Test Driving The ‘Drone Selfie’ With Photojojo’s New Rental Program (Video)

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Cave drawings, reflective pools of water, daguerreotypes, Instagram. If there’s one thing that humans have loved throughout history, it’s finding new ways to look at themselves, and photo technology that helps us do that just keeps getting better. But unless you happen to have thousands of spare dollars hanging around to drop on trying out new photo-taking toys, cool new things like drone selfies aren’t easily accessible to most of us just yet.

That is, until now. This week Photojojo, the popular photography newsletter and online store, launched its brand new rental program that lets people “borrow the weirdest, funnest, newest and most rare photo-making stuff on the planet.”

It’s a pretty cool program: A flying drone with a GoPro camera attached to it goes for just $49 per day, a Digital Bolex that typically goes for $3,299 can be rented for $129 per day, and you can experiment with being a Glasshole for $40 per day. For now, Photojojo rentals is only in San Francisco, but if it all goes well, it could expand into other areas in the months ahead.

TechCrunch TV swung by Photojojo headquarters to get a look at some of the new rental gear and talk to Photojojo founder Amit Gupta about the program. Photojojo requires that anyone renting the drone camera take a brief flying lesson, so we headed outside with Gupta (who is an expert of sorts on the “drone selfie”) to take it for a spin. Check that out in the video embedded above.

My take on the drone photography trend? It’s definitely exhilarating to try, and surprisingly easy (drones today are ridiculously foolproof to pilot.) But while I was testing it out, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like if personal drone cameras become as popular as the old fashioned cameras you hold in your hands. There’s something a bit disquieting about having a flying camera buzzing over your head — it could be a nightmare if every other person out in the park or on the beach were playing with one at the same time.

At the moment the FAA hasn’t established regulations for personal drones apart from how far away they must be from airports, with more laws expected to be determined in the next couple of years, determined in large part by public feedback about the technology and its impacts. It will be important for the early users of drone cameras to be especially respectful of others — or risk the kind of backlash that’s occurred with Google Glass.