Top 5 Favorite Drone Shots

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So being that I, Taylor, am the videographer, I am super excited to get to talk about this subject of drones for this post. I’d be lying if I said a drone had nothing to do with why I went in to videography, haha. My thought process may have gone something similar to this:

“Dang, I really wish I had a drone. How on earth do I convince my wife to let me get one? I know! I’ll tell her it’s for the videography business!”

Me: Hunny, I think the videography business would really take off if I had a drone. They have become SUPER popular in wedding videos.

Her: How much does it cost?

Me: They can range from like $500 to $3000, but don’t worry, I’m not going to spend $3,000 (the one I wanted was $1,600. The trick is to go high when you’re negotiating).

So anyway, I’ve convinced my wife that I needed a drone for “business related purposes.” Now also fast forward a couple of years and several dozen wedding videos, and I’ve come up with a list of favorite drone shots to get at a wedding. There are a couple of things I have to keep in mind when it comes to using a drone:

  • Finite amount of time- in most cases receptions are inside and at night, neither of which are a good combination for the use of a drone. You also don’t want a drone flying during your ceremony. If you’ve never seen a drone flying up close, they are LOUD. That’s not a background track you want during your reception, trust me.
  • Set up- another thing I can’t do is slow everybody else down that I’m working with. So when you put a drone up in the air, you are capturing a very wide shot that often has photographers in the view. So I either have to tell the photographers to step back (which means they aren’t taking pictures) or I’ve got to get creative with my shots so they aren’t in the shot. I have to be really quick at getting the shot I want or creative in my set up. Both of which require lots of practice. “Sorry hunny, I have to go fly my drone. No I’m not playing, I have to practice for work!”

Here is a video I did of a drone session with a bride & groom. I had shot their wedding but we didn’t have a ton of time to fly the drone and she really wanted some footage of them in a desert setting. So we headed out to the edge of the Superstition Wilderness and got some incredible shots. Below the video, you will find my list of my top 5 favorite shots to get with a drone.

5. Candid- this is my philosophy in most of what I try to shoot. My opinion is photographers are there to pose and get pretty pictures, I’m there to try and capture the stuff in between, the candid moments. And it’s the same for the drone. Put that bird up in the air and get a shot of the photographers trying to teach a groom how to dip his bride.

4. Drone and ground shot combo- this is where I set up the camera on the ground to record while flying the drone to record the same moment from 2 very different points of view. Like walking together, hand in hand. Then overlay the 2 shots so you can see each camera angle at the same time. You can see a great example of this in the video around the 1:06 mark.

3. Separate the bride and groom- this is a shot that made it to the list through popular demand. My first ever wedding video I did with a drone included a shot of the bride and groom on 2 separate balconies. It was before the ceremony and the bride and groom wanted to keep it traditional and not see each other before the ceremony. So I flew the drone with the bride on one balcony, around the front of the building to reveal the groom standing on a separate balcony so you could see both of them with the drone, but they could not see each other. Since then, I’ve gotten repeated requests for similar style shots.

2. Dip and kiss- when you’re talking about a one of a kind shot that can ONLY be done by a drone, this is it. Nice a simple, hover the drone above the couple, slowly start flying higher, then tell them to dip and kiss while the drone continues to get higher and higher. Simple, yet amazing. A MUST GET shot for any wedding video I do.

1. Walking down the isle- Ok, but I said earlier I don’t fly the drone during the ceremony. But this shot is so dang cool! You want to talk about a scene from a wedding video that most wedding videos don’t have (not even all of mine!) this is the shot. So how do we do it? Because I WILL NOT fly a drone during a ceremony. I’ve even had brides and grooms that tell me they are ok with it, but that’s only because they don’t know how loud they are in that setting. So, we re-enact it! Takes literally 5 minutes to do. We plan and talk to the officiator ahead of time, tell them what we are going to do, and once the bridal party has walked back, they announce to the guests to remain seated. We get the bridal party back up and everyone in the same place as they were right before the bride walks down the isle. Then get the drone up, film the bride walking down again, usually a couple more quick shots of staged moments from the ceremony, like the kiss at the end, then call it good! Some one of a kind shots we can use while not disturbing the ceremony itself.

So there it is. The whole story on how I’ve turned my “toy” in to a legitimate business tool. I mean, how many people do you know that can say they fly a drone for their job??

Written by: Taylor Cotter

Owner – DJ – Videographer

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