Drone Photography Over Populated Areas: What You Need to Know

When it comes to taking photos over populated areas with a drone, there are some special considerations that need to be taken into account. Flying a manned or unmanned aircraft can be complex and even more so with the added task of photographing. For photographers and journalists, investigating what can and cannot be legally photographed with a drone can be a slow process. In the United States, an airplane cannot fly below 1000 feet in a populated area.

This means that if you want to take photos over populated areas, you will need to fly higher than this. However, this does not mean that you cannot take photos over sparsely populated areas. In these cases, you may be able to fly lower than 1000 feet, as long as you are not flying over moving vehicles or outdoor meetings. When it comes to drone photography, some states have stated that critical infrastructure is prohibited for drone photography, even though photographing the infrastructure could very well be in the public interest.

It is important to research the laws in your area before attempting any drone photography over populated areas. In Japan, all drones weighing 200 grams or more must be considered unmanned aerial vehicles and must be approved before any planned operation. This means that if you are planning on taking photos with a drone in Japan, you will need to get approval from the government before doing so. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expects drone pilots to take into account the fact that they are flying close to people when deciding when a crowd is considered an outdoor gathering.

The specific requirement that a group of people be considered an outdoor meeting is not explicitly defined in the regulations. For monthly photos or general marketing photographs, it may be more cost-effective to hire a manned aircraft photographer. This is mainly because of the regulations and restrictions that come with flying drones in certain areas.

Jamal Perce
Jamal Perce

Lifelong web nerd. Passionate pop culture maven. Total food practitioner. Avid burrito fan. Friendly beer nerd.

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