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Is Drone Photography Actually Worth It?

Man holding a drone

One of the latest trends when it comes to photography – especially photos taken while on vacation – comes in the form of a small, four-winged metallic object. Nope, not a mutated, mechanical bat. A drone.

You might have seen one of these devices. Ordinarily, it gives itself away with a high-pitched whizz, almost like a giant mosquito, and it hovers in the sky, taking footage or photographs of the ground below. 

For the user, it offers a whole new way to see and capture the world around them. While most photographers are limited to their own vantage points, a drone offers a birds-eye view, capturing landscape shots that would be impossible to capture with a phone.

Sounds great, right? There’s just one problem. Drones are not held together with glue and matchsticks. In fact, it is a pretty complicated technology, and that makes one particularly expensive. 

So if you’re a photographer looking to take your craft to the next level, is a drone really worth it? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you make your next move:

What Are You Doing With Your Photography?

In most cases, you will find that drone users are professional photographers who are looking to make money from their craft. This means that they value quality and technology, with the intent to purchase any tool that might help them with the process. It’s likely, however, that you are simply an amateur photographer. 

Sure, you value quality. But for you, it’s all about having fun and working hard to improve your skill set. You’re not going to make money from your pictures, but you are planning to place them on Instagram and perhaps even make an Instagram photo book out of the best ones. For this reason, you don’t really need a drone, and you certainly don’t want to spend large amounts on something you don’t need.

Can You Actually Use A Drone?

If you’ve decided that you don’t need a drone, but it would be cool to have a few beautiful landscape shots in your photo book, then you need to do a little more research. Where are you planning on using your drone? A number of countries now have regulations and laws against drone flying, with many of them now requiring the user to take a theory test and have a licence to actually fly.

This is mostly due to the privacy issues that can derive from their usage. Every drone has the ability to snap what were previously inaccessible spots – including people's private land or gardens. This is why they are prohibited in a number of areas, so you need to think about where you’re planning to use them and whether you actually can use them. 

Do You Value Creativity?

Another thing you have to think about is your own craft. Sure, a drone can give you technically better photographs, but they might actually hamper your improvement when it comes to photography. It’s easy enough to get the drone out when you want a good shot, but that stops you from being creative and taking the shot in your own unique way. 

It also takes a bit of the fun out of photography. Do you really want to be standing there twiddling with a joystick, or do you want to be getting out there and finding a beautiful landscape shot yourself? Photography is all about creativity, especially if you’re choosing an Instagrammable location to take advantage of your craft. Take in that place with your own eyes and snap it in your own way.

Do You Have The Time (And Space)?

Another issue when it comes to drones is that, yes, they’re fun to fly, but it takes time to really get the hang of them. Drones are a hazard, after all. The propellers move at a high resolution and can easily injure someone if they collide. That means you need to put in the time to fly them safely and ensure you know what you are doing. 

As well as this, if you are using your drone on vacation, do you actually have the space to transport it? Even very small drones take up space, and they can be quite an effort to lug around the place – compared to simply a phone in your pocket. These are other things you have to think about before you make the decision.

Do You Want The Personal Touch?

Lastly, although drones do take some beautiful birds-eye photos, they are not exactly unique. There’s only so much a photographer can do with drones, and this means that many of the photos that they produce look almost identical. 

A drone – although technically proficient – lacks the personality and individualism that you would get from taking your own photos. If you were to go to a photo book maker with your drone photography, that’s great, but they’re not exactly unique to you. You want your photo book to ooze your own creativity, along with all of your social media pages. You won’t get this with a drone.

The Decision…

So there we have it. Listen, if you’ve got money to spare and want to try out something a little different, then by all means give drone photography a go!

But really, shots taken from your own phone, your own techniques and your own angles will always outweigh a shot taken by a drone. If you’re trying to take good landscape shots, find your own way to do it. Chances are, you’ll capture something unique and beautiful.


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