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Safety First

Here's a look at what you'll need to do if you want to upgrade your wedding photography with drones.

Getting the OK

Venue sign off: This is perhaps the first major step: make sure the venue is aware of your plans and gives approval to fly a drone on the premises. "In most cases, drones are often approved for large outdoor areas such as open countryside, large outdoor areas or at an uncrowded beach; but flying a drone indoors or above a tight patio or in a restaurant setting are never recommended.

Federal Aviation Administration approval: The venue should be able to tell you more about the drone regulations in the area, though you'll want to double-check and make sure the region — and state — in which you are getting married approves. "While the FAA has been adamantly opposed to commercial drone use, there still are no enforceable laws in place," Foster said. "There are enforceable restrictions in areas that are close to an airport, in a National Park and other wildlife refuges, so it's best to check your area."

Drone-qualified photographers: More photographers are getting trained (by taking workshops and seminars) to learn how to fly drones and best make use of them. Pick one with extensive training and a creative eye.

Staying safe

Most drones are in the small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) class and weigh between 5-8 pounds. when carrying both a camera and batteries. There are larger cinematography drones that can weigh about 50 pounds and tout huge video cameras, but those aren't appropriate for a wedding venue. "The cameras are all mostly mounted on a stabilizing gimbal that hangs under the craft.  Typically you need only one drone at an event and will get lots of images in just a few flights. It's best if you can work with the other photographers and videographers to coordinate your shots together and not disrupt the celebration.

Use caution "Drones can be loud and annoying to guests. Flying them during the ceremony is never recommended because it can be distracting so it is best coordinated to capture the fun part of the photo shoot and reception if outdoors in a large area.

Safety first: It's important to remember a few key safety rules to make the day go smoothly. Drones should never be flown too close above the heads of guests. However, with an experienced drone pilot controlling the device from above, there shouldn’t be any issues or accidents.

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