Bird Photography Tips

Bird Photography Tips: Learn How To Photograph Birds

Capturing the Moment

When photographing birds it is important that they are sharp and in focus. To achieve this it’s best to use a tracking focus function with a fast shutter speed. To gain a fast shutter speed in the forest you may need a large aperture. It is also important to make sure the focus points are on the bird, ideally over its eyes.

Being Aware of the Subject

Be careful not to scare the bird away. If you walk up to a bird it will normally fly off, so keep your distance when observing birds. Generally, if you stay still near small forest birds like Robins and Fantails they will come close to you. You could also try to find the birds food source and wait for them to come and feed.

Lighting for Forest Birds

If you are photographing birds in the forest, try to find some nice light breaking through the canopy. This will allow you to use a faster shutter speed to help freeze the bird in motion, as small birds move about a lot. It will also help show the detail of the bird’s feathers which can be hard to capture in poor lighting.

Pre-visualise Your Composition

A messy background can distract from the subject. Try to position yourself so you can line up the bird with a pleasing background, this may be something that offers a contrast in colour or lighting to help define the bird. You can also use a large aperture to make the bird stand out against an out of focus background.

Join us to capture some Wildlife Photography on our specialised Wildlife Photography Masterclass this November on the Otago Peninsula. Find out more about the workshop by clicking here here!
About the Author
Richard Young is a full-time landscape and wildlife photographer based in Wellington. He has been guiding groups of photographers in New Zealand since 2010 and founded New Zealand Photography Workshops in 2013.

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