It used to be that capturing aerial views of a wedding was beyond the means of most couples, save perhaps celebrities, nobility, and multimillionaires. However, the fast evolving world of drone photography is making just such a thing accessible to more and more people. Professional drone use in the United States is still ensconced in a bit of regulatory red tape, but this isn’t stopping a growing number of trail blazing entrepreneurs from offering their services to the general public.
People like Parker Gyokeres (pronounced ‘jokers’), a retired Air Force photojournalist and outspoken advocate for the safe and responsible use of drones.
Gyokeres is the owner of Propeller Heads Aerial Photography, one of the most high-profile and established drone photography companies in the Northeast. He’s also an outspoken advocate for the safe and responsible use of drones in a professional manner.
Gyokeres has been in the drone business for three years, and has been involved in radio controlled flying of various types for 10 years.
“I eat breathe and dream about this stuff,” he says. “This is what I do.”
Based in Middletown, NY, Propeller Heads offers drone wedding photography throughout the northeast and recently filmed a wedding ceremony aboard the World War II era battleship USS New Jersey, which is docked in Camden.
Gyokeres believes weddings are an ideal fit for drones.
“I think that a drone can add an amazing perspective to a wedding,” he says. “This technology puts cameras in places that you have never seen before, and over a wedding is just epic. It’s a grand view of a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The aerial vantage point drones offer coupled with their small size gives their operators the ability to take photographs and video from an incredibly unique prospective. Drones can capture the same vistas and views that a helicopter can for less money. And because of their small size they can go places manned aircraft can’t – such as indoor venues, though Gyokeres will not fly indoors in the presence of people for safety reasons.
There are, however, some aspects of drone photography that may turn some people away. "There are some limitations to using drones for weddings, and the biggest one is noise,” Gyokeres says. “You have to have a wedding party that is totally cool with (the noise).”
Because of the noise and distraction that a drone can create, Propeller Heads typically discourages the use of drones during the actual wedding ceremony.
“I don’t want it to be about the drone, I want it to be about the wedding,” Gyokeres says. “It is a tool that must be used responsibly, and be used respectfully to maintain the sanctity of a wedding.”
Another issue one looking to have a drone at their wedding might face is getting permission from property owners. Not everyone is willing to allow drone photography on their grounds.
“You have to make sure that if you want to have a drone at your wedding, that your venue is ok with you having a drone at your wedding,” Gyokeres says.
The most important aspect to consider for couples using drone photographer is safety.
“They need to make sure that the pilot has insurance,” Gyokeres says. "They need to see a demo reel of their interior stuff if they want them to fly inside. They have to verify the safety aspect.”
The cost of drone photography depends on a wide range of factors and Gyokeres is reluctant to discuss prices for his services. However, he will say it costs “less than a traditional wedding photographer would cost.”
While there are currently no actual laws governing the use of drones, FAA regulations currently prohibit the commercial use of “unmanned aerial vehicles.” But the FAA is in the process of drawing up new rules governing drones.
“There’s no rules against it right now,” Gyokeres insists. “If it was illegal I wouldn’t do it.” He says the only time the FAA gets involved is when the drone is piloted in an unsafe manner.
“Then the FAA is fully within their jurisdiction to impose fines or penalties on the pilot,” he says. “So we never fly unsafely.”
Drone wedding photography is already here, and as the regulatory kinks are worked out it seems likely the trend will only grow. For more information on drone wedding photography along with sample work visit the Propeller Heads website at Propheadsphoto.com/air-support/. Parker Gyokeres can also be contacted at 229-548-0020.