best photography drones

Any drone with a camera can be used for photography projects; however, most do not give the best resolution that you would appreciate. When it comes to the use of drones for commercial, you will find an overwhelming collection, and you will be at pains to choose the best drone for aerial photography that will work best for your project. Lucky for you, there are drone buying guides to help you sift through the chaff. Still, most guides use industry jargon, and this leaves many beginners more confused.

NameImagePriceBatteryRange

DJI Mavic Air, Fly More Combo
best DJI Mavic Air Fly More Combo
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21 mins

3km

Holy Stone F181W Wifi FPV Drone with 720P Wide-Angle HD Camera
prominent Holy Stone F181W Wifi FPV
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7-10 mins

100m

GoPro Karma with HERO5 Black
distinguished GoPro Karma with HERO5 Black
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20 mins

3km

DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone
remarkable DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone
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30 mins

6km

Force1 U49W Blue Heron WiFi FPV Drone
outstanding Force1 U49W Blue Heron Drone
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30 mins

6km

DJI Inspire 2 Drone

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27 mins

6km

Parrot Anafi Drone - Ultra Compact Flying 4K HDR Camera
excellent Parrot Anafi Drone
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25 mins

3km

Yuneec YUNFCAUS Breeze Compact Smart Drone
top Yuneec YUNFCAUS Breeze Compact Smart Drone
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12 mins

80m

Mota LILY Camera Drone 2017 Gen
incomparable Mota LILY Camera
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25 mins

30m

GDU - BYRD Premium 2.0 Drone
GDU - BYRD Premium 2.0 Drone
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29 mins

300m

Top 10 Drones for Photography Reviews

In our quest to help drone enthusiasts like yourself get the best value and utility from their drones, we have compiled a list of the ten best drones for photography projects. We have engaged our expert drone pilots and photographers who are incorporating drone technology in their projects. We have also looked at the reviews of the customers who have used them, and it has helped have a deeper understanding of their actual capabilities in aerial photography. Here are the top ten best drones that will improve the quality of your photography projects.

1  DJI Mavic Air

best DJI Mavic Air Fly More Combo

Without a doubt, DJI makes the best drones for professional photography today, and their best one yet is the Mavic Air. It ranks as the best drone of 2018, and it is the best drone money can buy. It has foldable arms, and this makes it easy to carry around between the areas you are shooting. It has a top of the line navigation system and omnidirectional obstacle avoidance.

  • Dimensions: 7.2 X 6.6 X 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 6.2 pounds
  • Battery: 3.7v 2970mAh rechargeable Li-Po 3S battery
  • Flight time: 21 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 42.5 miles per hour
  • Controller: 5.8 GHz
  • Maximum operating range: 2 miles
  • Take-off weight: 0.95 pounds
  • Maximum wind speed resistance: 38 kilometers per hour
  • Compatibility: iOS, Android operating systems
  • Camera: 4K 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor

The DJI Mavic Pro comes with an 8 GB flash memory, and you can expand the storage space to as much as 128 GB with a microSD Class 10. Even with the controller, you will love flying the drone and taking shots through the DJI GO 4 app. It transmits the video and feed and images through an enhanced Wi-Fi. What is more, with DJI FPV goggles, you get a 720p feed captured at 30 fps. Buy it now on Amazon.

2  Holy Stone F181W

prominent Holy Stone F181W Wifi FPV
Source: http://www.gadgetreviewcenter.com

This is arguably the best drone for real estate photography. With the 120-degree field of view camera, it is giving DJI a run for their money. The positioning of the camera also allows you to take mesmerizing panoramic pictures and videos of your real estate photography project. With the controller, you can control the tilt angle by adjusting the pitch and the yaw on the app since for a beginner the joysticks can be tricky to use.

  • Dimensions: 2.6 X 3.3 X 12.6 inches
  • Weight: 4.9 ounces
  • Camera: 720p 120-degree FOV FPV camera
  • Battery: 3.7V 750mAh LiPo Battery
  • Flying time: 7-10 minutes
  • Charging time: 70-90 minutes
  • Transmission range: 100 meters
  • FPV range: 30-50 meters
  • Multiple speed control
  • Emergency stop button

The Holy Stone F181W drone has among other features a top of the line altitude hold feature. This allows you amazing FPV capability to set the camera for the perfect shot. FPV is only possible with the app that you can download from the iOS and Android app stores. The possibilities you get from the app are endless ranging from controlling the drone, the camera, FPV streaming, and so much more. It is a smart drone with an affordable price tag.

3  GoPro Karma

distinguished GoPro Karma with HERO5 Black
Source: http://abekislevitz.com

The GoPro Hero camera series are some of the best action cameras capable of taking amazing shots and videos. Unbeknownst to many, the company also has a drone that they hope will interest GoPro fans. While it is not as portable as the Mavic drone series, it fairs better than the DJI Phantom Series. Of all the GoPro cameras, you will get the best quality from GoPro Hero 5.

  • Dimensions: 16.2 X 11.9 X 4.6 inches
  • Weight: 2.22 pounds
  • Battery: 14.8V 5100mAh rechargeable Li-Po battery
  • Flight time: 20 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 35 miles per hour
  • Controller: 2.4 GHz
  • Maximum operating range: 9840 feet
  • Take-off weight: 0.95 pounds
  • Maximum wind speed resistance: 38 kilometers per hour
  • Compatibility: iOS, Android operating systems
  • Camera: Hero 5 Black

The Hero 5 Black action camera will not only give you some of the amazing effortless photos, but it is also waterproof. It is the best accompaniment to the GoPro Karma photography drone. It has a gaming style controller that has an integrated touch display. You can also use the GoPro app to fly and customize the settings on the Hero 5 Black camera. Other than that, the camera mount is compatible with a range of other action cameras, and you can use it instead of the Hero 5 if it is not within your price range.

GoPro Karma with HERO5 Black
Price: $599.99
You save: $300.00 (33 %)
3 new from $599.990 used

4  DJI Phantom 4 Pro

remarkable DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone
Source: https://fstoppers.com

This is another of the best drone for aerial photography, that delivers good value for your money. It has an upgraded camera compared to the DJI Phantom 4. The camera captures stunning 4K 720p video at 30 fps and high-resolution stills, and it is one of the best drones for aerial photography.

  • Dimensions: 16 x 14 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 3.06 pounds
  • Battery: 15.2V 5870mAh rechargeable Li-Po 4S battery
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 45 miles per hour
  • Controller: 5.8 GHz
  • Maximum operating range: 4 miles
  • Take-off weight: 3.057 pounds
  • Maximum wind speed resistance: 10 kilometers per hour
  • Compatibility: iOS, Android operating systems
  • Camera: 4K 720p 20-megapixel camera

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro uses a powerful controller that is capable of using a 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi bands. To aid in the navigation, you get a GPS receiver that allows you to use the autonomous flight modes in your favor to get the best shot. The drone has two LED lights under the front motors and omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system. The Gimbal has a -90 to 30-degree control ranger with a maximum speed of 90-degrees per second.

5  Force1 U49W Blue Heron

outstanding Force1 U49W Blue Heron Drone
Source: https://www.opticsden.com

This is a versatile drone with a moderate price that has more uses than just a photography drone. They have made the deal sweeter for you by offering four extra rotor blades, an extra battery, and this ensures that you get double the flight time while the spent battery charges.

  • Dimensions: 38.1 x 35.8 x 14.2 cm
  • Weight: 1.3 KGs
  • Battery: 15.2V 5870mAh rechargeable Li-Po 4S battery
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 45 miles per hour
  • Controller: 5.8 GHz
  • Maximum operating range: 4 miles
  • Take-off weight: 3.057 pounds
  • Maximum wind speed resistance: 10 kilometers per hour
  • Compatibility: iOS, Android operating systems
  • Camera: HD 720p 120-wide angle FOV camera

This is a rubber damping drone with several modes that ensure that makes it the perfect photography drone for beginners. The headless mode allows beginners to fly the drone without caring much about which way is forwards. However, you need to be careful since it can influence the controller, so you need to be alert. You need the FlyingSee app to your tablet or smartphone to control the camera.

6  DJI Inspire 2

This is an acclaimed drone in aerial photography, and it is one of the best drones that gives good value for your money. DJI has launched new drones, but few have been able to meet the level of utility the Inspire 2 continues to give. It has a minimal body design, and with its sensors, it fairs better against windy conditions compared to most drones in this list.

  • Dimensions: 16.7 x 16.8 x 12.5 inches
  • Weight: 7.6 pounds
  • Battery: 22.8V 4280mAh rechargeable Li-Po 6S battery
  • Flight time: 27 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 58.4 miles per hour
  • Controller: 5.85 GHz
  • Maximum operating range: 4 miles
  • Take-off weight: 8.81 pounds
  • Maximum wind speed resistance: 10 kilometers per hour
  • Compatibility: iOS, Android operating systems
  • Camera: HD 720p 120-wide angle FOV camera

The Inspire 2 has a strong and durable magnesium-aluminum alloy and carbon fiber. You will get an extra battery in the package, and this will increase your flight time significantly. It is hailed for its performance even in windy conditions. It has various features that help you in controlling the drone, and this leaves you with proper time to focus on getting the best shot. It can lift over 8 pounds of weight, and this means that you can replace the onboard camera in one that you are comfortable in using.

DJI Inspire 2 Drone
Price: $2,996.05
You save: $2.95 ( %)
14 new from $2,996.054 used from $1,696.83

7  Parrot Anafi

excellent Parrot Anafi Drone
Source: https://bitnewsbot.com

This is the latest offing from Parrot Company and you it is the best drone for aerial photography. It has a unique 180-degree vertical tilt gimbal that is ideal for acing the low angle shots.it uses a lightweight and an ultra-compact carbon fiber body. It is foldable for easy transportation, and it unfolds in 3 seconds ready to take to the skies.

  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 9.4 x 2.6 inches
  • Weight: 11.29 ounces
  • Battery: 7.6V 2700mAh rechargeable Li-Po 2-cell battery
  • Flight time: 25 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 15.3 miles per hour
  • Controller: Parrot Sky Controller 3 5.8 GHz
  • Maximum operating range: 2 miles
  • Take-off weight: 8.81 pounds
  • Maximum wind speed resistance: 50 kilometers per hour
  • Compatibility: iOS, Android operating systems
  • Camera: HD 720p 21-megapixels H.264 CMOS camera at 24 fps

The Parrot Anafi uses an ergonomic Parrot Skycontroller 3 that is easy to use and when coupled with the intuitive FreeFlight 6 app, that integrates artificial intelligence for automatic cinematic shots. The camera has 2.8x lossless digital zoom that will capture as much details as possible. With Geofence you can create a virtual perimeter and smart return to home feature. This means that should the connection between the controller, and the drone is lost, it will fly straight to its takeoff position.

8  Yuneec Breeze 4K

top Yuneec YUNFCAUS Breeze Compact Smart Drone
Source: https://www.cnet.com

Like the Anafi, the Yuneec Breeze 4K is compact, and this makes it easy to carry to your shooting site. The mobile app has systematic directions for the automated flight modes which reduce the time you need to master them. However, you will need a digital image stabilizer that is only available at 720p and 1080p resolutions.

  • Dimensions: 7.7 x 7.7 x 2.6 inches
  • Weight: 13.58 ounces
  • Battery: 11.1V 1150mAh rechargeable Li-Po 3S battery
  • Flight time: 12 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 16.4 feet per second
  • Controller: Parrot Sky Controller 3 5.8 GHz
  • Maximum operating range: 262 Feet
  • Take-off weight: N/A
  • Compatibility: iOS, Android operating systems
  • Camera: HD 13-megapixels camera

Think of this drone as a HD camera attached to a flying robot. You can easily fit it into a backpack and head out to the next shooting location. The app has five Tasks including Follow Me, Journey, Orbit, Selfie, and Pilot. This gives you easy control of the drone, and you can focus on controlling the camera for the perfect shot.

9  Lily Camera Next-Gen

incomparable Mota LILY Camera
Source: https://www.bizjournals.com

This is a camera for the photographers who are focused on getting the best shot, rather than flying a drone. The original drone was like nothing you have ever seen before and with the integrated technology in the Next-Gen, you can toss it in the air, and the motors will activate, and the drone will start flying. It is also splash proof, and this means that you can take your drone out during rainy and snowy conditions.

  • Dimensions: 8.74 x 3.9 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 0.85 pounds
  • Battery: 11.4V 1650mAh Li-Po 3S battery
  • Flight time: 25 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 25 miles per second
  • Controller: 5.8 GHz
  • Maximum operating range: 100 Feet
  • Compatibility: iOS, Android operating systems
  • Camera: 4K 1080P 13-megapixels Sony camera

The Lily Camera drone was somewhat a flop, but the Next-Gen has proven to be a capable drone in the aerial photography circles. It has a midnight black high strength polycarbonate body with stylish brushed aluminum accents. Special features that boost its performance include Geofencing, Smart Hover, and it will return to the last take-off position in case the wi-fi connection with the controller is lost.

Mota LILY Camera Drone 2017 Gen
Price: $628.95
You save: $71.04 (10 %)
25 new from $628.950 used

10  GDU Byrd Premium 2.0

GDU - BYRD Premium 2.0 Drone
Source: https://www.dronerush.com

This little-known drone brand has a modular design which means that you can attach more than one of the popular gimbals and cameras. It has a video transmission range of 1.24 miles which is one of the longest in the market.

  • Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.8 x 4.2 inches
  • Weight: 4.17 pounds
  • Battery: 6700mAh Li-Po battery
  • Flight time: 29 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 25 miles per second
  • Controller: 5.8 GHz
  • Maximum operating range: 100 Feet
  • Compatibility: iOS, Android operating systems
  • Camera: 4K 960p/1080p 12-megapixels Sony CMOS camera

The attached camera has infrared capabilities, and this gives you a new edge in executing your photography projects. It has several smart vision positioning features, GPS, one button take-off and landing, and full folding capabilities.

Why Use Drones in Your Photography Projects

Drones can give a different perspective to the landscape we encounter on a daily basis. If you are a photographer, you must consider getting a drone and if you already have one, upgrade to the best drone for professional photography. Modern drones have high-quality cameras, and they can reduce the work needed to get the perfect shot by as much as half. In this guide, we look at the best photography drone for beginners, and we break down the jargon to simple English, and by the end, we will have outlined the best drone for professional photography.

Things to Keep in Mind

There is much to consider whether you are shopping for the drone online or in value stores, you need to consider the following factors

Technical Know How

Modern photography drones are technologically advanced, and whether you are a beginner or have experience, advancing technology will sure confuse you at the beginning. However, it is not that big of a mountain to climb; you get detailed user manuals that outline the functionality of the features. First time pilots will have a hard time using the controllers, and it is, therefore, necessary that you consider getting a drone with a smartphone app.

The app makes flying for beginners easy since you can use gestures and fly using the flight simulator. You will learn so much about the drone using the app such as drone control, camera settings customization, and so much more.

Camera

This is a fundamental factor in choosing the best drone for aerial photography. Whether you are doing aerial photography as a hobby or as a professional, you will need to get the best quality as possible. Cheap drones have outdated cameras and sensors and will give average if not bad quality to the photos. You will find some drones with cameras that have as much as 20-megapixel cameras that can take 720pat 60 fps and 1080p at 30 fps.

If you prefer to use your DSLR or action camera of aerial photography, many drones come with compatible camera mounting. They provide a better than average performance, and you only have to learn how to control the drone.

Autonomous Flight Modes

There is more to flying a drone by fiddling with the joysticks on the controller. Autonomous flight modes allow you to set a flight path and this leaves you with enough time to focus on getting the best shot. Some modern drones have a task library that remembers where it was flown, and this allows you to get the same shot in different light conditions. GPS plays a massive role in the execution of flight modes.

Obstacle Avoidance

When you are busy focusing on getting the best shot, you might miss a couple of obstacles in the flight path. The result is that your drone will crash and it will reduce the lifespan of your drone. Modern photography drones such as those made by DJI have omnidirectional obstacle avoidance systems that will keep the drone from crashing into the obstacles in its flight path. This feature also comes in handy when the drone is making a beeline to the takeoff position. While not all drones have the system, some have propeller guards that keep the propellers and the motors safe in case of a crush.

Flight Time

Drone batteries have come along way, and some drones will give you as much as half an hour of flight time. The average charging time is one hour, and this means that if you have a long schedule of taking aerial photography, you will need extra batteries. However, cheap drones will give you less than 15 minutes of flight time, and this will not be sufficient for enough shots.

Operational Range

The operational range is varied and depends on the quality of the remote controller. This is a crucial factor to consider when you are looking for the best drone for real estate photography. The type of antenna you have on your controller and the video transmission on the drone will affect how well you get the feed from the drone’s camera. Before you make a purchase, read on customer reviews and look out for the likelihood of interference in the feed.

Precautions to Take When You Get Your Drone

Most drones are advertised as ready to fly, and this makes most beginner pilots lazy. While everyone goes through unique problems when they begin flying, there are precautions you ought to take before you take the drone on its inaugural flight. These include

  • Charge the battery to full capacity. This prevents the drone from malfunctioning due to power related failures
  • Perform a pre-flight checklist. This includes calibrating the gimbal, compass, GPS, et al.
  • Connect the controller to the drone and ensure it responds to the commands
  • Check that the wind is below 20 miles per hour and that there is less than a 10% chance of precipitation
  • Check for obstructions such as towers, trees, buildings on your intended flight path
  • Scout for suitable take-off, landing, as well as emergency hover zones
  • Go through the FAA drone regulations
  • Have a spotter to keep sight of the drone if you are using FPV goggles

All this information is outlined in the user manual, for GPS however; you must ensure that the drone has locked GPS signal with no less than six satellites. This provides a strong connection between the drone and the ground station.

Pick the Best Drone for Aerial Photography

There you have it, the ten best drones for aerial photography. They also deliver excellent close-up shots. While DJI has continued to make some of the best drones, there are other emerging companies giving them a run for their money. These drones are not only professional; they are beginner friendly. Consider your budget and get one of these drones today.