Eye in the Sky
When it comes to love and marriage, “drone” is probably not a word that pops into most people’s minds. But if a growing trend in wedding photography is any indication, it might be an association that many will begin to make.
Imagine standing with your husband- or wife-to-be in the middle of a massive field with an aerial camera capturing you — and the surrounding greenery — as a testament to the enormity of your commitment. Or perhaps you’ve chosen to have your wedding atop a sun-soaked cliff, with a gorgeous, elevated angle giving observers a bird’s-eye view of your lofty nuptials. These are two examples of actual wedding photos and videos taken by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are also known as drones — remote control devices that aren’t subject to the same movement restrictions as human photographers.
Doing something this elaborate and technologically complex for a wedding may seem intimidatingly expensive to the average couple, but the service is already available from businesses in or near the Merrimack Valley. Somerville’s Above Summit is probably the most well-known. The company’s work has even received a significant amount of media coverage, from a story about a Salem, Mass., couple on Boston’s 7News to the prominent use of Above Summit photos in a Washington Post article. Other local companies include Air-Reelz in Manchester, N.H., and Haverhill-based Camera In The Sky.
If you’re considering a soaring perspective on your wedding — or perhaps the wedding of a loved one — there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. First, make sure the venue has given the OK to take photographs with drone technology. Some public places, such as wildlife refuges and national parks, are bound by Federal Aviation Administration restrictions that prevent the use of UAVs. And if you’re on private property, you certainly don’t want to be giving the owner an unexpected surprise.
Visit Air-Reelz.com/weddings to see the latest in aerial wedding videos.
As for the cost, professional photographers offer different rates for capturing drone footage, so shopping around isn’t a bad idea. Some charge an hourly rate (sometimes as low as $200, according to a BuzzFeed report) and some tack the price onto the fee for the photography package itself (which could run you $700 or more, but with no time restrictions).
Even if you’re not working under a time crunch, it’s good to plan out two things: a precise segment of time for filming, and the specific shots you’d like to have. It’s true that having a drone present is sure to wow onlookers, but be aware that the devices can also be a bit of a distraction. Drones generate a significant amount of noise while flying, and they will require the vigilance of the guests as they are quite heavy and constantly moving, and can be dangerous without the proper care and handling.
Planning your shots in advance helps the photographers, who may need extra time to set up certain angles (a straight-down view from a great height looks amazing, but it takes a long time to prepare). Planning also provides an opportunity to have some fun with the experience, scoping out potential locations and picking the right snapshots for your album.
If you decide against the professional route, you will be in the company of others who have brought their DIY ethic to drone photography. Some camera-tailored UAVs can be purchased for as little as $500 online. Just be aware of safety protocols connected to remote control devices, and definitely don’t go into the experience blind (read the proper materials, and spend plenty of time rehearsing). Keep in mind, too, that state and federal laws concerning the use of UAVs are constantly evolving. So, be sure to do some research on the regulations in your area before you commit to using a drone. After all, you want your loved ones to remember your wedding for the right reasons.
Photos courtesy Air-Reelz, LLC.
Above Summit: Somerville, Mass. / (617) 575-9596 / AboveSummit.com
Air-Reels: Manchester, N.H. / (978) 34-SKY-NH / Air-Reelz.com
Camera In The Sky: Haverhill, Mass. / (978) 494-6640 / CameraInTheSky.com