Technically, neither Stewart nor Maloney used an actual drone. Their photos were taken by small remote-controlled helicopters, while a drone, by definition, operates totally independently with no one controlling it. Maloney hired an aerial photographer to capture breathtaking images and videos of his glamorous wedding in Cold Spring, NY with one of these little crafts. And, his opponents have been wagging their fingers at him for it. Maloney sits on the House’s Aviation Subcommittee, so he should know there’s a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule that says unmanned aircraft aren’t to be used for commercial purposes — like wedding photography. Controversial but fabulous, indeed.
However, Maloney’s spokesperson, Stephanie Formas, told reporters that there is a legal gray area around this type of photography, the Daily News reports. A few months ago, a judge overturned the fine given to a drone operator in Virginia, and companies have taken that as a go-ahead to resume commercial uses of these little vehicles. The debate over whether this is legal will surely continue, as more and more people start using the aircraft to document everything from weddings to protests to concerts.
What’s definitely not up for debate is that the footage is stunning. Imagine being able to relive your wedding from above, capturing the memories you meticulously planned for months, and seeing your family and friends dressed up but from a bird’s-eye view.
But, the copter can’t capture everything. Gyokeres never shoots during a ceremony, for example. The hexacopter he uses makes noise and can easily be seen from the ground, so it would be too disruptive to shoot during the wedding. “It’s not a subtle thing,” he said. “You’re not spying on anyone.”
In response to cheaper suggestions, like the old strap-a-GoPro-to-a-remote-control-plane idea, Gyokeres stressed, “You could just get your uncle to do it...but then you’ll end up with footage taken by your uncle.” You don’t want the most memorable moment of your big day to be when the mini helicopter crashed into the $1,000 cake — so maybe leave it to the pros.
Despite the seemingly murky legal waters of this type of photography, a quick Google search will find you companies offering similar services. It’ll cost you more than traditional wedding photography, of course, but not exorbitantly so. Most companies offer free estimates over the phone — between $2,000 and $4,000 seems to be the going rate for a day of aerial-footage-taking. And, if you’re thinking about adding a hexacopter to your big day, make sure you get permission from any neighbors whose homes will be in view, and maybe keep an eye on what happens to Congressman Maloney in the next few weeks.
This post was authored by Emma Paling.
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