Red Dot

The 3 Factors of a Cockatiel Portrait

Photographically speaking, these Cockatiels are bright and colorful but very hard to photograph. They only sit still when they are sleeping. This causes all sorts of issue for getting a good clear photograph. With their constant movement most of the pictures will come out as blurry fuzzy streaks of undefined feathers. Definitely not what most people are looking for!

To compound the problem, if your far enough away and have your shutter speed set to the action sports environment setting you will tend to come away with a picture of a very small bird and a lot of unnecessary distracting background. Therefore, the trick is to get close.

But how can you do this if the movements of the bird will produce fuzzy pictures? There are three factors to consider when taking such a tricky shot. The first is your shutter speed, the second is the depth of field, and the third is how close the bird will let you get.

If you are working in a studio you will have complete control over two of these factors. By setting your shutter speed to a setting of a fractions of a second, like 1/32, you’ll be able to capture the detail of the bird no matter what it does.

However, by setting your camera for a fast shutter speed, you will limit the amount of light that you allow into the sensor of the camera. It’s possible to compensate for this by increasing your ISO setting.  The ISO setting will allow the sensor to become more sensitive and thus increase the amount of light. The danger is that the larger your ISO setting, the greater amount of artificial noise and graininess you’ll find in your picture.

Another way to let light in is by your aperture setting. This setting tells the camera how wide the lens will open to allow light in. Obviously, the wider the opening, the more light will hit the sensor. However, aperture settings will also affect your depth of field. The higher the aperture on you camera, the more out of focus your background behind your subject will be. While making a portrait, you generally want to have your subject the main center of attention without anything distracting appearing behind them. So, in this particular case, a wide aperture would be a decent solution.

Inside a studio you will have complete control over the intensity and positioning of the light, and you can set your aperture, lighting and distance to your subject as you please. But working outside you will often find yourself at the mercy of the elements, time of day, and sun’s intensity.

The third issue you will have is the bird itself.   Animals have a mind of their own and you must have a great Red Dotdeal of patience when trying to photograph them. Animals do not always tend to follow the mental script you have set for them. They like to do their own thing, at their own time and for their own reasons. The singularly best thing you can do to get that shot is to have your camera setup and ready and just wait until the animal does what you want it to.

So, by combining these three elements and having a cooperating subject, you will start producing better quality animal portraits. Or, you could just order one from the gallery, enjoy the art, and leave the technical stuff to us!

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