Is it a bird? A plane? Superman? Most likely not, however it might very well be a drone. Wedding photographers are increasingly strapping digital cameras to drones to capture a different side of the wedding that otherwise would have been more costly and difficult to achieve. If the photographer takes the necessary precautions, drones are perfectly safe and worth the investment. Before you hire the next guy with a drone, consider the following five things.
1. A view from above
The biggest advantage of capturing your wedding from the air is the original photo ideas you can achieve with it. It can bring a real element of Hollywood to even the smallest of weddings. Your photographer can fly the drone high and capture the entire scene and venue, or fly a little lower and zoom in for detailed pictures.
2. Know what you want to capture
Depending on the aircraft the photographer uses, he or she may not be able to fly for long periods of time. So it is important to discuss the location, what you want to capture and let them advice you on the available options. Most battery powered drones can fly for up to 30 minutes at the time and professional photographers usually either have additional battery packs or are able to charge the battery on location. On average flights of 15 minutes are enough to capture the shots most couples want.
Some couples forgo the great aerial shots, because they are afraid their guests might get distracted by the noise or feel uncomfortable with an aircraft hovering above them. Although most battery powered drones are relatively quiet, there will be some noise and your guests will probably look up to see what’s going on. However, you can inform your guests beforehand that aerial shots will be taken and besides, people tend to get used to them very quickly. If you are worried about their privacy, don’t. This day and age no one really has expectations of privacy at a wedding. Everyone will be equipped with smart phones and will be eager to use it. Besides, most guests will be happy to pose for the wedding photographer and videographer, irrespective of whether they use a ground based camera or drone-mounted camera.
4. Safety first
When it comes to drones, safety issues are negligible, provided that the pilot knows what he or she is doing and takes the necessary precautions. Professionally trained photographers always have an abort plan, never fly the drone out of sight and take the appropriate height and speed range into account. They also contact the appropriate authorities should flying the drone interfere with air traffic or pose other types of issues.
5. Choose carefully
Not anyone can mount a camera on an aircraft and take beautiful pictures, so make sure you hire a photographer that is trained in that field. Shooting stunning pictures from a ground based camera takes years of practice, so imagine how much more qualified the photographer needs to be when shooting from the air with a moving camera strapped to a small aircraft. To get amazing and stabilised photos requires that the photographer not only understands the technical side of flying the drone, but also knows what to shoot and how to make best use of light, framing and perspective.
Aerial photography is as much an art form as any other type of photography. If done right, it is worth the investment.
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