Pet Portraits – Birds

European KestrelDepending on the species, the personality of any given individual and the images you wish to create, birds can be one of the most difficult but rewarding challenges to photograph.  Whether on location or in the studio, they present a set of unique circumstances found with few other animals.  More specifically, they can fly, and many of them can do it very quickly.

While we do, depending on the type of bird, offer photography both on location and in the studio, flight images are typically created inside the studio.  This gives us a measure of predictability and reliability that is not easily achieved on location, however we do also offer outdoor flight photography sessions.  Static posed photography is offered both on location or in the studio.

Shoots are available for birds of all ages, and packages can be created for entire clutches.

DSC_9779 DSC_7012

Below are some frequently asked questions relating to specific types of birds, as well as our bird photography in general.  The answers to some of these questions may seem to be worded quite strongly, however our main concern is with the welfare of the animals, and we will not intentionally do anything to risk their safety.

Birds - General FAQ

Can I have a photograph of myself with my bird?

Generally speaking, yes.  We offer portraits of animals with their owners as part of our pet session for those who wish to do so.

That said, birds who are not used to being handled can become stressed very quickly, and we will never intentionally subject any animal to anything which would cause it severe distress.

So, the answer may, unfortunately, be no, but this is based entirely upon you and your animal and is determined on a case by case basis.

Is it possible to photograph my bird both in the studio and on location?

Absolutely, however this will require booking two separate sessions.

Many birds will not tolerate shooting for a full day, and the logistics setting up and packing down lights and equipment make it impractical to try to cover it all in a single day.

Birds of Prey

Can you build custom sets?

Custom sets can be built in a studio, to simulate various locations, for an extra cost.  Exactly what cost will depend on the complexity of the set.  All our sets are custom built for an individual shoot, and then broken down upon completion.

Using a set in a studio, while possibly expensive, is a safe and reliable alternative to certain outdoor location photographs you may wish to have us create, especially if you choose to remove jesses and anklets.

Sets can take from a few days to several weeks to prepare and construct.  Please let us know well in advance if you wish to have a set built.

Do you cover field meetings?

Yes, we do!  We will happily document your longwing or shortwing field meetings, and provide portraits of birds, keepers and quarry both at the beginning and end of the day.

Field meeting coverage falls under our event photography services.  As such, these are described more in depth in that section of the website.

Do you have perches and props available or do I need to bring my own?

While we do have some custom made screen perches available for specific sets, you should assume that we don’t have what you need and will need to supply it yourself.

Due to the diversity and variety of birds of prey that exist in captivity, it is impractical for us to hold a stock of all possible sizes and styles of block and bow perch.  However, it may be possible to rent clean equipment for your shoot.  Please contact us if this is something you may be interested in.

I would like to document the growth and development of my bird, can you do this?

Yes, we can.  This is a service we have recently begun offering, and can be started almost as soon as you receive your bird (or hatch it, if you’re breeding yourself).

Depending on how young your bird is when you wish to start, imprints hatched in the incubator, will obviously be better for very young birds.  You generally won’t want to disturb hatchlings in the nest if your birds are to be parent reared.

Also, this can become a fairly long term project for some species.  Some birds, such as American Kestrels, can be completed in as little as around 12 weeks, whereas birds like Goshawks will take a couple of years to fully document the physical growth into adult size, as well as also capturing the first year of adult plumage.  Other species, such as American Bald Eagles, can take five years or more to reach that iconic look.

However long your bird takes to develop, we will be there with you every step of the way.

We can present prints after each session, as well as a composite image illustrating the entire growth of your bird in a single print upon completion of the project.

Jesses in or out? What about anklets?

For the most part, this is entirely up to you, however this will depend entirely on the behaviour and attitude of your bird.  Whilst you will be the only one directly interacting with your bird, you are responsible for any injuries caused to any member of our crew by your bird whilst not tethered.

We can, for an extra cost, supply new anklet sets, as well as jesses, swivels and leashes.  So, if you wish to remove the jesses and cut the anklets off for the duration of the shoot and then attach new ones after we’re done, or to simply replace older sets currently on your bird, then by all means do so.  Removal of existing furnishings and application of replacements is your responsibility.

We do not advise removing jesses and anklets for location photo shoots, and you choose to do so entirely at your own risk.  We also suggest your bird be fitted with a tested and working telemetry transmitter on all outdoor location flights, and that you bring a matching receiver with you in the event your bird decides to fly off.

You are the one that has trained your bird, and we will not ask you to do anything on location that you would not normally do with your bird, so we cannot be held responsible for any losses that may occur.

Parrots & Macaws

Do you offer location shoots for parrots and macaws?

Unlike birds of prey, the majority of parrots and macaws in captivity live the entirety of their existence indoors (or outdoors in an enclosed aviary).  As such, flying them free outdoors presents a serious risk of losing your bird.

Whilst exceptions may be made for trained display birds regularly flown and presented outdoors flying free, at zoos and wildlife centres, for example, this is not something we generally offer.