Here at BIRD TALK, we do a lot of photo shoots with parrots. Anastasia Thrift, a contributing editor at BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com, wrote this account about her first parrot photo shoot experience.
“In BIRD TALK these days, it seems that the pictures match the articles exactly – almost as if they were planned that way. Spoiler alert: They are! I recently had a chance to peek behind the scenes and see how the magazine gets such perfect parrot pictures.
Last week we had a photo shoot with pet birds from Omar’s Exotic Birds, including a young scarlet macaw, a young sun conure, two Senegal parrots and a keel-billed toucan. Jessica, the associate editor of BIRD TALK Magazine, planned a list of shots she wanted to get, and we gathered some props.
The day started off great. The scarlet macaw graciously perched atop an unplugged air filter to pose for an article in the June 2010 issue. Next, the small sun conure played with some knotted leather toys like a camera-ready pro. They were like stars without the contract riders and drama.
The two Senegal parrots were less amiable. We luckily had a male and female and placed them on a perch, far apart and supervised, to gauge whether they might come together for a pose. Not so much. As Jessica put it, the parrots looked like they were at a junior high school dance, standing as far away from each other as possible. Eventually, they grudgingly came close enough together to view within the same camera frame.
When the final feathered guest, a keel-billed toucan, reached the stage, I had high hopes. Its only actions, however, consisted of slowly turning its head left, to right, to left, to right — like an apprehensive sprinkler. The answer to getting an interactive shot was as plain as the nose on the toucan’s face: food. I stacked blueberries, raspberries and pellets in neat piles and waited for the bird to delicately dine. Wait, delicate dining for a toucan is delusional. The toucan dived in and scattered the food everywhere, leaving multicolored mayhem in its wake. What a mess, but … what a great bird photo!
In the end the parrots did the best they could and provided some pretty cool, if unexpected, photo ops. Sometimes the best planned pictures are unplanned.”
Thanks, Anastasia! Also, special thanks for bringing in all these parrots to Amy Baggs, employee of Omar’s Exotic Birds and the author of the BirdChannel.com blog, “A Day In The Pet Bird Store.”