There seems to be a fair bit of confusion around the legal use of drones in general and in particular using them for commercial purposes.
Some time ago we looked into adding a drone as part of our wedding photography coverage after testing one however we decided it was not for us and decided not to proceed with offering it to our clients.
Recently we have noticed that there seems to be a large increase in Northern Ireland photographers offering this service. We have recently received several enquiries from companies that offer only drone coverage asking us to recommend them to our clients or wanting us to include them in our wedding packages.
To use a drone for commercial purposes the pilot/photographer must be C.A.A approved. This approval has to be renewed on an annual basis and is known as “A Permission for Aerial Work” or a PFAW. The operator must also have commercial insurance for this purpose. The normal public liability insurance that professional photographers have or should have will not do.
We have yet to come across a Northern Ireland photographer that has both the necessary insurance and the C.A.A approval, there probably is some out there but we don’t know them. None of the companies that offer drone coverage that contacted us had the relevant insurance or the necessary permission from the C.A.A. This is why we will not recommend local drone photography businesses to our clients or include these third party companies in the options we offer to our clients.
The C.A.A have stated that even if a friend wants to use a drone to take stills or video footage at a wedding that they would also require C.A.A approval due to a larger group of people being involved and the pilot/photographer/operator being unlikely to be able to control all of the guests.
If you are thinking about booking drone coverage for your wedding we would suggest checking the C.A.A’s official register of approved pilots. This will ensure that there will be no legal or safety issues come your big day.