Are Drones the Next Big Trend in Wedding Photography?

Our local experts weigh in.



Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen a ton of coverage about drones—also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles ” which are either controlled by someone on the ground or programmed to fly a certain route—and their use in everything from the military and real estate marketing and dramatic nature photography—to, of course, wedding photography.

It didn’t take long for drone photography to find its way into the wedding world as an option for couples who want to capture aerial images of their Big Day. But we wondered: Will these little flying shutterbugs really become the next big trend in wedding photography? We wouldn’t want a repeat of this, after all—but nonetheless we were curious to pick the brains of our local photographer friends to gauge their thoughts on this unusual method of getting the shot.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

David Campli, Campli Photography, Malvern: “We have used drones in corporate work, but we have not used them in wedding photography. I am seeing too many mishaps that are ending badly. Not to mention the intrusion during a ceremony and such. Although I think the angle can be really cool, it does not warrant the possibility of ruining a brides day.”

Emily Wren, Emily Wren Photography, Northern Liberties: “I first heard about drone’s use in wedding photography from the NY Times article, “Bird? Plane? No, It’s the Wedding Photographer.” I was very intrigued by this idea and I soon started seeing drone footage popping up in my colleagues wedding videos. I think the aerial footage looks so ethereal as it floats into the air and captures the entire wedding venue or outdoor ceremony. But as a wedding photographer, I would say the visual power of drone footage really lends itself to video rather than still photography, with those swooping pan shots! Since the NY Times article I have heard that there are some complicated zoning issues that apply to the use of these devices that would give me pause about adopting a drone myself.”

Dave Williams, CinemaCake, King of Prussia: “We absolutely love drones, but for the right applications. For example, a multi-rotor should never be flown over a group of people for obvious reasons—the biggest being gravity. The smaller ones like the Phantom may never cause more than a bruise if it hits someone, but some of the birds are pretty hefty. I would say most weddings with a picturesque venue from the air would benefit from aerial shots. The important thing to remember is to follow the basic rules: keep it under 400 feet, never near airports and never over people.”

Gabe Fredericks, Philip Gabriel Photography, Media: “Personally I don’t feel that drones are an ideal piece of equipment used for documenting a wedding or any special and intimate event. Drones tend to be a distraction and the last thing that I feel most brides and grooms, or clients in general, want are their guests paying attention to a camera flying overhead, making noise and being disruptive. I just don’t feel that the overhead angle is adding that much to a wedding-day video or series of photographs that it’s worth the negatives that may go along with it. Drones definitely have their place in the video and photography world and when used correctly can be extremely effective and offer a unique perspective to a lot of projects.”

Geoff Conklin, Alison Conklin Photography, Allentown: “We have worked at several weddings where they have utilized drones—we think they’re really cool. The best use we have seen is establishing shots of venues. Many beach wedding videos can really wow you with the angles the drones can get by flying from above the water down to the beach where the reception is happening. As far as using drones during the ceremony, we have not seen that simply because drones are kind of loud, like a weed wacker.”

So, there you have it. The consensus seems to be that although drones can be a cool way to capture a bird’s-eye view of your Big Day, they can be rather distracting, not to mention dangerous, so you’ve got to consider noise and collision risk before deciding if and where to use them. If you do choose to have a drone snap footage of your wedding, just be sure you find an expert who’s familiar with how it all works.

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