Concise Bird Photography Guide

Bird photography is an all-time favourite among photographers, and there is no better experience than practising in the wild. Today we’ll be talking about some nice and useful actionable tips and tricks that you need to consider for photographing birds at a serious level.

The Importance of Patience

There is a high chance that you might have already read about this before, but there is no better skill to have when photographing birds than patience. Animals, in general, tend to behave in predictable ways, but their patterns or cycles could be quite long for the new coming photographers. Also, you need to remain quiet and still for long periods of time since some birds can easily be scared away from the scene.

The Importance of Big Lenses

In general terms, we are not gearheads, but when it comes to action and wildlife photography, especially bird photography, it simply can’t be done in satisfying ways by using regular entry-level zoom lenses. We are truly sorry, if you want to take serious bird photographs you’ll have to invest some serious money on high speed fixed telephoto or at least zoom lenses. Especially if you wish to turn the images into print and use them as artwork.

Anything from 200mm could be a good solution, and you can always invest in a good teleconverter as well, but keep in mind that they usually take down some stops of light, therefore your beloved f/2.8 could end up being f/5.6, but with plenty of light, and the added extension, it shouldn’t be an issue for you.

Composition before Anything Else

A good bazooka-like telephoto lens will always make your bird photography experience a delight, but the gear is nothing if you don’t have the Eye. Remember to always use the rule of thirds in order to achieve a more fluid frame, and never forget the moving direction of a bird. That is key when deciding in which of the four interest points your subject should be framed. Leaving enough air in front of a subject enhances the drama and dynamism of the scene. Framing too tight, or with little air in front of your subject will result in a somehow claustrophobic shot.

Get to Know about Birds

Do your field research first. Know what you looking for before going out there.

This one might seem pretty obvious, but some photographers forget about it or simply doesn’t take it into account. Dealing with birds require knowledge about them, otherwise, that patience thing would be worthless. Also, it is way more fun to work around clear objectives rather than just some random shooting. There are several books in ornithology, try to start from that, and of course, buy one that covers the area you are living, otherwise, you’ll end up longing for birds that simply won’t cross your sight.

An additional step would be to meet with people that knows all this stuff thanks to their professions before venturing in the overwhelming world of bird photography. These people include veterinarians, biologists, zookeepers and of course bird watchers. All these people will always tell you precise information about birds that you simply won’t find in a regular book. By combining both worlds of theory and practise you’ll get a nice panorama of what you can and what you can’t expect in a specific zone or region.

Enjoy it Safely

Your field of work will be an overwhelming and ruthless wilderness or at least the outdoors. Therefore mind some crucial things like comfortable clothes, water (besides beer), shades, sunscreen, and some food in order to enjoy the shooting. Also keep in mind that such a massive lens could be tiring to carry around, so using a monopod or tripod could be a good solution for your hands. Oh, and speaking of weight, mirrorless cameras have become quite powerful these days, and they could reduce some extra weight from your hefty bag.

Bird photography is one of the most popular themes in photography, and we hope that this brief yet conscience guide will make your shooting less complicated. But keep this in mind, photography is all about getting out there and shooting! So stop reading gear reviews and how-to tutorials and go out there into having some fun!

African Wildlife Photos

The Editor of African Wildlife Photos (Photography Blog)

Blog Comments

Not a bird photographer but had to check this post out of curiosity. I am amazed by bird or just wildlife photographers in general. I mean kudos to them, right? I can only imagine the level of skill you need to get those great quality shots while thinking of your own safety. Telephoto lens would definitely come to play here, good investment if you are keen into getting better and producing great bird photos.

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