Birds make truly incredible subjects when it comes to photography. The texture of their plumage and the colors make each of them so different. Of course, they are also incredibly difficult subjects to capture at the perfect moment. They are fast-moving, easily scared by the slightest sound or movement and of course, never do exactly what you want. All this means that capturing that perfect image can take a great deal of practice and more than a little bit of luck.
For many photographers, beginning out with bird photography can seem too difficult but with a little help from some of our best tips for bird photography, you should be able to capture some stunning images.
The single most important tip that any established bird photographer will offer you is that if you want to capture the perfect images of birds then you will need to be patient. Study your subjects carefully and you will get to know them a little better and this, in turn, will help you to work out the best way to take your photographs. Sometimes it may simply be a case of setting up your shot and waiting.
Whilst bird photography isn’t just about having the right equipment. You will certainly increase your chances of that perfect shot if you make sure that you have a really good lens. This should be something with a very long focal length.
As a rough guide, the longer the lens that you opt for the better as this will offer you maximum magnification. Of course, this does come with its own issues: the longer the lens that you select the heavier it will be, so make sure that it is something that you are comfortable carrying around in combination with the rest of your photography equipment. For a beginner, you may find that the versatility of a 70-300mm zoom lens will offer you the best option.
This could be increased to a 300mm to 400mm fixed focal length lens for a sharper image. The bigger the lens that you do opt for the more likely it is you will need a tripod to avoid blur caused by handshake.
Timing is everything
When it comes to bird photography, time of day can be a really important factor in capturing the right shot at the right moment. If you are hoping to shoot a nocturnal bird then you may find it early in the morning as they return to their nest, late afternoon or early evening will offer you the best opportunities. Early morning is also the time when you can capture other birds going out looking for food. The middle of the day is when there are most likely to be other people out and about who could spook your subjects. The bonus of shooting either early in the morning or later in the evening is that this can also offer you some rather spectacular lighting conditions.
Start simple with a familiar location. Somewhere like your own back garden is a great place to try the basics of bird photography. It will also allow you to work out any patterns in when you are most likely to see certain birds and where they like to perch. If you have a bird table then put out a few treats to entice them and set up your camera. Use a fast shutter speed to allow you to capture lots of shots as quickly as possible.
Once you have mastered bird photography in a familiar location, branch out a little and find local areas which will offer you a different array of birds. Remember, the more birds there are the more likely you are to capture those shots.