20 coolest drone photos of 2016

Story highlights

  • Dronestagram, an online community for drone users, reveals the best 20 aerial photos of 2016
  • Landscape shots are big, but drone wedding photo is gaining popularity

(CNN)If we needed proof that camera + altitude = magic, these incredible photos shot using drones should do the trick.

The above gallery of images shows the best drone photos of 2016 as chosen by Dronestagram, the largest online community for drone photographers, or "dronists."
Dronestagram's team says it handpicked shots that highlight the beauty of drone photography in multiple aspects -- including agriculture, sports, tourism, adventure, wildlife, landscape, cultural heritage and people.

    Landscapes still popular

    The epitome of beautiful drone photography.
    "Landscape pictures are the most popular type of drone photos, undoubtedly," says Guillaume Jarret, Dronestagram's managing director.
    See Bali's stunning rice fields from above
    60 second vacations bali rice fields travel _00001313


      See Bali's stunning rice fields from above


    See Bali's stunning rice fields from above 01:05
    The most popular shot of last year? A gorgeous photo of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Italy's Umbria region, rising above the mist.
    It also scooped top prize in the 2016 International Drone Photography Contest, co-organized by Dronestagram and National Geographic.
    The most viral picture ever on Dronestagram, however, is still the amazing eagle of Bali from 2015 -- gathering 137,000 views on the site, and counting.
    "But we've also received more and more pictures of people. It looks like people are having fun using their drones to get aerial memories with friends and family."

    Aerial wedding photos

    A very different kind of wedding photography.
    Life-changing events are also better when seen from the air, it seems.
    "Drone wedding photography has become something very trendy, especially in California and Israel," says Jarret.
    Among the top 20 is a wedding photo featuring a couple lying amid palm trees.
    In April 2016, Dronestagram launched a special market place MariageParDrone (or wedding by drone) to connect brides and grooms with drone operators.
    In general, the quality of drone photography is getting higher.
    "I talk about quality but not quantity," Jarret says.
    "You don't take a picture with your drone the way you'd do with your smartphone.
    "It limits the number of pictures shared but increases the quality of our image bank."