Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are better known as "drones" around the world, and they've got a wealth of uses. From journalism to reconnaissance, and from crop spraying to law enforcement, there aren't many industries that won't be overturned in the coming decade by the introduction of UAVs. Their proliferation will have consequences we can't yet foresee. 
That being said, there's a lot that's already changed as UAVs become more prevalent — especially when talking about photography and filmmaking. Many shots that previously needed a helicopter crew and a lot of capital are now possible using aerial drone photography. Further, a lot of shots deemed too dangerous for a large helicopter are made possible with drones, which are often no larger than a backpack. 

The recent downsizing of these previously hulking technical machines and increased accessibility to them have spurred interest from consumers, who can now afford their own camera-equipped drones. 

Models like the UDI U818A are popular for people on the entry-level side of things who are hoping to get a feel for flying drones with cameras. Sold for less than $50 on Amazon, this model is cheap enough that you can use it to gauge your interest level before diving into a larger purchase. At that point, it'll be an awesome hand-me-down for your younger cousin.

For people looking to take the next step, upgrading your aerial photography drone helicopter is an exciting process. New drone models are coming out every month, and figuring out which one you will be your upgrade can be fun. 

Tom's Guide calls the Parrot Bebop the best camera drone under $500, but for something with even more jazz, it recommends the DJI Phantom 3 Standard. At about $699, it definitely doesn't come cheap, but it's got to be a lot cheaper than the two professional-quality drones that National Geographic lost while shooting the footage below. 

National Geographic has enough backing that it can afford to lose a drone or two in the name of journalistic discovery. And good thing it can — this footage is breathtaking. Without drones, videos like the one below simply wouldn't be possible. While consumer models likely won't get you this close to the mouth of a volcano, it's amazing to see what professionals are able to accomplish with top-of-the-line equipment.