Ok, you have found Prince Charming and/or matched the slipper to your Cinderella and you are ready to pull the trigger and let the world know. With the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. inching over $30,000, you want to make sure you can capture the moment, the spirit, and everything in between in order to remember your special day.
As you have wisely decided not to ask Uncle Leonard to be your Drone Videographer, you will need to find and vet someone to make sure that you get the perfect, (or at least not terrible) aerial footage.
1.) Experience: Can they fly a Drone?: The last thing you want is for a drone to come crashing down on people’s heads or a loud crash followed by an “oops” during your most solemn of moments. How long has your prospective drone provider been doing flying a drone? How many batteries do they have on hand? When you discuss the venue, do they seem confident or unsure? Keeping in mind no one has been an aerial wedding photographer for 5 years but you may not want to be someone’s first client.
2.) Equipment: Like most people who hire a drone for the first time, you may not know a lot about drones to begin with. And while you may get overwhelmed if someone starts firing off tech specs there are some important concept you can grasp quickly. The vast majority of people flying drones are flying a version of DJI’s drones. If your photographer is flying a Phantom 3 or an Inspire 1, you are in good hands. The 4K cameras and image processing software these drones feature are state of the art.
If your photographer is using a custom rig with GoPro camera, you want to make sure the camera is at least 1080p and there is a plan to stabilize the image when the drone is in the air (like a gimbal).
And finally, you want to make sure your photographer has backup hardware. Batteries die quickly, props can break fairly easily, and even fly aways aren’t out of the question.
A good photographer is a prepared photographer.
3.) Local Knowledge: Do they know the local regulations? Technically, nobody is supposed to pay anybody to take pictures via drone at a wedding as per the FAA. However, there are plenty of workarounds for this highly unenforceable rule and just as many pilots who are disregarding the FAA’s wishes with no remorse.
So, the only legal risk you run is a visit from local law enforcement. It is important you employ someone who either knows how to deal with this situation if it should arise or knows how to navigate the proper channels to ensure this situation doesn’t happen in the first place.
4.) Examples: Can you see examples of their work? Unless it is their first job, (see the first entry on this list), ask to see the video from previous shoots.
You and your better half are obviously much better looking than the people in these videos, but do you like the way the shots are set up? Does it show the same moments and settings that you are hoping for? Is your photographer open to listening to you as you express your opinion? Not all providers are a good fit even if they do a good job so don’t be afraid to ask probing questions.
Think you have all this down and feeling ready to start a dialogue with a drone photographer in your area? Find a service provider at JobsforDrones.
CEO DroneLife.com, DroneRacingLife.com, and CMO of Jobfordrones.com. Principle at Spalding Barker Strategies. Proud father of two. Enjoys karate, Sherlock Holmes, and interesting things. Subscribe to all things drone at DroneLife here.