Drones have become an indespensible tool in capturing high quality resort photographs.

Location, vicinity (particularly to the beach), activities and size are just a few of the aspects of a resort property that can be appealingly captured using a drone – and at a fraction of the price we all once paid to hire a helicopter.

And, given it can be up in just five minutes, there’s so much more flexibity to be had in terms of shooting in ideal conditions (lighting, cloud cover and tides), the subject matter you have time to shoot (property, scenery, activities etc), and the angles you can work at (high, low, distant, close). Added to that, the drone flies at 45 kilometres per hour, it can travel seven kilometres from where you’re standing, and it rises to 500 metres (not that you’re allowed to, he adds).

But it’s only recently that high quality still photography in a drone has become both affordable and easily transportable (as I have written before, I waited for the Phantom 4 Pro to be released this year before heading skyward, finally convinced the large file size and the quality the sensor produced were up to the job). That said, it’s an extra case to carry, a whole new dimension to work in, and there’s the technology to master, but the results speak for themselves.

It’s now hard to imagine a resort not wanting quality drone images featured in their promotional collateral – or for me to head off on assignment without it.

Here’s a short preview (above) of some of the drone images captured over the past few months which have all been shot to convey key marketing messages of the property.

I’ve just returned from back-to-back assignments, photographing two of Vanuatu’s boutique resort properties  – The Havannah and Ratua Island Resort and Spa, as well as postcard-perfect Erakor Island Resort.

Twenty one days all up (so I’m looking forward to putting the camera’s down for a while and finishing off a few publishing projects).

Short previews from each of the properties can be seen by clicking on the three photographs below:

I enjoy playing outside of my professional genre of photography (tourism) and interpreting beauty in the opportunities I have to travel. On this occasion, a young ni- Vanuatu horseman was bathing his horse at Ratua Island Resort, near Espiritu Santo.

I’m just finishing up the Erakor Island shoot in Vanuatu before heading back.

The brief was largely to capture the personality of the island focusing on families, and to  show Erakor’s features in their best light.

Here’s a short preview of some of the images from the shoot  (ya gotta love the idea of laying on a lilo on a balmy night in the South Pacific and being served cocktails or popcorn while you’re watching a movie):

In America, drone flyers are being imprisoned (that’s what you get when your drone drops out of the sky over a public place and hits someone), and they’re having their equipment blasted from the heavens by enthusiasts of the Second Amendment who are a touch sensitive about their privacy.

Here in Australia, we’re taking a more modest approach – though more restrictions are being added by various layers of federal, state and local government authorities. Council’s are declaring no fly zones, national parks are issuing permits claiming the peace and quite of bushwalkers is being threatened, property owners are stating their resistance in signage (below), and regional tourism authorities are insisting they also have a role to play in resticting flights. Meanwhile, drone manufacturers are being forced to build fly walls into their software upgrades, and intense lobbying has begun by serious commercial flyers to bring in more restrictive legislation on drone pilots through the Department of Civil Aviation (which, thankfully, just withdrew some of its restictions on semi commercial drones under two kilos – or non of this would be relevent to me. My Phantom 4 Pro comes in at 1.8 kilos).

Of course, further restrictions are inevitable – and sensible to a degree as two kilos flying at 45 kilometres an hour can do some serious damage – even though the number of drone accidents is reportedly dropping and aviation experts are saying the effect of a recreational drone flying into a jet turbine would cause about as much damage to that of a bird (in other words, it would barely produce a ripple in the teacup that comes with your inflight service).

Photograph Gavin James…..future drone pilot.