Your kid brother got a drone for Christmas and now wants to use it to take pictures at your wedding. Should you let him?
You'd never consider hiring anyone other than a professional photographer, so take the same care in hiring a drone operator to get those stunning aerial shots. Dan Edmonson, owner of Dronegenuity, a drone agency with operators nationwide, gives some pointers in picking the best.
1. Check the certification.
A Federal Aviation Administration-certified operator will have the know-how to keep you out of legal trouble. Drones may only fly at certain altitudes and in specific airspaces. A certified operator will be familiar with the permissions around your site.
Many certified operators work with drone agencies or other photographers. An agency will do quality control on the operators they hire, which saves you time.
2. Know the noise factor.
Edmonson says sometimes drones can be as loud as a lawn edger. "That's not what you want when they're playing 'Here Comes the Bride.'" Distance shots are the best option for ceremony pictures.
3. The not-so-great indoors.
"Drones can capture great shots from heights as low as 10 to 20 feet; however, I would only recommend planning to film an indoor ceremony with a drone if you truly know what to expect."
Along with electrical interference, low lights and confined spaces directly overhead can cause safety issues. Indoor drone operation also has special federal requirements. If you're doing an all-indoor wedding, this may not be the best option.
4. They don't run forever.
Drone batteries run for about 25 to 30 minutes before needing to be replaced and recharged. Most drone operators will have backup batteries, but you should confirm that beforehand – and be prepared to take your pictures quickly.