Portrait vs. Story Shots

Many times we see published images of absolutely gorgeous subjects- plant, animal and mineral. When we examine the photography it is flawless. It has perfect exposure, great focus, amazing detail, appropriate depth of field and just the right light. Silently, we wish we had taken that shot. Like the roadrunner below.

Both images: Nikon D2Xs, Nikkor 600mm F 4.0 telephoto, Gitzo tripod.

But then we think what is the subject doing? Posing for the camera! How clever. Must have been a set-up shot. And many are. That’s not all bad by any stretch of the imagination. Photographers need to use every tool of the trade to produce excellent images.

But then something else falls into place. Call it luck or serendipity, I don’t care. Our subject does something besides pose. I like to call it natural AND being prepared. We are patient, we persevere and are prepared for that moment. It just happens. Maybe not always, and not for long. And when it does, BANG, we got it!

I shot 52 images over 14 minutes of this bird from a blind in South Texas. Of all the frames of the roadrunner I shot, only two had something going on. I have many nice portraits- and some crazy poses. The light was nice, the weather great and the subject cooperative. But just for a moment, the bird spied the wasp and ate it in an instant. Then it left. That was all, but those two frames made a better story. I believe even much better than the full body portrait above. Judge for yourself. So- my suggestion is to keep your eye to the camera and be prepared. Don’t tire of waiting. The magic just may happen for you, too!

© Brian Loflin. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Portrait vs. Story Shots

  1. Oh my! Aren’t they great bird. The mighty Roadrunner. I have seen them in person they are bigger think you think. And Its the state bird of New Mexico. Love the photos!

  2. Debbie,
    Thanks for this and your previous comments. I know you must miss photographing in NM.

  3. You really stimulated my thinking about what makes a good photo. I guess I need to think way beyond getting the technical aspects correct.

  4. Michael- Yes, as I stated there is more than the portrait and it doesn’t stop with the tech aspects. There’s a story in there. Patience and Persistence Pays! I think your work is very good especially for the short time you have been at it. (Yes, I am aware that you are CD’s neighbor.) Watch and learn from my dear little grasshopper.

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