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Drone Wedding Videography: Is It Worth It?

Interested in hiring a wedding videographer with drone capabilities? Here’s everything you need to know when deciding whether it's worth it or not.

By The Zola Team

couple floating in ocean
Photo by Paul Gilmore Unsplash

Modern-day wedding planning looks a lot different than when our parents exchanged their vows. Now, we can build our own online wedding website, share a custom hashtag on social media, and incorporate other technology that can elevate the celebration. One of these modern developments is drone videography. In addition to capturing special moments on steady ground, you can hire a wedding videographer with drone experience to capture your wedding from up above. The result is a panoramic, bird’s-eye view that is invaluable and hard-to-achieve in any other way.

But, is drone wedding videography worth it? Let’s face it: The idea of having a drone at your wedding is pretty cool, and the images that you get as a result are unbeatable. Traditional videography footage remains important to capture the reactions of you and your soon-to-be spouse, plus all of your friends and family members. However, an aerial view can be absolutely breathtaking, especially if you’re getting married on the beach or at a sweeping estate or winery.

The decision comes down to the type of wedding you’re having, the venue, and what kind of angles you’d like to see during the day. Your wedding venue will play a big part in whether or not the idea of drone videography will be worth it to you. Cost is also a big consideration when adding this type of videography to your wedding package. The rental for a drone alone can cost several hundred dollars, in addition to the other traditional types of wedding videography you’d like on your wedding day. Capturing special moments and the sweeping landscape of a beautiful destination from above is priceless.

When weighing the option of using a drone at your wedding, there are several benefits, but also potential drawbacks, to consider that will help you decide if it’s in your best interest to have this technology at your wedding. Here’s the who, what, and where to consider if you’re thinking about incorporating drone photography for your big day.

Who Is Operating the Drone?

Who are you giving drone responsibility to? Consider whether to ask someone you personally know to take footage or whether to hire a professional who is skilled at taking wedding videos. There’s a difference when filming these moments that will make having a drone worth it. If you take up the offer of a friend or family member, check out other footage that they’ve shot. This route can help keep costs low, especially if you feel the quality is up to par.

However, if you want to keep the task in the hands of a pro, they’ll know the angles and highlights to capture so that you can feel confident that nothing is missed. A professional will also know how to edit the raw footage to create a wedding video set to music and with special effects, rather than a raw video of the special day.

Keep in mind that most videographers and studios have a cap on how long they’ll shoot drone footage, which may only be a few minutes versus the hours you’ll receive from traditional videographers. If your budget only has enough room for one or the other, you’ll want to take that into account, as well.

Most couples who choose to have aerial videography of their ceremony choose to capture the bride walking down the aisle or the procession of the wedding party after the wedding. Then, your wedding photographer can be responsible for getting the up-close shots and other candid moments of your ceremony and reception.

Drone Wedding Videography: Is It Worth It? Photo Credit // Josh Withers Unsplash

What Are the Rules About Aircraft?

Drones aren’t allowed in all areas. For examples, videographers in NYC are not likely allowed to use a drone at most venues in the city. You’ll want to check with your city and venue to ensure that you’re able to fly one, and if there are any restrictions involved. Many private estates don’t allow drone footage, and other places may not allow them either. Before you get too excited about the possibility of having one at your wedding, check with your wedding coordinator to make sure that you’re good to go at your chosen wedding venue.

Additionally, strong winds and drizzly weather conditions mean that operating a drone may be prohibited, as they are electronic devices and will malfunction. Even if you decide on capturing aerial footage via drone, if it’s not deemed safe on the day of your wedding, this will halt your videographer’s ability to film. Confirm that overhead footage makes sense for the season when your wedding day is taking place and walk through any contingency plans, if necessary.

Where Is Best for Filming?

Outdoor weddings at the beach, in a field, or in other sprawling spaces are the best to shoot with drone wedding videography. The idea is to capture the landscape for a cinematic feel. Depending on the style of the wedding video you want, this will factor into whether or not you feel a drone is worth it. For safety reasons, highly dense areas aren’t best for operating a drone, plus you’ll have less control over what will happen in your shot.

Also, the weather can be unpredictable, depending on the season. Consider the lighting of the time of your wedding ceremony and if a drone will be able to capture clear footage. For example, in autumn and winter months, when the sun sets earlier, a drone may not be able to fully capture the aerial view you’re hoping for if you’re having a late afternoon or evening ceremony. Make sure that the idea of drone wedding photography makes sense for the setting.

What to Look for in Drone Wedding Videographers

Although drones are becoming more popular, they are still fairly new to the wedding planning scene, and, therefore, you want to vet the videographers before finalizing your plans. A few questions to ask a wedding videographer when you meet are:

  • How long have you been using drones for wedding footage?
  • What kind of wedding video packages do you offer?
  • Do you use a mix of drone and traditional wedding videography?

Also, check out their sample videos to review the style of their work, and ask if they’ve filmed at your chosen venue before. Familiarity with the space and a record of beautifully shot footage of previous weddings instills confidence that yours will be handled well, too.

As with any vendor that you may hire, not all are at the same level. Take time to find one that meets your criteria in terms of quality, price point, and experience. Look for favorable online reviews and read the not-so-nice ones to get an idea of if the company was able to meet expectations.

Since prices can range significantly, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, make sure you know everything that’s included in the final cost. That includes hours of footage taken, how long the edited video will be, and any additional services the videographer offers.

Some videographers capture the moments in a documentary-style, while others put together a montage of edited footage. Consider if you want your video to include music, hyper-lapse, black-and-white content, or other special effects. If there are any specific elements that you want to be included in your particular video, be clear upfront with your expectations.

Ask if that’s already included in the deal or if there is an extra charge. Many videographers include this in their video packages to make it simpler for their clients, but it’s always best to double-check.

Drone Wedding Videography: Is It Worth It? Photo Credit // Marc A Sporys Unsplash

Wedding Shots to Capture With an Aerial View

The dramatic value of an overhead shot is like no other. If you decide to go the drone route, carefully consider the shot list to make the most of the time that you have with your videographer. Walking through the main focal points that you want to be captured will help guide the flow of the video and will ensure a good balance of the surroundings and important moments of the ceremony and reception. A few shots to consider are:

  • Bride walking down the aisle.
  • Couple’s procession out of the wedding ceremony.
  • Group photo of the wedding party and guests.
  • Moments between the couple in pre-staged shots.

Think about images that will look better from above and what you want to be included as part of your aerial footage.

Saying Yes to Drone Wedding Videography

The cool factor of having a drone may be enough to add it to your special celebration. As with any type of technology or modern details that are available to brides and grooms today, it creates even more excitement around planning your upcoming nuptials. After you’ve taken into account everything you need to know about the accessibility, cost, and expectations of hiring a drone wedding videographer, the outcome will be nothing short of sensational.

Watching your ceremony from this perspective is a fun way to reminisce. As newlyweds often say, the day goes by in such a blur that it’s nice to have moments captured on film to rewatch again and again, or see for the first time. There’s nothing like living in the moment as much as possible on your special day, but having a bird’s eye view available to you after you say your vows is a unique addition that’s worth looking into.

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