Shot by Bots

Getting the right angle for the perfect shot just got easier with next-generation drone technology.

Elia Locardi Travel Photography

Lugging a camera used to be a chore reserved for only the most diligent scrapbooker in the family. Now, with a camera attached to every phone, and most relatively inexpensive cameras capable of rendering high-megapixel images, everyone can be a budding travel photographer. Whether you’re just snapping some family vacation pictures for posterity, or a professional photographer shooting on location, you can take your images to the next level by strapping a camera to a trusty drone, capable of zipping up to the sky, capturing the perfect shot from a previously unreachable angle.

Photographers of all skill levels are using drones to capture still images and videos, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Travel photographer Elia Locardi started using drones while on assignment, after chartering helicopters got to be too expensive. “Like $1,000 or more per hour expensive,” he told us. Since he purchased his first drone—a DJI Phantom 3 Pro—for a trip to Italy in May 2015, it hasn’t left his side. “I’ve bonded with the aircraft on an emotional level. I feel that we’ve been through so many crazy situations together, especially when I flew it over Vatican City in Rome!”

Locardi’s images are breathtaking, but it’s possible for anyone to create brilliant pictures with the help of a drone. And for the less technologically inclined, some drones have self-flying features and 360-degree sensors that make them nearly impossible to crash. Or, if you’re more of a hands-on learner, you have the opportunity to be trained directly from Locardi. In partnership with DJI, the world’s leading maker of personal and professional drones, Locardi is offering training workshops located in some of the most picturesque places in the world like Portugal, Menorca, Singapore, and Bali. The workshops will cover the gamut from flying drones to shooting photos, and even post-processing of shots and safety regulations. Most importantly, as the official sponsor, DJI will provide workshop participants with complimentary access and exclusive discounts to the latest drone and imaging technology.

“Being that we’re only a few short years into having drone technology readily available to us, I can only imagine how far it’s going to grow in the coming years ahead,” says Locardi. “Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s going to come out next.”

The family scrapbooker might have to haul more than just a camera on the next vacation. But with the right gear, know-how, and a little experience, memories from your trip can be relived in vivid colors and from stunning heights.

Parrot Bebop Two

DRONE GUIDE | Parrot Bebop 2 | $549
Weighing just over a pound and offering 25 minutes of autonomous flight time, this leisure drone is cutting edge. Its high-performance specs mean it can fly, film, and take photographs brilliantly both indoors and outdoors.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro | $999
The Mavic Pro is the most bang for your buck. Portable yet powerful, the Mavic Pro is your personal drone, ready to go with you everywhere. When closed, the drone is small enough to toss in your bag and take with you anywhere. Don’t let the size fool you. With powerful stabilized 4k video, 27-minute flight time, 4.3-mile range, and four vision sensors, you can pretty much do anything from your fingertips. If you’re an amateur photographer with an epic sense of wanderlust and need a drone capable of keeping up with you as you travel around the world, the DJI Mavic Pro is definitely for you.

GoPro Kama

GoPro Karma | $799 – $1,099
What’s exciting about this drone is all the accessories and possibilities. We know that with the GoPro family we can expect quality and versatility, and this drone is nothing short of that. The great thing is, if you already own a GoPro (Hero 4 or 5), you can get the drone body and save some money. If you don’t have a GoPro, get the drone with it included—then you have a GoPro camera to pop off and use in a million other ways. The drone also has accessories that come with it out of the box, like an impressive carrying case that doubles as a backpack. It also has a built-in shoulder mount and a game-style camera remote control so you don’t have to waste your phone battery to fly.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

DJI Phantom 4 Pro | $1,499
This drone is for serious flyers that want impressive results, all while arguably being one of the easiest drones to fly. With one of the highest quality cameras in its class at 20mps and 4k video, the image quality is unbeatable. Without a doubt this drone is probably one of the easiest and safest to fly, even for a complete novice. Even at full speed the drone will stop itself mid-flight if it senses an object, completely avoiding a crash. Its intelligent flight modes are incredible. The drone flies itself and does exactly as you command, all without even touching the controller. Due to its rigid design, this drone is a little bulkier, but trust, the results are worth the extra carry-on bag.

© Photos 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, courtesy of Elia Locardi; Photo 7 courtesy of Parrot Brand Studio; Photo 8 courtesy of Inspiring Moments/; Photo 10 courtesy of Valentin Valkov/

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