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BIRD TALK Photographer's Guidelines

Guidelines for submitting photos to BIRD TALK magazine

Updated: June 2, 2008, 2 p.m. EDT

Thank you for your interest. BIRD TALK magazine is dedicated to better care for pet birds. All bird photos are of exotic birds available in aviculture today. We avoid using photos of hybrid birds. We also seldom show mutations, unless they are of a species known for mutations (budgies, canaries, etc.), the mutation is quite popular, or the article is about the mutation.

The following guidelines will help you understand what we’re looking for when choosing photos for BIRD TALK magazine, and assist you in making submissions with the highest probability of acceptance.
• All photos must be labeled with the correct bird species and photographer’s name. A unique ID number for each photo also helps with contracting.

• Digital images are the preferred format, though we will accept transparencies and slides.

• Digital images must be high-resolution, 300 dpi and at least 3 by 5 inches to be considered for publication

• All photos must have the entire bird in focus (unless you’re trying for an artistic effect)

• Lighting should be even, with no dark shadows behind subjects

• The bird’s image should dominate the photo when it’s a portrait-type shot – do not permit a lot of space around the bird

• All birds should be looking at the camera, unless they are playing or involved in an activity

• Be aware of the background (see section on backgrounds below)

• Frame the photo so that the bird is cropped properly (do not cut off the tail when shooting a full-body shot, zoom in on only head when shooting a head shot, etc.)

• Be sure that all subjects are well-groomed (both bird and people)

• Be sure that if a bird is shown on its perch, the perch is the proper size for the bird

• Birds should be interactive – this is hard to describe in words. We want photos that show a bird’s personality. We want to avoid the typical bird-on-a-stick look. If a bird’s head is cocked or its foot is up or it’s looking at the camera like it’s a toy it really wants – that’s what we’re seeking.

• Try for different angles, instead of the usual “head-on” shot; have the camera above or below the bird (note: avoid strange side angles like in a Hitchcock film – it’s too distracting)

We encourage photos of owners with their birds. We need photos of birds in their home environments involved in their daily activities: chewing, climbing, bathing, eating, preening, interacting with people and other birds, looking into mirrors, holding items in their feet, talking, screaming and even biting. For species profile articles, we need attractive portraits of birds.

We also need: pictures of birds visiting the vet and the exam process, grooming photos (Be certain that if wings are being trimmed, it is done correctly, with the wings held in such a manner that the bird is not at risk), etc.

• Please make sure that any plant shown in a photo with a bird is safe for birds and identify the plant.

• Be sure that the background color contrasts with the color of the bird.

• Please be sure that the background is slightly out of focus so that it doesn’t compete with the image of the bird.

• If furniture appears in the photo, please ensure that it is does not look out-of-date or well-used.

• Avoid clutter

For cover shots, it is no longer necessary to leave space at the top for our logo. All cover shots now have the background knocked out. Our main concern with cover shots is that the bird be in focus, the lighting be good, the bird be well-groomed and, perhaps most important, the bird be looking at the camera and be interactive (head tilted, foot raised, great expression on face – something to show the bird has personality).

Upon accepting a photo (be sure you label each one with a unique identifying number, the species of bird in the photo, and your name and address), we will send you a contract containing the acceptable photos’ numbers and hold these pictures in our files for possible future use. We do not accept submissions in which the subject is not correctly identified. Please include any “courtesy of” information, if needed, on the submission.

If a photo is used, payment is made during the latter part of the cover issue month in which the photo appeared. (A photo used in the June issue will be paid for in June.)

Payment rates are as follows:

- $250 for 4-color cover shots and 2-pp poster $50 for black and white, full page
- $125 for 4-color, full page $40 for black and white, 3/4 page
- $100 for 4-color, 1/2 page $20 for black and white, 1/4 page
- $75 for 4-color, 1/4 page
- $10 for 4-color, second-use in TOC

*Use of black and white photos is rare; however, we reserve the right to convert any color submission to a black-and-white photo in the magazine.

We do our best to return used slides in a timely manner but, because of our small staff and constant deadlines, some delays may occur. Your patience is appreciated.

Please include an inventory list, model releases (if applicable) and a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your submission. We cannot return your submission without a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We do not work with photographers who charge holding fees. After we receive your submission, allow at least eight weeks for a response.

Please send your submissions to either of the following addresses:

BIRD TALK Photo Editor
P.O. Box 6050
Mission Viejo, CA 92690
or BIRD TALK Photo Editor
3 Burroughs
Irvine, CA 92618

We will also consider your material for our sister publication, BIRDS USA, unless you indicate otherwise.

If you wish to submit a photo to for the Watch The Birdie page of BIRD TALK Magazine (this is a user-submitted section; photographs will not be paid), send it to

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Reader Comments
I have a pet white dove tha loves to pose and model for the camera in different outfits, hats and sunglasses. This is not a joke. Please let me know how I can send you some photos of my model dove. Photos of my dove in a tux, etc. has been on the news lately. I promise this is not a joke. I think you would like my dove.
Nina, Pelham, AL
Posted: 1/3/2011 9:13:00 PM
I need contact email addy for digital images suitable for publish.
Rebecca, Portland, OK
Posted: 5/13/2010 1:00:59 PM
We have cute picture (high quality)to submit for your Bird Talk Mag. inside back cover of cute bird shots. Our Umbrella Cockatoo balancing half a walnut on top the other half while eating the top half.

How do we send these ? Your website is not friendly. We find other similar posted comments like this but no answers. Help please...???
Ted, Ferndale, WA
Posted: 12/5/2009 11:33:28 AM
When I last checked out this page, there was a link where one could submit digital pictures VIA the internet. What happened to that?
M, B, CA
Posted: 4/25/2009 11:46:32 AM
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