You may recognize Cody Raisig as one of the most sought-after wedding photographers in NYC. After years of capturing incredible photographs that emphasize authenticity, soft light, and powerful composition, Cody has taken to the sky and launched Wedding Drone New York, a full-service videography company producing footage of weddings like you’ve never seen before. We caught up with Cody about his exciting new business, dream venues for aerial footage, and how to embrace drones on your special day without feeling like you’ve walked into a sci-fi movie.
What sets Wedding Drones New York apart from other NYC wedding videography?
Aerial cinematography is cutting edge. Very few wedding movie companies use drones; but for those that do so, most are operating illegally, without proper authorization from the FAA, and most don’t have drone-specific liability insurance. But that’s just the start. Wedding Drone New York uses the most high-tech drones, enabling us to capture the most spectacular footage. Whereas other wedding videographers use drones that are operated by one person, we use drones that are operated by two people, allowing us to perform the most amazing camera movements.
Additionally, we are dedicated to documenting everything that takes place outdoors on a wedding day from the sky, not just one small moment. Our wedding video teams have dedicated drone operators on location for the entire wedding day, in addition to conventional cameramen working on the ground. Most other wedding video companies can only do one or the other.
I’ve noticed some brides on blogs who are resistant to drone videography, seeing it as too invasive and futuristic. What advice would you give to brides to feel more comfortable having a drone flying around them?
In addition to the drone, my team always has cinematographers on the ground using conventional handheld cameras; therefore, the bride can decide how much or how little she wants the drone to be a part of the day. For instance, if a bride doesn’t want the drone to distract from the ceremony, we won’t fly the drone then, leaving it solely to our ground crew to document the ceremony. Another way to make the drone unobtrusive during the ceremony is to have it fly at a high enough altitude so that it can’t be seen or heard. When the drone is 200 feet above you, you can’t hear it or see it; but it’s still getting an insanely cool view of everything. Problem solved.
How did you learn to operate a drone and what is that process like?
I first bought a tiny drone that I could fly indoors and crash into the walls and ceiling of my house – the drone was the size of a silver dollar. Once I mastered that, I bought the real thing and flew the drone very cautiously. At the same time, I was getting a pilot’s license, flying real aircraft. Flight school made me put my life in my own hands, and I quickly realized that flying a two-pound drone was far less complicated than flying a Cessna. Lastly, operating a drone is only half the game; one needs to have the artful eye in order to compose incredible shots. I’ve been a professional cinematographer and still photographer my entire career, shooting weddings around the world and directing photoshoots from Japan to Switzerland, Mexico to Costa Rica. A lot of geeks use drones, but it takes the eye of an artist to get incredible shots.
The video on your website is filmed at a gorgeous, sprawling estate. Do you, or can you, also capture drone footage in a densely populated area like Manhattan?
Using a drone in Manhattan is very challenging for a variety of reasons. The majority of Manhattan resides within LaGuardia Airport’s airspace, which is entirely off-limits to drones. Downtown Manhattan is fair game for drones in terms of airspace, but the challenge then becomes flying the drone over the general public, which is prohibited. We are only allowed to fly the drone over willing participants of the photoshoot, eliminating places where random people are hanging out and walking. That said, a rooftop in lower Manhattan, would be fair game to fly the drone over. Can you a picture a wedding on top of Tribeca Rooftop?
Tell me about a venue you’d love to capture with drone photography.
I’ve photographed several weddings at Blue Hill Stone Barns, and the venue is really gorgeous. I think it would be an awesome place to bring a drone. I can imagine getting shots of the bride and groom on their grounds, and it would be stunning. Also, any wedding that takes place by the ocean or beach would be great, too. I photographed a wedding in Saint Lucia at a place called Cap Maison, and the ceremony took place on a cliff over the Caribbean Sea. That would be perfect for Wedding Drone New York!
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