Drone wedding photography is a fantastic way to document special moments. Thanks to the unusual angles, you can take all kinds of creative and emotional pictures that your clients will cherish forever.
Drones come with unique limitations and requirements. As long as you know what to avoid, you should have a smooth wedding photoshoot.
Become a Certified Drone Pilot
No matter how experienced you are in drone wedding photography, you need to get a certificate to be a drone pilot. Some wedding couples might be okay with hiring amateurs. This, however, is a bad idea as it comes with a lot of risks.
For your own wellbeing, make sure you get a certification. This will give you confidence during drone wedding photography. It will also give you more opportunities to work as a drone wedding photographer. (Most drone photo shoots require a certification to be considered legal.)
Drone laws are different in every country. In the UK, you need insurance for any commercial projects that involve drone photography. You also need permission from the CAA. Drones mustn’t fly above 122 meters.
And these are just a few of the many laws you need to keep in mind for drone wedding photography.
Get a Drone Insurance
Drone wedding photography doesn’t have the best reputation because of unfortunate accidents that have happened over the years.
There are many terrible examples of drones accidentally hurting wedding guests. Without insurance, you won’t be able to make up for the possible damage.
No matter where you live, make sure you get proper drone insurance. Hopefully, you won’t need to use it, but it will guarantee that the couple has a plan B in case something unwanted happens.
Use Google Earth for Great Drone Wedding Photography Ideas
If you’ve never been to the wedding venue, Google Earth or Google Maps might come in handy. Instead of fumbling and experimenting on the spot, you’ll know exactly what you need to take stunning drone photos.
You can plan out your drone wedding photography shots using the bird’s eye view tool or simply look for the most flattering angles to shoot from.
Then, take screenshots of your favourite points of view. You can share these with the other photographers later so you can all have a smooth photoshoot during the ceremony.
Practise at the Rehearsal to Be More Confident At the Ceremony
Wedding rehearsals are very common. They can be the perfect opportunity to make a solid drone wedding photography plan.
If possible, ask the couple to allow you to be present during the rehearsal, even for just a few hours. You don’t have to capture photos with your wedding photography drone, but it would help to have a few examples.
You can share these drone wedding photography examples with the couple to give them an idea of your style and plan. This is the perfect time to collaborate with your clients and come up with new drone photography ideas.
Make the Most of Your Space
One of the most important things to keep in mind during drone photography is obstacles. Look out for trees, tall buildings, and anything that could get in the way. Find the best spots to shoot from so that you don’t bother the guests.
Height is also an important factor. How high can your drone go before the wedding venues starts to look dull? How low can it be before it starts distracting everyone? This is a great time to discuss what your clients are comfortable with.
Talk to Other Photographers
There will likely be other photographers during the wedding. Make sure you get to know them and their plans. If you don’t plan ahead, you might end up getting in each other’s way, or taking the wrong kind of photos.
This process doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply ask them about their plans and let them know where you’ll be standing.
If possible, you could collaborate with them so that your final results complement one another.
Take Drone Photos Before and After People Arrive
This is an optional step, but it can help you take very creative drone wedding photos.
Using a high angle, take photos of the wedding venues before and after guests arrive. The difference between an empty and a crowded location will emphasise the love and warmth of the wedding.
To emphasise this further, place the photos side to side so that they become one photo. This is called a diptych. Diptychs are a great way to make use of outtakes and add more emotion to simple pictures.
Don’t Get Too Close to Guests
Drones tend to be very noisy. Given all the accidents they’ve caused, they’re not the best equipment for close-ups.
To stay on the safe side, don’t get too close to the guests or the couple when using a drone for wedding photography. The farther you are, the less distracting you’ll be. This will make it easier to take candid photos as well.
Of course, range plays an important role in drone wedding photography. The farther you go, the less detail you’ll be able to capture. Find an in-between that doesn’t create too much noise but lets you take atmospheric wedding photos.
Don’t Shoot Indoors
Some buildings have enough space for drone wedding photography. No matter how much space there is, don’t shoot indoors with a drone for wedding photography. It is risky, and the noise might create a lot of discomfort.
When everyone goes indoors, make use of the location. Since there’s no one around to get distracted, you can lower your wedding photography drone a little.
You can also go higher up to capture stunning aerial photography. You can use these outtakes in collages or diptychs to tell a more interesting story about the wedding.
Focus on Exposure
If the bride’s dress is white (which most of the time it is), pay close attention to your exposure. It needs to match the dress. If it doesn’t, the bride will look overexposed, and your drone photography will look unflattering in general.
Keep other bright subjects in mind as well, especially if it’s sunny. For example, if you’re shooting on a beach, make sure the water reflections aren’t overexposed.
Spell out Words Using Your Guests
This is a fun idea that can be achieved only with a drone. Shoot directly above the guests. Ask them to create shapes or words using their bodies.
Here are a few ideas:
- Spell out the word love or wedding. The shorter the word or phrase, the better.
- Create a heart shape with people. The bride and groom can be right in the centre of the heart.
- The bridesmaids can hold the bride’s wedding dress to create a beautiful circle. The bride can then throw a bouquet in the air.
Use Multiple Drones
Many professional drone pilots agree that using several drones is a good idea for drone wedding photography.
This way, you can capture as much of the wedding as possible. If a certain angle doesn’t work out, at least you’ll have a few more photos of the same moment.
You’ll need an assistant for this. Based on what wedding drone photographers have said about multiple drones, this is likely to be a worthy investment.
Capture Important Moments to Make Your Photos Emotional
Drone wedding photography can be lifeless if you don’t tell a story. Make sure that you focus on the emotional side of the wedding to make your drone pictures stand out.
To do this, shoot from different angles. You’re allowed to take atmospheric drone landscape shots, but don’t let that be your main focus. Go higher and lower so that your results are diverse and interesting.
The most important thing you should do is take a lot of photos during important moments:
- the guests arriving and greeting everyone
- the bride walking the aisle
- the couple exchanging their vows as everyone listens
- the couple’s first dance
- children playing after the ceremony
All of these moments will collectively tell an emotional story about the wedding.
Take Creative Aerial Photos After the Wedding
Because there won’t be any guests around, you won’t have to worry about noisy distractions. Use this as an opportunity to take creative couples pictures. Here are a few posing ideas:
- The bride and groom should lie next to each other in a field of grass. Take photos directly above them for a surreal effect.
- If the beach is close, draw something in the sand. This can be the date of the wedding or a romantic quote. The couple can lie down next to the words as you take photos right above them.
- If you’re in an atmospheric place, you can completely zoom out with your drone. Bridges, hills, and boats are perfect for stunning drone wedding photography.
Drone wedding photography comes with unique requirements. You need to be prepared both emotionally and technically.
Get a drone license, make a solid photography plan, and focus on the emotional side of the wedding. These three things will help you take unforgettable drone wedding photos.