When Emily Sieverding walked down the aisle, the little quad-copter buzzing quietly above broke the clichÃ©. Like every wedding, Chad and Emily’s was perfect, but with a little twist. There was no camera out in the vast expanse of wedding venue when they smiled an "I do!", except for a small drone, which spun all the magic.
For all the photographers out there looking for a fresher perspective and all those planning to get married, I come bearing good news. There is a new kind of photographer in town. Drones are now the next big thing in wedding photography.
The new tech
A drone is a relatively small aircraft that is piloted by a remote control on the ground or onboard computers. Previously, this technology was solely employed by the military and special operation, but with time and newer innovations in technology, it has been commercialized. And photography is one of the sectors that it has been put to use in. Personal drones are presently a hobbyist’s gear most often used in aerial photography.
Why drones are the next big thing
There is more to wedding photography than the overdone cliches and redundant poses. And this is where drones come in. According to wedding photographer Dale Stierman, "As a professional photographer, I'm always thinking about different ways to capture light and get different perspective, so I thought there had to be a way I could use this (drone) for weddings. My first try was in June." He took the wedding party to a beautiful spot overlooking the Mississippi river. What followed was an exquisite bunch of images capturing a nice panorama of the building with the bride and groom up top.
The concept of drones provides a unique and versatile approach to wedding photography. A drone can capture bird’s eye views, close-ups, aerials, smooth video footage, indoor and outdoor shots employing a variety of techniques and angles. With drones, the possibilities are endless. This is what makes them the next big thing.
First things first, before sending out a drone buzzing in the sky, you need to check in with your local law. The FAA guidelines in the US stipulate that drones are required to stay within 400 feet above the ground and should not come within 3 miles of an airport or air traffic.
A few drones worth considering include the following:
- DJI Phantom 2
- 3D Robotics’ Iris
- Parrot AR Drone 2.0
- Hubsan X4 micro quadcopter
- STORM Drone 6 GPS
You need to keep two things in mind while getting your own drone:
- Do you want your aircraft to come with a camera?
- Would you be controlling your drone via a remote or a smartphone? In that case, you might have to look into how long-lasting your battery needs to be.
If you have decided not to get a drone without a built-in camera, then you need to get a video camera separately that will provide the best image quality for the drone’s size and weight. However, the good news is that, you do not need a fancy, expensive camera for drone photography as long as there is no vibration.
A few extra equipments that you might need to fulfill your drone wedding photography escapades include gimbals (to support the rotation of an object), vibration isolators (for small drones), video transmitter and receiver (to get a noise-free video). You can also get accessories like a special RC remote or anti-gravity motors.
A few bittersweet drone experiences
A handful of wedding vows have already been exchanged with the drone happily clicking away the coveted candid photos of the cherished wedding albums. Two incidences stand out.
Inez Edwards was first introduced to the concept of drone photography when she approached her wedding photographer. And she was fascinated. So in October, as she walked down the aisle, a drone buzzed away overhead, spinning its magic. " The drone captured every single person walking into the ceremony without them knowing. That was pretty cool", Edwards said later. The icing on the cake unfolded when the guests told her afterwards that the drone made them feel like they were attending a celebrity wedding.
However, the June 21wedding of Randy Florke and Sean Patrick Maloney in Cold Spring, New York didn’t turn out to be as expected when a buzzing drone left Mr. Maloney’s pride in tatters. He has been quoted as saying, "Like most people who are about to get married, I wasn't up-to-date on the lack of regulations around the emerging technology of a wedding photographer mounting a camera on a remote control helicopter, and now a month after our wedding, even more judges have confirmed the absence of laws and regulations. Every day another group of photographers, filmmakers, farmers, search and rescue teams, or researchers are expressing their frustration with the total lack of clarity on a technology that could save lives or simply take a few wedding photos."
Even with all the glitches, drone photography seems to be an exquisite choice for candid wedding shots. A few tweaks here and there could actually take wedding photography to a whole new level. Here’s hoping.