This week’s blog features Brent Looyenga of Looyenga Photography. And he’s here to tell us how drone photography has changed the way he shoots weddings.
Drone Photography with Brent Looyenga
Getting that “This Belongs on the Wall” shot is every good photographer’s goal—one made easier by having the right gear. And what better way to capture that breathtaking moment than with a drone?
Brent Looyenga recently started using a drone in his wedding coverage and his clients are loving the unique and epic shots he’s able to capture from high above the action.
“With the drone, I really think of it as another lens. It’s another tool in my box that allows me to create an amazing image for the couple that they can remember forever.” But just like a special lens, Brent says having the drone doesn’t always mean using it. “I want to provide my clients with the best possible photo in whatever scenario we’re in and some scenarios don’t leave room for a great drone photo.”
Trial & Error with Drone Photography
Brent learned how to determine drone worthy shots through trial and error. “In a drone photo, you’re trying to frame an image, but from the top down instead of with a clear background because the backdrop isn’t what you’re looking at.”
The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based photographer says everything changes when you’re literally looking at the ground to take a photo. “I have to ask myself, can the trees frame the couple? Is there something unique about the ground? Or is there a lot of color or great texture?” He likens it to setting up a flat lay. “It’s similar because you’re trying to make sure that the subject is the thing that people see but at the same time, with a flat lay, you’re also trying to fill in the area with other beautiful details that look amazing.”
Getting His Flight Patterns Down
Flying the drone came easily to the gadget lover, it was the posing that took some getting used to. “I’ve learned more about getting people to look natural from the air.”
Brent says the most surprising thing about drone work has been seeing how uncomfortable people look from above while they’re laying down. “It’s important to know how to pose people’s legs and hands so they look natural because otherwise it’s really awkward from the air.”
Another challenge has been hiding what you don’t want featured in the shot. “There’s always a blanket that they’re laying on so I’ve learned over time how to spread the dress out to hide it and other things that just come with time and practice.”
When To Fly & When To Stay Grounded
Despite being drawn to the endless photo options the drone presents, Brent doesn’t lose sight of the most important thing he’s there to capture. “If it’s between getting candids of people laughing or getting an epic venue shot, most of the time I’m going to get candids because a beautiful view is great, but the value is in the people—not the view.”
When the package includes a second shooter, Brent is able to do both, but when he’s covering a wedding alone, he says he only uses the drone about 30% of the time. “There’s a lot of times where the ground just isn’t worth it. Or there isn’t the framing needed or the color needed to get a great drone photo.”
Written by Sabrina Sabbagh