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Welcome! I'm an amateur wildlife photographer from New York State. My specialty is nature and wildlife photography. I specialize in wildlife, birds, and landscape photography. This blog is where I share some of my photos and adventures. Please comment and post questions!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

0 Bird Photography Tips and Tricks


The last few days have been freezing cold, windy, and snowy.  So I have not been out to do any photography.  I am hoping soon the weather will break and I will get out again.  Tomorrow does not look any better.  The weather man is calling for negative 30 degree wind chills so I will probably not be out much.  So in my down time, I decided to write about tips for photographing birds.  I hope these tips help.  If anyone has any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment.  Until next time.      

Bird Photography Tips:

  1. Photograph birds in direct sunlight
In my opinion the best lighting for birds is direct sunlight.  Sometimes too much light can be bad, but overall I find bright lighting to be the best.  It also allows you to use faster shutter speeds in order to capture birds in motion.  Normally around 1/500th of a second or faster. 

  1. Get birds to come to you, don’t go chasing after them
For most small birds the trick is to get them to come to you, using either food or calls or both.  Obviously this wont work for all birds but most small birds will come to food.  Also you will want an area with natural perches for them to land before they go to the feeder.  You don’t want to photograph them on a feeder.

3.  Use your car or a blind to get closer to the subjects 

Blinds are great but cars normally work just as good.  Using cars or blinds help cover your presence and the birds are less wary of cars and blinds then people.  I also find that you can sit real still and birds will still come.  But if you move to much they will fly away.

  1. Avoid sudden movements
Sudden movements will scare the birds off.  So move with caution and with a steady pace.  If you’re walking and see a bird, you should not change the pace you’re walking at.  Sudden changes will alert the bird and it will fly off.

  1. Avoid making loud noises
Noises will also alert birds to your presence and scare them off.  In order to photograph anything you should avoid talking or making any noise.  If you’re in a car I recommend turning the car off if possible. 

  1. Don’t wear bright colored clothing
Try not to wear bright colors.  The best thing to wear would be camouflage, but you can also wear dark dull colors like green, brown, or grey.         

  1. Try to catch them in action
Catching birds in action is the best way to get good shots.  Try to photograph them when they are landing or taking off, or if they are pruning themselves or other actions.  But remember in order to do this you need fast shutter speeds. 

  1. Set your camera to aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode 
Setting your camera to aperture priority allows you to manually set your aperture and will auto adjust shutter speeds to ensure the proper exposure.  You must be careful though, because this can cause your shutter speed to go to slow and won’t be conducive to photographing birds.  Shutter priority mode allows you to set the shutter speed to ensure fast shutter speeds.  You still must be careful though because doing this can cause your images to be dark.  So you may need to raise your ISO or change aperture settings to allow more light in. 

  1. Set your camera to continuously shoot
Doing this will allow you to take bursts of photographs, maximizing your chances for great shots.  On Digital SLR cameras you can take as many pictures as you want so take tons of photographs and during post production figure out which are the best.  

  1. Consider the background
Having a dark or neutral background is the best.  It causes the subject to be the focus and having a distracting background can draw away from the subject. 

  1. Get at eye level with the subject
If it is possible try to get at eye level with the subject.  This makes for more appealing photographs.  However this is not always the case.

  1. Focus on the eyes
Focusing on the eyes is important because if the eyes are not in focus it draws away from the face of the subject.  Having eye glint is also important because it gives the subject a sense of life.  In addition focusing on the eyes is the best way to ensure the image of the subject is sharp and in focus.
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