Do photographers use drones?

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Some photographers use drones all of the time, whilst others prefer to stick in their niche and not use drones for their product services or offerings. Drone technology is becoming more and more integral to photographers as the general public expect photographers also to have their drone. This is true for wedding photographers, real estate photographers, and other areas where shop variety is incredibly important.

Not all photographers use drones, but more and more photographers are utilising drones to expand their product offerings for their clients. Drone technology has improved so much that it is easier than ever to use a drone even as your first photography tool.

This article will go over everything you need to know about whether or not photographers use drones and the pros and cons for any photographer.

Do photographers need a drone?

There are plenty of exciting reasons a photographer may consider purchasing a drone—everything from offering new services, enhancing their creativity, and rising to the expectation of the market.

There is nothing to say that photographers NEED a drone, but learning about drone technology and the potential use cases for a photographer may help them in their creative pursuit or attract new clients.

Reasons photographers need a drone

If you are a photographer and considering purchasing a drone, here are some reasons you may want to purchase a drone.

Whether or not you are simply using your drone for a creative outlet or you are a seasoned professional photographer who is offering services to a range of people, purchasing a drone may be perfect for you.

Open new services

For professional photographers purchasing a drone opens up a new service offering to enhance your photography business. Alongside photography, a drone can provide videography and other location scouting benefits.

If you want to know whether or not it is worth starting a drone business, check out my other article. I go through all aspects of starting a drone business, including how profitable it is, how to start a drone business and its costs, and the other side costs that not many people consider.

Is it worth starting a drone business

You may also want to consider if your drone offering will become valuable in the market that you are offering your services. If there is not much competition, it could be the perfect thing that sets you apart from your competitors.

Enhanced creativity

it doesn’t matter if the drone purchase is for hobby or professional reasons – having a drone makes a huge difference to the creativity you can use to capture photos.

When I first flew my drone, I was always amazed at how amazing it was to see the current location from the sky. There is no doubt that it made a huge difference in my ability to appreciate even the most simple surroundings.

A bird’s eye view can create an awe-inspiring feeling in many people. The creativity rush I get every time I fly my drone is something that every photographer should experience at one stage or another.

If you are a photographer and want to boost your creativity, a drone may be the perfect opportunity to do just that.

It has become expected

Throughout the years, being a “Photographer” has changed. It is expected that photographers keep up to date with the common technology on the market and are, at least, familiar with the latest trends.

Drone photography took off in early 2005 when the technology became cheap enough for anyone to purchase.

Many photographers suddenly got inundated with requests and information about purchasing drone photos and videos.

If you are a professional photographer, it is likely the market expects you to understand and operate a drone.

Wedding photographers, real estate photographers, and other niche photography pursuits often need a drone to provide photos that their clients demand.

If you listen to what your clients and your customers want, you may be able to forge out a niche in which no one can compete with you.

That brings me to my last point in this section.

Own a niche in their market

An easy way to completely dominate as a photographer is to find your niche and dominate in it.

Because drone technology is a much more recent addition to the photography world, it is easier to become well-known. Early adopters of drone technology will have created a name for themselves in the drone photography niche.

As time goes on, this niche will become more and more competitive. Still, the continual technological advancement in this space means that if you stay on top of the latest technology and capabilities of drones, you’ll be in a position to stand out in the marketplace.

Here are why photographers may not want to purchase a drone and decide not to use one.

Reasons photographers do not need a drone

One thing about drones is that they are a tool first and foremost.

Depending on the photographer and their interests, they may not need or desire a drone for their use cases.

Here are some of the common reasons photographers may decide not to use a drone.

Extra expense

There is no doubt that drones are an extra expense.

Photography gear is notoriously expensive, and keeping your gear up to date and in good working order is a very expensive endeavour.

If you add a drone to that mix, it can quickly add up to many thousands of dollars of equipment.

The drone purchase, propellers, batteries, and other accessories can mean that a drone can cost up to US$3000 and require ongoing maintenance costs such as new propellers and batteries.

Also, depending on the legislation in the photographer’s home country, you may have two apply for licenses and other certificates to fly your drone. In some countries, the regulations are very restrictive and, to fly in nice places, you have to jump through a lot of red tape.

As soon as there is a lot of red tape, everyone wants a cut of the profit generated. This small amount of money can quickly add extra expenses that a photographer does not want to pay.

Not in their niche

Photography has been around for a long time, and some photographers simply do not want to purchase a drone because they have no interest in doing so.

Some old school photographers may wish to shun the new drone technology altogether. If a new piece of tech comes along, the purists tend to avoid that technology and focus on perfecting their craft on one tool rather than diluting their efforts onto the latest technology.

Other photographers have already found a niche in which they are successful. It does not matter whether it is wedding photography, event photography, real estate photography, or another niche; it does not matter.

Avoiding using a drone and the added expense is not worth it as it does not benefit their creative preferences.

Extra regulations

One thing I love about photography is that it is relatively free of legislation and other red tape.

I’m not too fond of excessive paperwork or bureaucracy, and a drone is becoming increasingly bureaucracy driven. In the early days of flying a drone, you can do pretty much anything. The legislation in many countries took a while to catch up to the public’s concerns around cameras flying around their property.

Nowadays, the extra regulations can be a bit more of a headache, which some photographers have decided to avoid.

What kind of drones do photographers use?

 Whether you are a hobby photographer or a seasoned professional – there are drones at every budget to suit your style of photography.

Hobby Photographers

hobby photographers are likely going to want a relatively inexpensive drone with a range of features.

DJI has dominated the market in this lower price range with their DJI mini-series drones.

DJI Mini Series

The DJI mini-series continues to be evolved by the manufacturer and is typically punctuated with an ultralight and foldable drone, which is less than 249 g in weight. Click here to find out the FULL details.

These drones have:

  • a flight time of 31 minutes
  • a 10 km video transmission range
  • a level V wind resistance
  • ultra-clear 4K video
  • and intelligent modes and quick shots.

The low weight means that it escapes many legislative hurdles in many countries. It fits into the palm of your hand and is ideal for travelling.

Being able to resist 29 to 38 km/h winds and has a maximum takeoff altitude of 400 m means the footage is stable even along a windy coastline or high in the mountains.

Amazingly, they have been able to pack such an amazing array of features into a small and affordable drone.

If you are new to droning, this is a feature-packed drone that you should seriously consider.

Content creators

Content creators on YouTube and other platforms are always keen to capture the best footage possible and have a slightly higher budget to purchase better drones.

Content creators want to create awe-inspiring content that keeps people riveted. Adding B-roll drone footage has become a standard way for YouTube content creators and online influences to retain their audience’s attention.

Here are the best drones for content creators

DJI Mavic Air Series

For more serious content creators, the DJI Air 2S is a fantastic all-in-one drone with an impressive 1 inch CMOS sensor! Click here for more photos.

Other features include:

  • incredible four-point 4K video
  • A 12 km high definition video transmission
  • obstacle sensing in four directions – keeping the drone safe in challenging video settings
  • ultra-sharp image sensor – allows you to capture authentic colour tones and awesome photos.

The drone also allows you to create hyper and panorama videos with ease. These trendy shops have been trending online, and we will see more and more of them as the technology improves and it becomes easier for content creators to produce at the click of a button.

MasterShots is an evolution of DJI’s famous quick shots. You can capture the best features of any location with just a tap on the screen.

The combination of amazing portability, safety, and intelligent flight features means that you can spend a lot more time enjoying capturing content for your flight rather than dealing with the hassles of lesser technology-packed drones.

Professional Photographers

Professional photography drones are where the features get serious, and you start paying a lot more for drones.

The DJI Mavic 3 is an amazing drone that has recently been released. Also in this series is the EVO 2 series drones from Autel.

DJI Mavic Series

The DJI Mavic series has recently been updated with the DJI Mavic 3. Click here – it is more affordable than you may think!

An impressive drone that boasts a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera for low light conditions in an impressive 5.1 K resolution.

The drone has an omnidirectional obstacle sensing that will keep it safe throughout the most complex of environments and has two cameras in the payload for redundancy and specialist photography capabilities with 28x hybrid zoom.

Truly an incredible drone that is worthy of your attention.

AUTEL EVO series

This series of drones offers incredible image quality and has pioneered several different payloads for professional photographers.

They have a range of drones with flight times of up to 40 minutes and massive 8K video resolutions.

The Evo 2 Pro (click here for full details and a bundle deal!) has amazing 6K video resolution and uses the latest Sony generation CMOS sensor to achieve impressive photography even at low light. Perfect for capturing amazing photos in the golden and blue hours.

This drone also has a 360° obstacle avoidance which keeps your drone safe and allows the drone to track targets through a complex 3D scene dynamically.

It can identify up to 64 objects and model subjects’ location and speed, accurately predicting their trajectory and tracking them through complex environments.

You should consider purchasing a truly fantastic drone if you want to take your drone photography to an extremely professional level.

Specialist Photographers

Specialist photographers will often look at a range of drones and choose the drone with the best feature set for their use case. Hollywood has used the DJI Inspire series to capture amazing scenes, and the six propellers provide unparalleled stability during the most complex drone manoeuvres.

The final word

In this article, we have gone through all of the reasons photographers may decide to use a drone or ignore the drone capabilities for their photography altogether.

Some drone photographers are excited by drone technology’s capabilities to their creative outlet, while others wish to ignore the drone technology side of photography.

Professional photographers may decide to purchase a drone to increase the market offerings to their clients and customers. In contrast, others may not want the extra expense and headaches caused by increased legislation in what is otherwise quite a free and open hobby or profession.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a Drone pilot, Writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV (ABC Documentary) and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones.