that cold weather does not deter them. Most drones have insulated batteries and highly rated professional drone pilots will travel with a battery warmer to keep them ready right up until they're ready to fly. Plus, once the drone starts going it will generate its own heat. It is actually better to fly a drone in the cold because the air is more dense providing you with more lift. You can actually get a couple more minutes of flight time for winter weddings because the aircraft flies more efficiently. Just remember if your nuptials are taking place in a chilly climate, you might not get many shots of your guests outdoors anyway!
Its a Time Investment
Aerial shots take time to set up. Between setting up the take-off area to double checking that the batteries are charged to ensuring that the drone’s camera has a solid WiFi connection, the set-up process can be very tedious. Your wedding planner needs to make sure that you have the time in your day-of schedule to make a drone shoot worth it.
Outside Is Best
Drone pilots can fly vehicles inside, but not only is it much more risky, many venues will not allow it. Once your wedding planner gains permission of the venue, they will have to have the drone pilot asses that the ceiling is high enough to ensure the drone isn't in danger of hitting anything. Having enough space isn't the only issue, though. We highly suggest avoiding drone use at an indoor ceremony because of the noise. Overall, outside is probably be your best bet. If you're having an outdoor wedding, especially if it's on a piece of family property where it's timeless, beautiful and special, it will be well worth the additional budget splurge. Or if you choose to have your wedding on a boat, for example, how else are you going to get a shot unless you have a drone? Certainly something to consider.
Higher is not always better.
Photography drones produce beautiful, cinematic aerial shots. These remote-controlled quadcopters offer a macro view of your wedding that no one gets to see, but we recommend that they shoot at an angle. This way you can see more of your guest’s bodies, and not just the top of their heads.
Drones should always augment and never interfere, so definitely stay away from close-ups. Not only is it extremely unsafe, but it's also obnoxious, intrusive and quite loud. If you'd hoped to capture your vows with a drone camera, you're out of luck as there is no audio from the drone. The drone is simply there to capture the overall scene and feel of the moment. For example, you can film the bride walking in with her father or the couple meeting the officiant at the altar. You don’t want to detract from this special moment by being an interruption.
Drones are Something Your Gadget-Enthusiast Fiancée can get Excited About
If he or she isn’t exactly thrilled about planning every detail of the wedding, having a drone shoot may be something your fiancée can be psyched about. Trust us, tech-y partners light up when they get to this part of the planning.
And finally…you’ve got to admit, these photos are pretty fly.