Since drones were first introduced for civilian use, their applications have continued to expand. One application professional photographers and filmmakers immediately jumped on was the ability for drones to carry high-quality cameras to snap previously impossible shots and footage.
Today, we’ve seen an expansion of the drone market that hopes to include both professional and amateur photographers looking to get that perfect shot. Yet what does this mean for tomorrow? Some technological innovations in the past few years may mean some very exciting new features.
New Integrated Experiences
One of the more fascinating advances we should expect to see in drone photography is the use of virtual reality. Right now, most drones work off a small monitor, be it your smartphone or computer. But virtual reality is a growing market that will no doubt become an integral part of the drone world, especially for photographers.
Why? VR offers a much more familiar experience for photographers because all the drone operator needs to do to “look around” is move his or her head. The VR set can be configured to follow head movements. This means quicker response times to photo-worthy targets and an even easier time following moving objects.
For photographers who just want to capture views they’d never be able to see with their eyes, VR offers the opportunity to experience it both before and after the shot is taken.
Like smartphones, drones built for photography are going to get much more advanced. That means more toys to play with and more diverse options, including:
- Higher quality cameras at lower prices
- Better interfaces with more control (exposure, white balance, etc.)
- Strong integration with our smartphones
- Improved environmental interaction (reduced collision potential, increased mobility, longer distance control)
Right now, most of those features will set you back hundreds of dollars each. But as we’ve seen with smartphones, even the more basic devices have started to carry cameras that were once the pinnacle of smartphone photography.
No doubt drones will also get smaller. Having a tiny, compact drone that can be quickly released to take an otherwise impossible shot may become a standard for photographers everywhere.
For more professional photographers, drone photography promises new and exciting opportunities. In already existing markets, such as wedding photography, a drone offers new perspectives and quicker coverage of different angles and places.
Travel photographers also have a great chance to market their drone photos to businesses looking to advertise. Pictures of businesses and land from above or slightly oblique angle are excellent for tourists and can be done much more affordably than in the past.
Amateur filmmakers will also have greater opportunities because the need for a film crew can be dramatically reduced by making effective use of drones.
Public Privacy Concerns
Thus far, drone photography has made out pretty good as far as the law is concerned. Taking photographs in public places is still mostly legal, excepting very select circumstances such as prohibition by government entities.
That said, drones also come with a very invading-your-privacy appearance when it comes to taking pictures; some have even taken the occasion as a license to shoot down your precious device, despite said practice being highly illegal (no different than firing on aircraft).
With more drones out there taking pictures, it’s difficult to say which way the law will go. Most likely, each state will carry different regulations regarding what type of photography is considered legal. It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that some areas will prohibit unlicensed drone photography.
Drones, whether for photography or not, will face similar problems as they become more prevalent. Much like the sudden appearance of malware in the once virus-free Apple, drones are likely to face issues with hacking and infection.
And that future is sooner than you think. Already, an application called SkyJack has been used to assume control over drones within WiFi range. That’s because these drones all connect using similar addresses that are easy to figure out over unsecured networks.
One possible solution might be to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to obscure the network connection with the use of a remote server and encryption. It’s one of the best ways to avoid WiFi-related hacking.
Hopefully drone manufacturers will start working on countermeasures of their own. A stolen drone means not only no photos but potential theft of intellectual property.
The Sky Is the Limit
What other exciting advances in drone photography the future holds are anybody’s guess. One thing’s for sure: the market is growing.
Will you be a part of it? Tell us what you think of drone photography and where it’s going in the comments.
About the Author: Diamond is a technology enthusiast and internet security blogger. The many uses of modern tech keep her busy both outside and at home, whether it’s writing about said tech or just enjoying its use.