Drones take travel photography to new heights

A photograph taken in Myanmar by a drone. More travel companies are offering innovative services such as aerial shoots to woo customers.
A photograph taken in Myanmar by a drone. More travel companies are offering innovative services such as aerial shoots to woo customers.PHOTO: NYTIMES

Luxury travel company Black Tomato has introduced a service called Drone The World, which sends a professional drone photographer to capture their clients' adventures.

The service is included in trips from US$5,500 (S$8,000) a person for a three-night itinerary, including flights, accommodation and excursions.

Once home, travellers receive a three-minute edited video that features sweeping aerial footage of their trip. Its co-founder, Mr Tom Marchant, says: "It gives our guests a chance to see where they travelled from a brand-new perspective."

The InterContinental David Tel Aviv just started a five-night honeymoon package (from US$3,277) that counts a drone photoshoot among its array of offerings.

Shangri-La's Hambantota Resort & Spa in Sri Lanka (rooms from US$250) provides guests with the chance to fly a drone themselves or be filmed by one while engaging in a wide range of on-site activities, including golfing and trapeze-flying. Footage is available on CD or via e-mail for US$20.

Back on the ground, travellers can forgo the ubiquitous selfie by booking through companies supplying high-quality shoots by professional photographers.

Ms Katalina Mayorga, the founder of El Camino Travel, said she understood that people live in an image-driven world, but felt that travellers (herself included) too often sacrificed the present moment to capture the perfect Instagram-worthy photo.

This led her to start a travel company for millennials that specialises in group itineraries to Latin America (from US$2,050 a person).

On each trip, she sends a professional photographer who shoots more than 500 photos a day and delivers about 30 edited images each morning to the group, which they can immediately share on social media.

"It's a much different vibe when people are not always on their phones," she said. "The experience becomes much more authentic."

Holiday photography companies Flytographer and Shoot My Travel work with their global networks of photographers based in more than 150 cities around the world.

They offer a selection of photography packages tailored to solo travellers, friends, couples and families, ranging from 30-minute to three-hour sessions.

The photographer also doubles as an informal tour guide sharing insider tips while snapping candid photos of visitors as they explore a destination.

Edited images are delivered within 48 hours to Shoot My Travel clients, while Flytographer promises five days.

"We want people to know there's another option besides taking selfies, asking a stranger or taking turns being in a photo," said Ms Nicole Smith, the founder of Flytographer, whose top-selling package is a 60-minute shoot (US$350), booked mostly by clients celebrating milestone moments abroad such as proposals, honeymoons and anniversaries.

Miami, New York and Paris are some of the most frequently booked locations by consumers, as well as Havana.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 01, 2017, with the headline 'Drones take travel photography to new heights'. Print Edition | Subscribe