Drone photography has soared in recent years, with the number of and quality of drone photos increasing every year. There are so many photos in fact that drone photography even has its own official awards programmes.
Now that most new drones come equipped with high-quality cameras capable of capturing great shots and videos the images are only getting better and better. We say easier but that's not to say it's a walk in the park.
We've compiled some of the best photos we've seen as well as plenty more from Dronestagram and the Skypixel photo contest to show off just how stunning drone photos can be. Get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor.
Above the polar bear
The Grand Prize winner of 2017's Skypixel awards, captured using a Phantom 4 Pro, shows a lone polar bear leaping across the icy landscapes. Photographer Florian Ledoux, captioned his image:
"Dear future generation, I hope we will still be able to see the Arctic wildlife as we do now. It is threatened as the environment is changing. I was able to witness many scenes of wildlife and I can guarantee you this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Incredible and unique shot above a polar bear in Nunavut, Baffin area during wildlife reportage in Nunavut and Greenland."
Plenty of pools
This drone view of an impressive hotel complex shows plenty of pools for the guests to splash around in. Even in the middle of a concrete jungle, the illusion of paradise can be created with just a sprinkling of trees and brilliantly constructed pleasure pools.
Summer trim, France by jcourtial
Jerome Courtial, a 39-year-old Frenchman based in London, went to Valensole to get "an original picture rather than the classic view with the sunset in the background". His girlfriend was with him, and in an interview after being chosen as the No. 1 winner of Dronestagram's 2017 awards, he thanked her for her patience, as they “waited quite a long time to find the perfect spot”. The photo ended up being his favourite picture ever taken.
An island fortress
What better way to keep the heathens at bay than a massive island fortress surrounded by a moat as massive as a lake. This awesome countryside view was snapped and submitted to Dronestagram and is a real winner in our mind.
The land of the Earth
This image is a part of a collection of photos showing the damage industrial waste has done to the landscape. Although showing waves of beautiful colour, these aerial photographs actually demonstrate the damage mankind has done to the world we inhabit.
"The rapid development of human civilization has brought a series of negative effects. The environment is polluted and the ecology is destroyed. At present, the status quo of pollution in the earth is very harsh, forming a staggering "earth 殇"! Mankind must reflect on the triumphant industry development model, truly implement the policy of transforming the development mode and achieve sustainable social and economic development. Face the devastation of the earth, forever scars. Environmental pollution must be managed, otherwise, there will be no complete earth. Without protection of the environment, mankind will perish. Abstract images can instead better express the environmental impact of industrial pollution. Although these industrial pollution-related environments, details and colours can produce an attractive charm, the appearance does not represent the essence of spectacular colourful pictures may be very ugly nature, it is dirty, very evil. Human beings are rich in invention and creativity. They can also create a distinctive visual beauty in the process of industrial pollution and destruction of nature. The author recorded the destroyed land in aerial photography. This group of photos (18) 2017 shot in a mine tailings."
Haydarpasa train station
This is magnificent shot was snapped in Istanbul, Turkey and shows an incredible view over the waters with Haydarpasa train station in the background. It was shot on a DJI Phantom 2 and submitted to Dronstagram in 2015.
Next Level by Macareuxprod
Thibault Beguet, a 34-year-old photographer based in Rennes, Brittany, uses drones to take photos and make films for companies, agencies, TV, etc. This picture was captured with his girlfriend, Manon, while looking for a fun, original, and unusual way to announce they’re expecting to loved ones and friends: "We love Normandy, the sea, and outdoor activities, so we choose naturally to shoot on the beach."
This drone photo shows a paintball team readying for action outside a paint-stained fort. The fun is about to begin. This is just the calm before the storm.
Fields of colour
Another incredible drone photo from way up in the sky showing brilliantly colourful fields and a lone building at the edge of the river.
A globe with a view
Drones are packed with all sorts of clever camera tech these days. They include the ability to create images like this that turn a standard aerial photo into a globe-like view from above. This photo essentially makes a small island look like part of a new planet.
Ugo le marin by Rga
Romain Gaillard said this picture was taken early in the morning. "I had gone to the beach to take some pictures," he explained. "As I watched my children playing on the beach... I had the idea of using the sand as a large sheet of paper. So my two sons and myself drew a scene related to the sea - on the image you can see my oldest son."
Shadows from above
This image is from professional photographer and drone enthusiast Tomas Vam Houtryve who has a series of similarly awesome photos shot from the sky. Shadows seen from this angle appear larger than life and so much more impressive too.
A peaceful seaside view
It's not often you see seaside views like this with empty beaches and peaceful waterways. This drones-eye view also adds an interesting angle to what is no doubt already an idyllic nature spot.
Santa Maddalena village, Italy
This incredible photo shows the beautiful green hills and surroundings of Santa Maddalena in Italy. A brilliantly colourful shot of nature made possible by a man-made drone.
Waterfalls and rainbows
Another fantastic aerial image shows the water cascading from a waterfall creating rainbows in the spray below.
Taken in the skies of China, a number of magnificent photos were snapped by this professional photographer using a DJI Phantom 4 Pro. One of these images shows the rural villages and the hard work that goes into reaping the crop of fruit. This aerial view was chosen as the runner-up in the professional story category. We'd highly recommend checking out the rest of the images too.
The photographer commented:
"Autumn season is the season of harvest, full of golden fruit is the earth's contribution to the hard work of mankind."
Fun with boats
We're not really sure what's going on here. Whether it's a boat race or some sort of organised display, but this drone photo certainly shows a spectacle as people on boards paddle their way around the urban riverways.
Steeples and sailboats
This brilliant aerial view captures the majesty of a seaside town including the local church tower and all the sailboats moored on the dock. These skyline views are so easy to capture thanks to modern drones and yet we're not likely to see them regularly in our daily lives.
Two moo by Luke Bell
Luke Bell, a Cape Town-based videographer and photographer, said he took this photo on a cold, early morning in South Africa on a farm near Stellenbosch. "Two cows drinking from a nearby dam caught my eye when I saw their long shadows," he explained. "I launched my drone to capture the scene in a way impossible with any other type of camera."
Mountain biking with friends
If you're going to do something insane like take a mountain bike up an actual mountain, then what better way to capture it than with a drone. Add a dash of black and white wonder and you've got a real winner.
Splashing in crystal clear waters
Another brilliant aerial view of some swimmers enjoying the calm crystal clear waters below. This simple, yet brilliant image was submitted to Dronestagram and we're certainly jealous of the view.
The Angel of the North
The Angel of the North is most often seen by passing motorists and those who make the effort to stop to take a look. Captured from above using a drone though, it looks even more impressive.
Fortifications on the hill
There are many hidden gems like this scattered around the countryside. Castles, churches and medieval fortifications in hills and mountainsides designed to give the best view of the surroundings to keep the occupants safe. The original builders would never have seen them from this height though.
This image shows a Chinese fisherman working in the waters, plying their trade. This image was one of a series of similarly beautiful images captured above the waters.
Surfing for photos
Quite a number of these drone images feature photos captured above water of one kind or another. This one features an awesome shot of a surfer gliding over crystal clear waters leaving a calm wake as they go.
Santa Maddalena village, Italy
This incredible photo shows the beautiful green hills and surroundings of Santa Maddalena in Italy. A brilliantly colourful shot of nature made possible by a man-made drone.
This brilliantly simple image was captured on a DJI Mavic Pro and shows a dancer in the centre of an ancient courtyard in Shanghai, China.
"Shanghai's only nearly 190-year-old courtyard house with northern features is rarely seen in the south, where dancers dance not only skirts but also old Shanghai memories"
Miles and miles of concrete
Another shot from high above the land shows houses and buildings stretching off as far as the eye can see. This drone photo shows the image man has on this world and just how insignificant we are.
Peace, Spain by luckydron
Luis Saguar Domingo, a 24-year-old, said he got his drone as a gift at Christmas and was in Madrid looking for a nice place to fly the new drone. He feels relaxed when flying simply because of all the beautiful landscapes he's able to see, and when he took this picture, he thought it was "really cool and symmetrical". From this point of view, Domingo said it is really "hard taking a pic like that".
Sometimes drones are used for more serious undertakings. They're great for sporting events too. This aerial view seems to show a triathlon in action with some hardcore swimmers wading into cold waters to race.
A bird's eye view
Aerial views from drones are great, there's no denying, but what about throwing a winged marvel into the mix too. This magnificent bird doesn't seem even mildly put out by the drone buzzing around in its airspace.
This aerial image really plays tricks on the eye giving the impression of a cyclist mounting the side of a skyscraper. Nigel Kwan's image was skillfully captured using a Mavic Pro.
Wonderfully winding rivers
A brilliant view of untouched nature at its finest. A winding river cuts through a thick wood in the middle of nowhere. A perfectly peaceful to relax or at least to disturb the silence with some drone photography.
An aerial selfie
We all love a good selfie, this chap has taken it to another level by sending his camera into the sky. This drones-eye view shows an urban jungle with the pilot and his friend standing on the nearby rooftop.
Baby lobsters breeding farm
Above the waters of Vietnam, Trung Pham captured this image of the lobster farms of the Phu Yen province. The striking colours and mix of man-made materials with nature make for an incredible photograph.
A serene scene over calm waters as a long boat breaks the surface and paddles down the river. This colourful shot by Ric Netto is certainly something special.
Geometry of liquid gold
Javier del Cerro captured this brilliant aerial snap of the amazing symmetry of the olive tree groves of Castilla La Mancha, Spain.
An aerial view of history
A once magnificent building is captured by a drone as it tragically crumbles. A worn and weary structure, weathered by time and worn out without upkeep. A sad sight somehow made beautiful from above.
This aerial photograph was captured at 1,500 feet above the rivers of Iceland. The swooping lines show the beauty of nature and this image is part of a series of equally magnificent snaps with a similar theme.
Smokestacks and silt
Sometimes modern drones can be used for professional undertakings too. They're commonly used to survey local landscapes, building works and industrial sites. This view certainly shows a lot of industrial activity, it might not be as marvellous as the others on our list, but it certainly shows the versatility of modern drones.
A steep fall
This aerial image shows a terrifying vertical drop down a cliff face. The climber is barely visible against the impressive backdrop, even with the bright green top.
Another classic drone photo shows a packed football stadium with a sea of spectators watching the action unfold.
The sun is busy
This drone photo shows an aerial view of workers drying noodles on various racks. The photographer captioned the image:
"On October 5, 2017, villagers in Xiashi Town, Kaili City, Guizhou Province, were busy drying noodles."
A blurry race track
We love this drone photo of a race track. Tyre marks on the corners show where all the fast action and quick turns happen. From up high, the track looks tiny too, but comparing to the local surroundings and buildings, it's clearly larger than it first appears.
Greener than green
There are some brilliant images in this list - colourful and wonderful snaps of our world from above like you're rarely likely to see in your daily lives.
Raising ducks by the river
In the skies above Vietnam, a drone captures ducks being raised by the local farmers. A mass of white ducks relax on the peaceful riverways while the farmer works.
Fun with fireworks
How often do you get to see fireworks from above? Not a common sight, yet utterly magnificent. Certainly a stadium with a view.
Dawn on mercury tower, Russia by Alexeygo
Alexey Goncharov, a 36-years-old physicist who works at Moscow State University, said he sometimes takes drone photos before heading into work. One morning, while in search of a beautiful reflection in mirror windows of Mercury tower, he spotted industrial climbers: “I liked the way their work looked from that perspective. They seemed to wash the city itself, not just the building's windows."
Always have a fancy finish
This brilliant image gives a new perspective and makes perfect use of the Mavic Pro's photography capabilities.
Anchang town more goods
This image shows an old town around twisting waterways. This town is known for its produce, but it's now also known for its views. This aerial image is part of a collection captured using the DJI Spark a small but clearly capable drone.
Zeng Xinmin commented about this image:
"Anchang Ancient Town is one of the four famous ancient towns in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province is the first batch of published historical and cultural towns. Was built in the Northern Song Dynasty, after the war, repeatedly burned, and rebuilt in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the architectural style inherits the typical characteristics of Jiangnan Water Village, a water, simple and elegant, its speciality Anchang sausage, or "sauce" The poultry meat, etc. Only you can not think of, there is no Anchang "wax", "sauce" can not. It is the hometown of Shaoxing Master."
This astoundingly beautiful image of the landscapes of Iceland is actually 12 separate images stitched into one. A brilliant panoramic shot of the surroundings with the cloud-covered mountaintops and flowing rivers cutting through the landscape.
Concrete jungle, Dubai, EAA by Bachirm
Bachir Moukarzel, a 33-year-old Lebanese living in Dubai, is a cluster Financial controller in Rotana Hotels. This picture was shot at sunset time in Dubai at 6pm, while trying to capture an area which was a desert 10 years back but is now "a concrete jungle with the highest buildings in Dubai". He said every flight is a new adventure, even though he has been flying for ages, as each flight "has its own taste".
The path of camels across the sands
This image by Abdullah Alnassar was captured using a Phantom 4 Advanced and shows camels crossing through the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia. The shadows of the animals stretch out across the dunes as they make the trek.
Inle Lake fishing show
This image highlights the show the fishermen put on for tourists on the Inle Lake in Burma, but actually represents their traditional fishing methods in action. The aerial view taken with the DJI Mavic Pro is certainly something special and likely very different to the view usually seen by people visiting the lake.
The photographer commented:
"Myanmar's Inu River, the ancient and unique fishing methods, attracting countless tourists to watch, and now has become a show."
La Vijanera, Spain by feelingmovie
Javier Bustamante, a 32-year-old designer, said he took this photo while at La Vijanera, a winter carnival that takes place in the town of Silió in Cantabria (Spain) on the first Sunday of each year. "This party consists on a group of hunters who want to capture a bear," he explained. "(Sic) Tour the village representing the capture of the bear... This photo is the end of the party in which the bear is captured."
This image captured with a DJI Phantom 4 and shows the docks of the Yantian District, China. This photo is part of a series of beautiful images of workers caring for the docks and maintaining the surfaces.
Comet into darkness
In the early hours of the morning, in Newfoundland Canada, a professional drone photographer sent his drone up to see what he could see on the waters. A fishing boat approaching the shore is flocked by seagulls, no doubt trying to snag an easy catch of their own.
"One of my favourite shots. An early morning in Newfoundland, I was hiking on the East Coast Trail when I heard a bunch of seagulls. I quickly launched my drone to find-out what was causing the mayhem. It was a small cod fishing boat steaming towards the harbour, a truly magical moment."
Waterlily, Vietnam by helios1412
A beautiful shot from above the waterways of Vietnam shows a lone worker wading deep in the water.
The long ride
This photo is actually the result of a number of different images stitched together to create the end result. This stitching gives the impression of a bending world that stretches off into infinity. We've seen this style before and have to say it's a pretty awesome way to capture drone photographs.
Jesper Guldbrand gives a bit more insight:
"This series is called "Mind bending" and is shot during 2017 in different locations of Sweden. Falun is a great city for mountain biking. This photo shows it. 20 images stitched together. A process that took about 1.5 months."
A tightrope walk of insanity
This aerial view of a cityscape also features a tightrope walker casually making his way across a rope suspended across a death-defying drop. Impressive skills resulting in a magnificent photo too.
Hovering by the dock of the bay
A sunset view of the bay showing lights reflecting on the almost still waters. This sort of wonderful shot shows the possibilities of modern drones and the cameras they carry.
End of the line, USA by Martin Sanchez
Martin Sanchez said he took this photo on a Saturday afternoon in April just before sunset in New Jersey. He noticed an empty tennis court that “just stood out like a treasured story in a book of empty words”. After a few takes, two people came by to play some tennis and seemed confused watching him lay on the ground. When he was done, he showed them his photo and they said, "Ohhhh! I get it!"
Grab the fall's tail
Another breath-taking aerial photograph captured on the Phantom 4 Pro shows the wonderful reds of the Autumn trees.
Sun's Up, Nets Out
This snap shows a fisherman on his boat on the waters of Inle Lake. This talented man is not only rowing his boat with his leg, but also managing to catch fish at the same time. A brilliant photograph, well deserving of the prize.
"An Intha fisherman sets up his net to fish as he paddles his boat with a unique leg-rowing technique in Mayanmar’s Inle Lake"
This aerial image of the basketball courts of Auckland shows wonderfully contrasting colours and brilliant symmetry from the skies. This image by Petra Leary, won first prize in the professional portrait category in 2017's Skypixel awards.
Woman in the wash
From the shores of Taiwan, this aerial image captures the photographer laying by the edge of the water, the whitewash of the waves blending with her white dress. This brilliant photograph was nominated as a professional image in the portrait category.
The photographer, Bobo, commented about this image:
"This is my Taiwan film, Hualien's coastline is steep cliffs and secluded sea, steep terrain, step by step is the deep sea. I've always wanted a special perspective, so try my best to try that as Mavic flies over the coastline, I find the waves on the coast flashes beautifully between dark grey gravel and turquoise water, dark and light. The contrast was very strong. When the waves fell toward the shore and retreated, they showed a vast and euphemistic shape, reminding me of the tail end of the whale, and finished the work. I pressed the shutter when the spray and the skirt were handed over to make the skirt and the sea wave blend together and have a sense of extension, leaving the work with an attachment and a similar space. With this idea, I shot a series of compositions in different forms continuously. The whole process was very exciting. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day. If it is sunny, the overall color of the works will be even more gorgeous."
Ice formation By Florian
Florian Ledoux, a 27-year-old who recently moved to Reykjavik to get closer to the Arctic, started to photograph in Greenland in 2014 to “report changes in Inuit culture and to witness the beauty of this huge land”. This photo was taken during winter in East Greenland - one of the most remote place on Earth. He said he attempted to fly here several times, and that his drone got attacked by two Gyrfalcon.
A lone man is captured diving over the waterfall. This brilliantly timed photo shows a Guinness World Record holder carrying out his passion.
"He is over sixty, he is the world record holder for the Guinness waterfall diving. In China's famous spout of the Yellow River and the great falls of the water tower in Heilongjiang province, he surprised the world with his leap. In the air, his action stretches the beautiful. Freeze the moment of the shock, take this leap into eternity."
Infinite Road by Calin Stan
Calin Stan, a 30-year-old who has worked in the photography business for more than a decade and owns his own business, said his drone image is of the Cheia DN1A road that takes you to Transylvania in Romania. Or, as the legend says, this is the view that "Count Dracula himself saw on his nocturnal flight", Stan explained. He actually first captured the image for the Transylvania Roads Project.
From Sardinia, Italy, this aerial image won third prize in the professional portrait category of 2017's Skypixel awards with a simple caption:
"Now you're going to be witness to the rebirth of humanity."
Lost in the sand dunes
Near the Grand Staircase National monument area in Utah, Marc Lamey snapped this image using a DJI Phantom 4 Pro. The subject of his photo curled up on the warm sands below.
A lone man is captured wading through the desert sands in the depths of China. The image was submitted to the Skypixel awards with the caption:
"It was shot in the Tengger Desert, an outdoor sportsman walking hard in the desert on foot, with the footsteps of deeper and deeper, will not be caught?"
Sunset over suburbia
This brilliant drone's eye view of suburbia, shows a staggering landscape dwarfed by a massive sun shining brightly in the sky.
Flying over foothills
Another classic view of the world through the lens of a drone. This photo shows lush green landscape and a sky-bound city in the distance.
Sunset over Annecy, France
Another classic drone photo of a sun setting over a bustling urban landscape. This image was snapped above the streets of Annecy, France and submitted to Dronestagram.
A crowd of onlookers watch as a pilot lifts his drone off skyward. The drone looks back at them and marvellously captures their admiring gazes.
People in the clock tower
Another view which makes us wonder what's going on as two people stand at the top of a clock tower, arms held aloft like they're surrendering to the drone. Perhaps it's armed with more than just a camera?
A fiery view
With enough battery power, drones can fly for some distance - which makes them perfect for safely capturing dangerous views like this one. Molten lava and raging landscape burns below as this drone flies overhead snapping the scene.
We wonder if drones are good for herding sheep? They certainly work well for keeping an eye on them if nothing else.
Winter is coming or rather, it has already come. Snow dominates the landscape and many of the trees have already shed their leaves, yet a solitary bunch stand holding the frost back.
Cutting a path in the snow
A fantastic view of a loan snowboarder cuts a path through the snowy mountainside. A perfectly timed shot too.
A busy pool
An aerial view of a large swimming pool shows a mass of swimmers frolicking around in the waters below. Pablo Bayona took this image while at a competition in Cúcuta, Colombia. In submitting the image to Dronestagram he said: "Instead of taking the same photo as always, it occurred to me to fly my drone to try to achieve something different..."
A popular sandy spot
Another classic image of a beach submitted to Dronestagram by Karolis Janulis. It shows packed deck chairs and sun umbrellas at Playa de Amadores beach in the Gran Canaria.
Camels on tour
While on honeymoon in Cable Beach, Australia, Todd Kennedy took this snap of the sandy beaches below with his drone. The image shows the photographer and his new wife on a camel tour, casting brilliant shadows across the sand.
Above the clouds
A fantastic view of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Italy. This image was taken by Francesco Cattuto and shows a cloudy view of the area that's enough to take your breath away.
The valley below
The landscape tells of a harsh surrounding climate, but this drone's eye view shows waters in the valley below. Certainly a new perspective on the surroundings.
St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
This image was taken using a DJI Phantom 3 and shows an aerial view of the streets of Austria with St. Stephen's Cathedral looming in the foreground.
A vibrant forest
Drone photography master Micheal L B. Rasmussen took this image while on a walk in the woods. A brilliantly vibrant and colourful view of the forest below.
A colourful sunset
It makes perfect sense to use drones to snap amazing sunsets. You certainly get a better view of the horizon when you're way up in the sky. This photo is a perfect example with the colours of the falling sun casting brilliant hues across the clouds.
Beauty in the coastlines
Island coastlines are a strong favourite with drone photographers and with snaps like this, it's easy to see why.
A sun-drenched forest
Another drone photo featuring copious amounts of trees. This sunshine drenched area makes for a brilliant aerial snap.
Landing not recommended
This aerial snap shows a magnificent building with its own landing pad. We'd assume that attempting to land a drone on it would be a bad idea though. Nonetheless, the view from above is something special.
It's foggy below
You'd often only see images like this from the window of an aeroplane. Whether it's low cloud cover or thick fog, the ground below is shrouded in mist. Skyscrapers and spires jut out from below.
Central Park in the winter
New York City certainly sees some regular snowfall. The city's park looks incredible from this angle - even more so when sprinkled in wintery snow.
A bird's eye view of Lombard Street, San Francisco
Most people will be able to identify this as the famous Lombard Street - reportedly "the crookedest street in the world". This windy road is certainly iconic and this drone photo is equally fantastic.
This brilliant image shows Tatahatso Point at the Grand Canyon. A popular photography spot, but not often seen from the sky.
Novo Mesto, Slovenia
This incredible sight is seen in the town of Novo Mesto, near the border of Croatia. A lush green landscape, winding river and close-knit community can be easily seen from the sky.
This isn't just a small jetty into beautiful waters. It's also an aerial view of a lighthouse on the coast of Yalta. The waters are actually the Black Sea. This impressively high photo makes the lighthouse appear tiny too. Which is no mean feat.
This simple photo wasn't snapped as high in the sky as some of the others on our list, but that's doesn't make it great. The view of rows and rows of vines stretching off as far as the eye can see look fantastic. Even more so with the brilliant symmetry.
A lonesome home
In the dusty plains, a lonely house sits surrounded by nothing but dust, brush and the occasional tree. The buildings casting magnificent shadows across the land.
Where we're going we don't need roads
Roads, roads, so many roads. But who needs roads when you can fly? Certainly not this drone.