Black Cockatoo Photography Quick Tips

There are many blog articles out there, giving you tips on how to photograph birds, but how many on photographing black cockatoos?!

1. Cooperate with the cockatoo

Every black cockatoo has its own personality, it is your duty to make sure that the birds feel comfortable with you getting around them. Some will come straight to play and “eat” your camera, while some will stay away or not respond. My tip is to capture every bird’s personality and to make sure they always feel comfortable.

Female Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo in Kensington
Always make sure the birds are comfortable. This was shot with a telephoto lens 150-600mm lens at 600mm.

2. Get up close

I take different types of portraits. Sometimes I only focus on the head and sometimes I make sure that the whole bird is in the picture. It depends of what you want to show. Getting up close to the birds will show more about its personality while showing the whole bird in picture will compliment its shape.

3. Focus

Always focus on the eye! If taking more than one cockatoo in picture, make sure that you aperture is narrower so that all the black cockatoos are in focus.

4. Speed, ISO, AI SERVO or ONE SHOT

Depending on the camera you use, you will need to adjust settings. Try to keep a high shutter speed (so this means raising the ISO accordingly) to avoid any blurriness in the picture. Cockatoos always move! I tend to shoot with AI SERVO but sometimes I will use the ONE SHOT mode to focus and recompose on the eye, depending of the camera I use. If the camera has a lot of AF points, I always stick to AI SERVO unless my composition requires to focus and recompose.

5. Processing images

There are numerous software which will help you process your images. I always shoot in RAW so that I have access to every details of the file. The software I use are Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Those are nowadays affordable and provide great tools and efficiency to get the pictures ready.

White Tail Black Cockatoo
Photoshop is great for “cleaning up a picture”

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