Should You Hire a Drone on Your Wedding Day?

I’ve been asked more than once if I’ll ever add drone photography to my repertoire of skills. My answer has always been, and will always be for as long as I can foresee, “no.”

It’s really important for me to master the art of still photography. (When I say master, I mean actually master like Van Gough, Rembrandt, or Michelangelo OR Jerry Ghionis, JB Sallee, or Rocco Ancora when talking about the world’s top wedding photographers of today.) This could take a lifetime… if I am even able to ever achieve this feat. I want to accomplish this goal before adding any skills to my bag of tricks. So I will not be learning to fly a drone any time soon. But, I don’t want that to deter you from considering drone photography on your wedding day. I do want you to be fully aware of what to look for and expect if you do.  

drone filming a wedding couple

The photographic perspective from a drone is spectacular. It is one that can not be achieved no matter how brave a photographer is or the risk they are willing to take. It simply can’t be replicated from a high balcony, a hilltop, a ladder, or even a sky lift. No matter what elevational assist there is, a drone will always be able to top it. But, is it worth it to spend the extra cash at your wedding to capture these bonus perspectives?

Drone photography is quickly gaining traction in the wedding world. I watched some amazing… and I do mean mind-blowing, awe-envoking, unbelievably-good, amazing wedding cinematography at this year’s WPPI image and film competition that used drones to capture footage. I was actually so moved by several of the short films, that I shed a tear (or 15) and I didn’t even know one of the couples featured. The films were just exceptional. The shots captured by the drones were just breathtaking. 

If you’re considering having a drone at your wedding day, here are some things I think you should consider.

Should You Hire a Drone on Your Wedding Day?

Above all, safety.

I always believe that safety is the most important thing to keep in mind when hiring all of your wedding day creatives. A drone is an unmanned, flying mini-helicopter with rotating blades and an attached camera. You should make sure that your drone operator is a properly trained professional. He will be hovering this tiny aircraft over your guests’ heads and near children. You do not want the drone to become a weapon of destruction, mass or otherwise. (It happens. I’ve witnessed a drone crash at a wedding. Thankfully, no one was injured.)

Insurance is a must.

As with all wedding vendors, personal property and liability insurance is a must. This way, if a crash does happen, the operator is covered and the damaged property can either be repaired or replaced.

Planning is required.

Everyone should be on the same page. The venue manager, wedding planner, ground photographer and videographer, and the couple should all have a clear and concise idea and agree of the drone photographer’s execution plan for the day and safety plan. The ground crew and the drone operator should collaborate together.  

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How close?

In my opinion, drones should not be used for close-ups—especially during a live event, like your ceremony. There’s too much risk involved and they are just too annoying with the constant buzzing sound they make. If I’m conscious of the clicking sound I’m making with my shutter, the drone operator should by hyper aware of the whizzing sound he’s making with his drone and how intrusive it can be during intimate parts of your day.

Mind Mother Nature.

You need to be aware that a drone is an aircraft and can’t fly in every weather condition. They must steer clear of winds over 25 miles per hour and heavy rains. The good news? Besides some minimal effects on the battery life, cold weather really has no impact.

drone aerial wedding photography san antonio wedding photographers 4S2_3356

Show off your location.

Shots and video from a drone will be able to capture more dynamic and illustrative imagery that really show off the location of your venue. Only a drone can deliver a grand perspective of a sweeping valley, a mountainside venue, the flowing river behind your giant party boat, the modern, sprawling cityscape or centuries-old architecture. These shots will really showcase and drive home the reason why you chose the place you did to wed.

Think twice about indoor shots.

Drone pilots can fly indoors, but it’s a risky maneuver. Very high ceilings are needed and there has to be no danger of hitting hanging obstacles. It’s usually not recommended, but use extreme caution if you’re considering asking your drone pilot to fly indoors.

In closing, drone photography can be jaw-dropping if captured by a seasoned professional. It should never be the only source of documenting your wedding day. It should always be used to augment the traditional ways of telling the story of your wedding day. I don’t think it’s meant to be used independently, like the images from the ground photographer or the footage from the ground videographer can. But, I do think it can adds tons of beautyworth and depth to the still images and video that is collected for you. Drone photography can definitely add that cinematographic quality to your wedding day. After all, don’t you want to reminisce about your wedding as if it were a movie? 

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san antonio senior portrait photographers ata-girl photography since 2010I am a WPPI-C certified professional wedding and senior photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I pride my business in offering a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations. As a full-time professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide amazing, memorable and full-service photography.

I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.

When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents would be proud of!

The post, Should You Hire a Drone on Your Wedding Day?, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.

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