Pet Bird and Rare Breed Photography Surrey | Blue Eared Pheasant
Birds are often kept as pets and there seems to be no end of variety in the birds I encounter and photograph when I visit private homes and farms, be it in my capacity as a portrait photographer, or whether I’m visiting a sanctuary or retreat for animals. Chickens and cockerels are commonplace, as are ducks, swans, owls and falcons. But occasionally we meet more exotic fowl like this gorgeous Blue Eared Pheasant (not hard to figure out how it got its name).
Getting the right moment is really important, so we try not to disturb animals which are resting, or animals which may not be used to strangers (though that was not the case with this lovely chap). For this reason we depend mainly on natural light, soft light which is coming from the front or just off to the side is ideal for pet and animal portraits. The challenge is to get your subject into that light, if at all possible, and to hope that he or she will remain there long enough for you to get the shot you want. Animal photography is never predictable. It can require a lot of patience and a lot of time.
For fine art studies like these, a particular background is a requirement (dark uniformity is helped by ‘falloff’ of the light from the front of the scene to the area behind your subject). As is many hours later spent in post-production removing any persistent distractions leaving only the animal as the star of the image. Images like these are different to the lifestyle pet and animal photography that the vast majority of our clients come to us for, which consists of a high number of natural colour and black-and-white photographs of their pet in a number of different scenes around the chosen location. This is to highlight the pet’s personality traits in a fun and active way – it’s no surprise that clients normally choose an album.
On the other hand, some of our clients are looking for a very distinctive fine art study. This might be for a rare breed (such as this pheasant or some of the rare livestock we photograph). Or it might be a portrait of a much loved dog or horse. Because I work entirely on location I can’t always promise that I’ll find the right light conditions for this kind of photograph. But I’ll do my best and if one arises the customer can then decide if they want to invest in it. There’s an additional charge for a photograph like this because of the extensive retouching we need to carry out.