Insider's Guide to Drone Photography at Your Wedding

By Up&Up Drone Photography and Luke Ellery

Planning a wedding can be a time consuming and stressful exercise. There’s the dress, the destination, the dinner, the drinks and now, the drone. Drone photos and videos can capture a completely unique perspective on your big day and offer some stunning reminders what all that admin was worth it in the end.

With drone photography for weddings becoming more and more popular we wanted to share a few tips for what to be aware of when you’re looking at booking a drone photographer for your upcoming wedding.

1. What can you expect from a drone wedding photographer? 

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All image by Up&Up Drone Photography 

In 99.9% of cases, a drone photographer will work in conjunction with your traditional, on-the-ground photographer. Neither can replace what the other does as they are each quite specialised skills, so it’s best if you’ve got a beautiful setting for your wedding or reception to consider a drone photographer in addition to your traditional photographer. Feel free to ask your photographer if they know anyone or get in touch with the team at Auckland Weddings. Ensure that both photographers are in touch before the big day so they can coordinate and discuss plans ahead of time.

Typically a traditional photographer will be with you throughout the day, snapping away as you get ready, walk down the aisle, have your bridal party photos, cry during speeches and dance the night away. A drone photographer is best used for a shorter time period and focused on key shots that are, unsurprisingly, best from an aerial perspective to showcase the setting or surrounding that you’re in. These are normally taken during the bridal party photos between ceremony and reception to get some intimate couple shots but are also great for group shots at the reception or sunset photos too.

So, you’ll typically need a drone photographer on site for 2-3 hours, depending on what your schedule looks like, and you’ll end up with anywhere between 20-30 stunning shots ready to share with friends and family online or frame as special memories. They can also shoot video and during the same timeframe you’d likely receive one video around 2 minutes or they can supply the footage to your videographer. 

2. What do I need to think about when booking a drone wedding photographer?

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You’ve probably heard a few stories in the news recently about inexperienced drone pilots getting into trouble. That’s because, currently, the regulations in New Zealand are more relaxed than they are in other parts of the world. However, there are still regulations that you should be aware of and ensure your drone photographer complies with. Here are a few questions to ask upfront to ensure you’re picking someone who knows what they’re doing.

a) Where will they be flying? 

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Be sure to let your drone photographer know where you will be for the ceremony, reception and any areas you’re planning on heading off to have your traditional photos taken. They’ll need this information to check the airspace in those areas to confirm that it is safe to fly. For example, there are rules around flying within 4km of any airstrip, flying at night and also flying over private property. An experienced drone photographer, with what’s known as a 101 or 102 CAA certificate will help guide you through this and take care of any permissions required to ensure the flights are not going to end up on the news!

b) Is it going to be noisy?

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Drones, by their very nature, can be a little noisy. To avoid taking the attention away from the happy couple it’s best to have them steer clear of the formal ceremony itself. Even up to 100m away you’ll likely be able to hear a light hum from the drone so keeping them for times where this isn’t going to be noticed or intrusive makes the most sense.

c) Can they fly in all weather? 

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The short answer here is, no. Drones, being electronic, don’t mix well with rain so your photographer would be grounded during this time for the safety of your guests. Wind can also be an issue if you have a very windy venue, however, most drones have sophisticated systems to keep them as steady as possible even in strong winds. It’s best to have the drone photographer scout the venue beforehand if you’re concerned about high winds and to stay in touch regarding the weather forecast the week prior to the wedding

d) What happens if it crashes?

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In the unlikely event of something not going to plan, some drone photographers will bring a backup drone so you don’t miss out. It’s best to check that your drone photographer has liability insurance too just in case there’s an unlikely issue that causes injury or damage to property. 

Up&Up has CAA certified drone pilots who love to capture weddings around our beautiful country. They are Auckland based but regularly travel for work with packages starting from just $600. Check out their work at www.upandup.co.nz or get in contact with Chris ([email protected]) for any questions. 


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