Jeryl Teo got a drone last April – a 12-megapixel Mavic Pro, with a maximum flight time 27 minutes, control range of over four miles and price tag of about £730. That marked the start of his exploration from above, he says. “Since then, I’ve not once left home to shoot without my drone in my backpack.”
Teo shares his bird’s-eye views with nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram as @j9ryl. Surveying his surroundings from a vantage point far beyond the skyscrapers of his home in Singapore sparks his creativity, he says. “Flying the drone allows me to find my own perspective on the static cityscape.”
The island, though small, is one of Teo’s favourite places to shoot – along with Hong Kong and Shanghai – because of its futuristic architecture and ever-changing skyline. “We tend to be very much limited by our vision, and by where we stand physically – I feel free once I’m in the air, playing with natural elements such as light, shadows and clouds.”
Drone photography continues to boom in spite of many restrictions on where they can be flown, particularly by professional photographers, whose flying is often classified as commercial use. A 2016 study by Allied Market Research predicted that the aerial photography industry would grow nearly 13% over the course of the next six years, to be worth $2.8bn (£2bn) globally.
Its popularity even amateurs is evident on Instagram, where dedicated accounts collate the best shots. @DroneoftheDay has close to a quarter of a million followers and @FromWhereIDrone has 153,000. At time of writing, nearly 6m images had been tagged #drone – and nearly 2m as #drones.
James Langston, who posts on Instagram as @jim.langston and who shot some of the images below, started drone photography in January 2017. One year on he shoots with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, a £1,500 professional-quality video and still aerial camera with 20 megapixels, a maximum flight time of 30 minutes, and a control range of four miles.