Drone Wedding Photography Guide for Beginners

Before a wedding, many couples are looking for professionals who specialize in drone wedding photography and can take breathtaking aerial photos. However, a photographer needs to know about some restrictions and requirements to operate a drone legally and safely. Read on if you want to learn what you should do to become a successful wedding photographer and take photos using a drone.

1. Become a Certified Wedding Drone Pilot

If you want to operate a drone, you need to follow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Every person who is going to take aerial wedding photos needs to get a license for doing drone photography. It will allow you to fly a drone in public places.

To get a certificate, you have to pass a Part 107 test at the nearest testing center. To fly a drone legally, you need to have a printed or digital FAA registration certificate.

2. Register Your Drone With the FAA

drone wedding photography process

To get a license, you need to pass the Part 107 exam. Then, you will be able to register a serial number of a drone for photography with the FAA for $5. It will allow you to use your drone for 3 years. Make the serial numbers clearly visible on each device that you are using.

You need to make your drone easier to identify to avoid possible misunderstandings. Even if you use a drone for personal needs, you are still required to register it.

3. Check Flying Rules and Regulations

drone wedding photography

If you specialize in wedding photography and take photos using a drone, you need to check whether you are allowed to fly it at a specific venue. For instance, nobody is allowed to do drone wedding photography nearby airports, schools, police & fire services, hospitals, and critical infrastructure.

It’s illegal to fly a drone near other locations as well, such as national parks, power plants, and military bases. Contact the managers of a wedding venue beforehand to check whether there are any restrictions.

4. Get Your Drone Insured

To avoid unfortunate accidents during weddings, you must take precautions. If you don’t know how to fly a drone properly, you might injure people, damage decor elements or equipment. Unless you have drone insurance, you might lose more money than you can afford.

drone wedding photography field

While it’s not a legal requirement, photography insurance will be useful for anyone who operates drones in the US. It will help you minimize your expenses in case an unfortunate accident happens. Many professional photographers who specialize in drone photography pay for an annual policy to save money.

5. Outsource the Editing

drone wedding photography bridge

If you don’t have advanced editing skills, keep in mind that poorly processed drone wedding pictures might make an unfavorable impression on a client. To save time and ensure clients’ satisfaction, make sure to contact our professional service. Our experts will fine-tune colors, make photos sharper, improve contrast, remove unwanted objects, adjust the WB and create an HDR effect for an affordable price.

When placing an order, you can specify what parts of an image you want to enhance. For instance, you can ask our retouchers to edit your photos in the style popular among famous wedding photographers.

6. Look for Best Drone Wedding Angles on Google Earth

drone wedding photography google earth

To prepare thoroughly, make sure to visit a wedding venue before the event and select the best locations for taking photos. However, it might be difficult to do it when you are dealing with destination weddings. If you don’t have an opportunity to visit a location, try using Google Earth or Google Maps. Since a wedding photography timeline is very tight, you need to work quickly to capture everything you want to.

You won’t have time to experiment when you arrive at the shooting location. This is why you need to prepare everything beforehand. Before taking photos, try using the bird’s eye view tool or planning the angles you are going to use. You can take screenshots of photos with your favorite angles beforehand and use them for reference.


When doing aerial wedding photography, pay attention to trees, wires, power lines, tall buildings, and various obstacles nearby that might get in the way of your drone.

7. Update Your Drone to the Latest Firmware

drone wedding photography flower field

To save time and avoid possible delays during shooting, make sure to use the latest versions of firmware and software when operating aerial photography drones, like DJI Mavic Pro.

Don’t forget about updating your OS and the drone apps that you regularly use. Besides, you might need to update the firmware on your drone and controller.

drone wedding photography stairs

If all your apps are up-to-date, you can fly your drone without taking unnecessary risks. Before the day of a photo shooting, download all the recent updates and try flying your drone to see if everything is in order.

8. Check the Forecast to Prepare for Weather Conditions

drone wedding photography greenery

Before going outside, check a weather forecast to check if there will be strong wind or bad weather in the wedding location. Professional drone pilots know that it’s important to pay attention to the speed and direction of the wind. If you disregard safety requirements, you might lose your drone when trying to fly it upwind with a low battery.

drone wedding photography greenery

High-grade drones can fly at a high wind speed of 10-30 miles per hour. To avoid possible issues, try using a weather app like WindSeeker to monitor the wind conditions. To use it, you need to turn on geolocation. It will allow you to see the wind direction and plan your shooting accordingly. Besides, you can use Windy and Wind Compass apps.

9. Keep a Distance from the Guests

drone wedding photography with guests

Drones weren’t created for taking close-up photos, so it’s better not to use them for portraits. They are hardly suitable for close-ups because of their loud noise. Besides, a drone might disrupt a happy atmosphere and distract guests. Make sure to buy a model with a decent range since this parameter it’s crucial for aerial wedding photography professionals. If a drone has a good range, it will enable you to capture more important details.

drone wedding photography with guests

To make your wedding photo shooting more successful, select a drone that emits little noise and allows taking stunning wedding pictures. In the USA, you need to fly a drone at up to 400 feet at or under 100 mph. To stay on the safe side, fly it at a distance of 100 feet. Make sure to include all the details of a planned photo shooting into a wedding photography contract to meet all your client’s requirements.

10. Bring Extra Drone Batteries

drone wedding photography beach

If you are on a budget, keep in mind that affordable drones have limited flight times. Most cheap drones fly 10-20 minutes, which means that you need to capture photos as quickly as possible. If you have such a model, don’t forget to take extra batteries with you. It will allow you to capture everything you want to without running out of time.

drone wedding photography boat

Avoid fully depleting your battery since you will need more time to recharge it. Besides, it might affect its lifespan in the future.


Experts advise against charging batteries near heaters or windows since extreme temperatures might affect their effectiveness. If you charge a battery near the heater, it might stop functioning properly.

11. Shoot in Manual Mode to Have Full Control Over the Exposure

drone wedding photography camera settings

When selecting a drone camera, you might notice that most models are fitted with small sensors. It makes it difficult to use high ISO settings. This is why you need to use a manual camera mode and select the lowest ISO values to achieve the right exposure.

To take clear drone wedding pictures without any visible blur, make sure to use f/4 and f/5.6 aperture settings in regular light situations. If there isn’t enough light, you can make the aperture wider (f/2.8), which will help you avoid taking overly dark pictures. When the weather is sunny, it’s better to use a narrow aperture (f/11) to avoid an overexposure effect.

drone wedding photography field

If you want to give your photos a creative feel, try adjusting the shutter speed and taking photos with different settings. Make sure to select a lower shutter speed (1/4), when doing long exposure photography. If you need to give your photos a dynamic feel, use a higher shutter speed (1/400+) to capture moving subjects.

12. Make Sure the Exposure Matches the Dress

drone wedding photography lake

Everyone who does wedding dress photography knows that it might be difficult to capture the dress without making its color look off. If the wedding gown is white, make sure to adjust the exposure to avoid overly bright areas in the frame.

drone wedding photography field

If there are any other elements of light colors, you need to consider them as well. To take professional-looking photos on a beach, avoid making reflections look overexposed.

13. Zoom Out to Capture Bride and Groom

drone wedding photography water

When taking photos in a picturesque location, you can zoom out to fit more details of the surrounding area in the frame. Bridges, hills, and boats look great in drone wedding pictures captured from the air.

drone wedding photography bridge

You can use various bride and groom poses to give your photos a romantic feel. For instance, you can ask them to lie on the meadow, hug, kiss, or hold hands. When taking photos on the beach, you can write or draw something in the sand, such as the date or some words.

To give your photos a dynamic feel, ask the bride to walk up the stairs to capture the train of her wedding gown.

14. Spell Out Words or Make Shapes Out of Guests

drone wedding photography with guests

While wedding photographers mostly take photos of a newly married couple, don’t forget about taking wedding party pictures as well since it will help you capture the most memorable moments of the event. Besides, it will create a lot of funny moments for everyone to remember. You can ask everyone present to form the word ‘Love’ and take nice drone photos of the wedding party.

drone wedding photography with guests

It’s better to use a short word or phrase. Some photographers also ask guests to create some shapes. For instance, you can ask the happy couple to stand at the center of the heart or other shape. The bridesmaids can form a circle around the bride and wait for her to throw a bouquet.

15. Take Before and After Photos

drone wedding photography ceremony

Try taking photos of the wedding venue from a high angle before the event. Then, you can capture the same location with wedding guests. It will help you emphasize the warm atmosphere of the event and show how many people came to greet the newlyweds.

16. Drone Pilot Training

drone wedding photography pilot training

Price: $580

Drone Pilot Training is one of the best schools that specializes in drone pilotage. You will get a chance to attend the personal classes with instructors who will show and tell you about the basic mistakes the newcomers make, and also teach you a couple of tricks. It's not quite cheap, but it will help you avoid the most frequent mistakes and quickly increase your level of drone proficiency.

17. Online Aerial Photo Course

drone wedding photography online aerial course

Price: $100

These are really necessary courses that will provide you with the essential knowledge from the photographers who shoot with the drone. Here they will tell you how to choose the right angle, how to make your photos as clear as possible, what camera settings to use, and much more useful things about drone shooting.

18. Starting a Drone Business under Part

drone wedding photography  drone business

Price: $300

If you want to do everything right and open the legal drone shooting business, then it's better to address the professionals who will explain all the nuances, what you can and cannot do, as well as where you can shoot. They will also register your drone and give some advice on drone photography business management.


bonus tools for drone wedding photography

If you want to speed up the editing and enhance your photos without quality loss, try using this useful collection created by professionals. It will come in handy for anyone who does drone wedding photography and likes taking first look wedding photos and bridal portraits. You can use this handy collection for enhancing other wedding shots as well.