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They are helping views like these become increasingly common. Image Via: Rick Ryniak Architects

Drones are changing the way we see design photography. Image Via: Rick Ryniak Architects

The idea of drones makes people nervous and understandably so. In the past, talk of this pilot-free technology has been exclusively associated with air raids and stealth missions. These days, however, drones are being used for decidedly less militaristic tasks.

Now is the time for drones to get a makeover. As they become increasingly available, on the private sector, drones are receiving recognition for the advances they are bringing to the field of design photography.

Give the article below a once over. In it, we outline some of the advances that drones bring to photography as we see it today. Whether you’re a real estate agent looking to give your properties an edge or just an architecture enthusiast vying for a peak at one-of-a-kind shots, we bet you’ll love the advantages that drones have to offer.

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They are helping views like these become increasingly common. Insight Photography International Inc

What Is A Drone, Anyway?

Strictly speaking, the word “drone” can be used to refer to any unmanned aircraft that can fly autonomously, or without human control. This technology is often guided by a GPS system or other location-tracking software and uses cameras to provide viewers on the ground with real-time images. Typically, these images give the point-of-view of being flying in the drone’s cockpit.

Drones were originally developed as military technology. They have been in use worldwide since the early 1900’s for surveillance, search and rescue missions, and solider training

Now, however, their use has branched out quite a bit. Real estate companies have seen them as an opportunity to set their listings apart from the rest by offering million-dollar views Film sets have used them to get those hard-to-recreate establishing shots and some couples are even requesting them to provide top-notch wedding photography.

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These guys could become an increasingly common sight within the next few years. Image Via: Drones For Hire

These guys could become an increasingly common sight within the next few years. Image Via: Drones For Hire

They Allow Unprecedented Areal Views

Readers of Freshome and other design websites are no doubt familiar with breathtaking photos of luxury real estate. But, have you ever looked at one of those photos and said to yourself, “I wonder how they get a camera all the way up there?” or How do they get that whole building into one picture? It’s so big!

The answer to both those is drones. Drones are smaller and more easily customized than any other areal photography setup that has been seen before. As Randy Scott Slavin, a writer and director who is one of the people pioneering the drone photography movement says, “You can literally put the camera anyway in 3D space that the operator can oblige.”

Simply put, drones can go places where it would be unsafe for humans to venture. Recently, a drone captured footage of a live volcanic eruption in Iceland, as well as previously unseen footage of humpback whales in the middle of the ocean.

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Drones give us access to some truly amazing areal views. Image Via: Wallsev

Drones give us access to some truly amazing areal views. Image Via: Wallsev

They’re Safer and More Cost-Effective

Obviously, before drones became commercially available, there had to be some way to achieve areal shots. The solution was to use full-scale helicoptered camera set ups. Unsurprisingly, that method had quite a few limitations that have been solved since drones made an appearance on the market.

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Less Expensive: Helicams often comes with more than a few associated costs – a pilot’s salary, gas, equipment rental, etc that add up to far more than most drones. Individual models can often be purchased in a range from $100 – $500 USD.
  • Faster Set-Up: A lot of drones advertise the ability to get set-up and ready to fly in ten minutes or less.
  • Greener: The average helicopter consumes approximately 129 litres of fuel per hour. In contrast, since most drones are operated by battery or electricity, they give off zero emissions.
  • Less Intrusive: Think about it: No propeller and no motor adds up to much less noise
  • More Maneuverable: Drones are able to make tighter turns, dive at steeper angles, and get closer to the action than hellicams.
  • Safer: Drones are often sent to avalanches or other unsafe areas where a lack of radio signals can cause most helicams to fail. Since there is no need for a human pilot, drones are also approved for extreme temperatures.
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Drones  can withstand conditions that would be unsuitable for human-piloted aircrafts, Image Via: Wired

Drones can withstand conditions that would be unsuitable for human-piloted aircrafts, Image Via: Wired

They’re Becoming Increasingly Commercially Available

If you had tried to buy a drone just a few years ago, it would have been have been exceeding difficult. The only people with access to drone photography were military personnel and movie studios with humungous budgets at their disposal. These days, though, “hobbyist drones” are being seen increasingly frequently.

Of course, before purchasing it’s important to do your research. Some models like the Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam take footage with a built-in camera similar to the kind that is found on a smartphone. However, if you wanted a higher resolution, you could choose a model like the DJI Phantom, which offers a mount for the Go Pro. Options on wingspan, flight time, and price range are also available.

Before you buy, you may also want to check on any drone restrictions in your particular area. Since drones still have military applications, there are often rules and regulations that have to be followed in the private sector. Drones are often required to fly at a lower altitude and, in some cases, consent must be obtained from those who will be photographed.

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As drones become more common, they're taking on increasingly commercial uses like real estate photography. Image Via: Morehouse MacDonald & Associates, Inc. Architects

As drones become more common, they’re taking on increasingly commercial uses like real estate photography. Image Via: Morehouse MacDonald & Associates, Inc.

Now that drone photography has come onto the market, it’s here to stay. It’s hard to say where the uses of this technology will expand to in the future. However, there’s no doubt that it will become a larger and larger feature within the field of design photography, especially when it comes to architectural shots. Check out the article above for a sneak peak at the benefits that drones have to offer. In just a few years time, you may own one of your very own.

What do you think about drone photography? Do you like that they are becoming more and more commonplace? Tell us your opinion in the comments.