an aerial photograph of a bride and groom on their wedding day, taken by a drone

Everything You Need To Know About Drone Photography at a Wedding

Rachel Sue Boehm, 5 star rated wedding and elopement photographer, holding a camera and posing under a tree.

I’m a wedding photographer with over 10 years experience. Based in Wisconsin, I specialize in elopements across the USA and worldwide.

As a certified drone pilot, I can offer aerial photography for a unique views of your wedding.

I’m also ordained through the Universal Life Church meaning that I can be your officiant and your photographer!

Get in touch with me to discuss your wedding or elopement photography.

Aerial photography is nothing new, but has grown over the years in popularity. With the increased usage of drones among the general population, many couples are starting to incorporate them into their big day as well. Adding drone photography to your elopement or wedding is sure to create those stand-out and totally unique images that you have been envisioning for your big day, allowing unique and unexpected angles to be captured.

If you’re looking to add something extra special to your wedding photos, drone photography could be just what you need! Here, I’ll give you some pointers to help you decide whether a hiring a drone for your wedding is the right move for you.

So, here’s what you should consider before adding aerial photography at your wedding:

Hire a Professional

For couples looking to make their special day extra memorable and unique, drone photography can help capture beautiful aerial shots that traditional cameras just don’t offer. But before you take the plunge into using a drone at your wedding or elopement, you need to make sure that you hire a professional photographer who understands the intricacies of this type of photography.

Finding an experienced wedding photographer with knowledge in drone photography isn’t always easy, but doing so is well worth the effort in the end. A skilled professional will have experience navigating airspace regulations as well as understanding how light and angles play a role in creating stunning images from above.

Make sure that any photographer you hire who plans to use drones is certified to do so—and is insured,” notes Matt Sloane, CEO of Atlanta Drone Group. He recommends asking whether or not your photographer has a “Part 107 certification,” which is the FAA certification to fly drones commercially.

They’ll also know how to do the correct post-production work to get the most out of your photographs once they’ve been taken.

So when planning your dream wedding, don’t forget about incorporating some incredible aerial shots by hiring a professional drone photographer who knows what they’re doing. Not only are you likely to get gorgeous photos taken from up high, but more importantly – you’ll have peace of mind knowing that someone has handled your big day responsibly and safely!

Drones Are Not Allowed Everywhere

Something that people don’t always consider before deciding on aerial photography is whether or not they’re allowed to! Drones aren’t allowed everywhere. It can be a bit surprising, especially if you’ve already done your research and decided that using a drone for wedding photos is the way to go. But before you hire a professional photographer with their own drone in tow, make sure they know what restrictions are in place.

There are certain areas where flying a drone just isn’t allowed – either by law or due to safety concerns. National parks have strict regulations about drones, airports don’t allow them near operating aircrafts, and some places of worship won’t permit filming on site. Before signing any contracts – or even making enquiries – do your homework and ensure that you’re aware of any limitations around drone photography at your wedding venue.

Having said all this, as long as your chosen venue allows it and you’ve hired the right photographer, then having aerial shots taken at your wedding could be an amazing experience! Make sure to check out portfolios from past events so you can get an idea of the kind of photos you can expect when hiring a professional for your big day.

A wedding photograph of the bride and groom, taken with a drone

Check the Weather Reports

No matter how much planning and preparation you do for your special day, Mother Nature can always throw a curveball. So before booking your photographer or renting a drone for the big event, make sure that the skies are clear.

It doesn’t have to be perfectly sunny out; most drones are equipped with cameras capable of capturing amazing detail even in overcast conditions. But if there is any chance of rain or snow—or worse yet, high winds—it could end up being more trouble than it’s worth. Not only will photos taken under these unfavorable conditions come out blurry and distorted, they might also put both the pilot and onlookers at risk due to an increased chance of crashing.

Of course, a qualified and experienced drone pilot will know the best times to use one and capture amazing photographs. But something that an amateur or hobbyist pilot may not know is that it is against regulations to fly when you do not have clear visibility of the aircraft. To do so could potentially cause a risk to life, and put the operator in a tricky legal predicament.

So don’t leave anything to chance! With a few simple clicks on your phone or computer, you can get real-time updates on the current weather forecast in your area. That way, when the wedding day finally arrives, you won’t have any unwelcome surprises raining down from above (pun absolutely intended).

When Should You Use the Drone?

It’s important to think about the timing of your shots and how they relate to the wedding schedule. The best time to deploy a drone is often just before or after ceremonies, as this will help you get beautiful aerial shots of people arriving, and celebrating afterward.

While some photographers may take aerial photos of the ceremony itself, I highly recommend not doing so. As awesome as it may sound to get an over-head shot of your wedding ceremony, drones create a humming/buzzing sound that may be distracting to your guests. We want your closest friends and family to be in tune and hear every moment of your ceremony. If you find it a complete must to have an aerial shot during the ceremony, this would be done at the very beginning or end so that your guests don’t miss any of the intimate moments!

If you’ve read this far, you already know that drones aren’t allowed in all locations, so it could be that you need to go away from the area altogether. But with careful planning of your day’s structure, and consideration for local laws, you can make sure everything goes smoothly and have stunning aerial photos of your wedding.

Can I Pilot the Drone Myself?

With drones becoming more accessible thanks to lower costs, the popularity of amateur drones continues to grow. As with anything, this does lead to some people asking whether they could or should operate a drone themselves at a wedding.

Unfortunately, this is not a good idea for several reasons. Firstly, to operate a drone commercially you MUST be FAA licensed. This means that anyone who takes your photographs cannot take a payment in exchange for them. Even if they don’t take payment, you don’t want to be a test case for what is classed as “commercial use.”

Another aspect to consider is insurance. Drones are generally safe to operate (in the right hands, and under the right conditions) but accidents happen. Any licensed drone pilot will also carry the necessary insurance to give total peace-of-mind should anything go wrong.

An aerial photograph of a bride and groom, taken with a drone.

What Are The Consequences Of Not Hiring A Licensed Pilot?

Using a drone without a license is no small matter. And yet I speak to people all the time who end up taking the chance on a, usually cheaper, unlicensed pilot. Trust me when I say, it’s not worth taking the risk to save a few dollars.

As we’ve discussed, the pilot themselves will be committing a federal offense and at risk of a huge fine or even imprisonment. But, if you knowingly or willingly hire an unlicensed pilot you also commit a criminal act yourself, and could face a fine or up to 3 years imprisonment under US Code 46306(b)(5).

Further, any drone used in a criminal act could be confiscated by the US Government. This means that the precious memories of your ceremony could be lost forever. Do you really want to risk losing every photo of your special day?


Drones open a whole new range of photographs that you can take at your weddings. However, it is important to remember that you can’t just launch one and go: there are laws to consider and you need experience to understand how to set up the best photographs.

If you’re still interested in adding drone photography to your wedding, get in touch with me. I’m an FAA licensed drone pilot, and would be happy to offer any advice or discuss becoming your wedding photographer.

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