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A Buyer’s Guide for Drones

Image credit: StockSnap / Pixabay

Drones seem to be everywhere these days. These compact, ground or aerial based vehicles are unmanned and are used for both recreational and commercial use. A lot of drones are outfitted photography tools, allowing users to capture photos from angles that would otherwise be impossible to reach.

Aerial drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, take to the skies to capture photographs. These multirotors are controlled by radio remote, though many can also be programmed and controlled via an electronic device, such as a smartphone or tablet.

If you are interested in purchase a drone for photography, you probably have some questions and need some assistance finding the right option for you. This buyer’s guide offers all the information needed to select the best photography drone for your specific needs.

Which Drone is Right for You?

Photographers and videographers of any skill level who want to capture incredible images from angles that they would otherwise be unable to access will benefit from purchasing a drone. From recording videos of friends riding the waves or making jumps on BMX bikes, or capturing panoramic photographs of cityscapes and farmlands, with a drone, you’ll be able to bring a totally new perspective to your photos and videos.

If you already have an action camera, you might want to consider looking into models that have a built-in camera mount instead of a model that comes equipped with a camera. If you don’t own an action camera, a drone with a built-in camera and a stabilizing gimbal is a wise investment.

The majority of drones offer mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices. These apps allow you to watch the videos you record live through Wi-Fi, which is a pretty cool tool.

Photography drones are classified into three basic categories. These categories are based on your level of experience and how you intend to use the drone. These three categories include:

  • Casual Enthusiast
  • Hobbyist
  • Professional

Tips to Remember

Whether you’re a casual enthusiast, a hobbyist or a pro, there are some things that you are going to want to keep in mind before you buy and use a photography drone. Here’s a look at some tips that will help you not only find the right drone for you, but ensure you are using it properly.

Always Fly Responsibly!

No matter what category you fall in, you want to make sure that you are flying your drone responsible. Most countries, the United States included, regulate the use of drones and other unmanned aircraft. Before you purchase a drone and start flying it, you want to make sure that you are aware of all of the rules that apply to using a drone.

Out-of-the-Box Flying

If you’re looking for the easiest setup possible, go with an out-of-the-box, ready-to-fly (RTF) drone. There are a lot of beginner drones available. They require the least amount of setup possible and come complete with everything that is needed to take flight, including the battery, the charger, the controller, and of course, a user manual.

With this type of drone, all you have to do is attach the accessories, charge up the battery, and connect the controller to a smartphone or tablet. If you have an action camera, purchase an RTF drone with an action mount so that you can affix your camera to it. If you don’t own an action camera, you can purchase a drone that has one built right into it. Whichever one you buy, make sure that you read all of the instructions in the user manual before you take off.

Know Your Control Systems

The most effortless drone flights begin with smart and intuitive remote control transmitters. These transmitters vary from basic models with two joysticks that are used to control the speed and the flight path of the drone to more sophisticated devices that offer advanced programming to control all of the functions of both the drone and the camera.

A lot of remote controls can be synched to a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a table. This allows you to view live feed of the videos your drone is taking through a Wi-Fi or digital video link. There are also drones that utilize a mobile device as the controller via Wi-Fi and an app.

Flight Time

How long can drones fly for? That depends on several factors, including the speed of the flight, the weather conditions, the life of the battery, as well as the payload. On average, flight times are between 15 and 25 minutes long. The average speed is around 20 mile per hour, though some high-tech drones can reach speeds that exceed 55 miles per hour. The majority of drones can stand up to light moisture and mild wind. If a gimbal and action camera is mounted to the drone, the flight time will likely be reduced.

Flight Modes

The majority of photography drones offer three different flight modes, including:

  • Auto, which are preprogrammed courses that enable autonomous flying through GPS.
  • Hover mode allows the drone to hover over a location, using the assistance of GPS
  • Manual mode allows drowns to be flown entirely manually, without the use of GPS assistance. This mode should only be used by those who have experience flying a drone.

Action Cameras

If you want to take high-resolution photos, skip the low-end drones. Their pictures are pixilated and the creative control is limited. A better option is a model that is specifically designed for photography and video, as they offer features such as a gimbal and high-quality, built-in cameras.


A gimbal is a tool that mounts an action camera underneath a drone frame. It allows for increased stability and better range of motion. In order to capture high-quality photos and videos, you’re going to need a gimbal, as it holds the camera stead and therefore keeps the video smooth throughout the duration of the flight. A remote control can be used to operate the drone and the gimbal.

What are people buying?

Check out our affiliate link below to see what people are getting from Amazon.

Amazon also ships some models overseas to countries such as Australia. With Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to start looking at what drone you want to save up for.