PROFESSIONAL FALCONERS ASSOCIATION

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Tips For Navigating Photographers

21 Feb 2022 10:04 | Rebecca Rosen (Administrator)
 Often times through our work, a photographer will request photos of us and our birds. They may be a client, a passersby, or assigned from a news outlet. Below is a list of tips, many I learned the hard way, to help better navigate the tricky business of professional photography.
  • Negotiate a photo release of your own. Regardless of any verbal agreement, these photos are the property of the photographer and they can charge you any arbitrary fee for even limited use.
  • Beware the term "personal use". Although it can be lovely to have photos of you or your birds, they are completely useless for advertising, publication, or any other commercial activity without the photographers consent.
  • Photographers assigned from the press will often negotiate pricing on unpublicized photos. Technically they are already paid by the media outlet for the shoot, but this is also how they make a living so negotiate this pricing in advance.
  • Outsmart the photo hoarder. Occasionally a photographer may approach you and request to do a shoot as they love birds of prey. You will likely be spending a significant amount of time helping them get "the perfect shot". Make sure they sign your own photo release prior to agreeing.
  • Request final approval of any shot used for the media. An awkward angle or poorly timed photo may look great from a photographers eye, but be perceived by the public or your peers as mishandling and poor falconry skills.
  • Do some prep work with your birds prior to the shoot. Make sure they are clean, their gear is in good shape, and the beak is not overgrown. Try to choose birds in the best feather condition as it lends better to the perception that your birds are very well cared for. If using non releasable education birds, focus on those handled regularly and showing no signs of stress.
  • If your bird has never been photographed and the photographer is using a telephoto lens, test the bird’s response to the lens ahead of time. Some birds react poorly to the giant eye staring at them, and every photo will be of a hackled up and stressed out bird.
  • Slower flying falcons, although not as impressive in person are much easier for the photographer to track.
  • Do not allow the photographer to push you into any unsafe actions for “the perfect shot”. If any direction makes you uncomfortable or isn’t in keeping with the perception that you wish to portray, it is okay to say no.      

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