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Why You Should be Wary of Drone Photography When Planning a Trip

Why You Should be Wary of Drone Photography When Planning a Trip

Have you ever seen a drone shot of a beach and thought “Wow, that looks amazing, I have to go there”? Slow down a bit — you’ll never see that view when you visit, and the ground-level situation could be very different. 

Note: None of the photos in this post are drone shots (mostly because I don’t have a drone).

Everything Looks Good from Above

Whether it’s a beach, braided river, or any other scenic spot, it almost always looks better from above. Go far enough into the air and pretty much anything looks good.  You don’t see the rubbish, murky water, rough sand, or the slightly boring surrounds that you would at ground level. I see this a lot with beach resorts especially — if every photo a resort presents of its nearby beach is a drone shot it’s almost definitely not a great beach. The photo below was taken from a viewpoint and it was just as good below (17 Islands Marine Park, Indonesia).

Backpacing in Indonesia - a view of the 17 islands marine park in Riung, Flores



It’s Not a View You’ll Ever See

I was researching a post about the best beaches in Senggigi, Lombok (Indonesia) and the first post on there was full of drone shots. Like 90% drone shots. That looks nice, I thought, but what will I actually see there? After reading that post I still had no idea.

And that’s the problem. Being inspired to visit a place because of a view you’ll never see sets you up for disappointment. The odd drone shot is fine, but if I can’t see what the place is like at ground level as well I assume it’s either not very good or the person didn’t actually set foot there. Getting good travel advice and realistic inspiration is key — so if it’s all dreamy drone shots you’re right to be cynical. 

READ MORE: The beaches in Senggigi were pretty good (some of them at least)!


Because everything looks better from above, it’s always fun to try and find elevated viewpoints. When planning a trip to a particular place, look for the bloggers who try and show you these spots.  It’s easy to fly a drone to see places from above, but it’s a lot more rewarding to hike up a big hill and see it for yourself, rather than through a screen.

Are you a fan of drone photography? Have you been burned by drone photography expectations? Let me know in the comments below!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.