Top 4 Tips in Bird Photography

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Bird photography is one of the most popular and challenging genres of nature photography because the birds are colorful living creatures hard to observe and shoot in their fast speed life. Besides from the general photography “rules”, there are a few specific tips you should know before going out and hunt for birds in their natural environment.
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1. Use Proper Photographic Gear
It is difficult to approach to the birds and by shooting from a longer distance you won’t get big deal if you don’t have a powerful telephoto zoom lens (For serious bird photography, a quality 300 – 500mm f/4 telephoto lens is ideal). You can even use teleconverters to increase the effective focal length of your lens by 40 percent. However, some common birds are familiar with human presence and if you take some bread with you, you can use some bait to get them closer. This is the case of most of my shots. One more thing before going on: since it’s likely that you will use the higher zoom power of your camera, I recommend getting a tripod with you and activate the anti-shake more or image stabilization.

2. Use Manual Focus and Custom White Balance
In the foliage, the camera will likely have trouble focusing on the bird and not on some closer leaf. Therefor, I suggest using manual focus. However, not all bird are found in the foliage so the general rule, no matter if auto or manual, is to focus on the bird’s head and particularly the eye. Coming back to the foliage situation, you may also notice that the colors may not be very accurate nor vibrant with the auto settings. Use custom white balance to warm up the scene and if possible shoot in RAW mode to avoid purple fringing, artefacts and so on (it will allow you to adjust all settings in a photo editing software after shooting).

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3. Be Fast but Move Slowly
Like I said, the birds usually have a very fast life, making sudden moves by flying from a place to another even if not far away. It’s good to have a fast speed camera (like a SLR) and react quickly to do not miss your shot. Before your fast shooting you will be able to approach your subjects by minimizing disturbance (birds are genetically programmed to flee when they detect quick movements).

4. Capture the Right Moment at the Right Time
There a few things you should know about birds: in spring they come and build “houses”, lay eggs and get mate. All there moments are invaluable when captured with the camera and will make everyone say “wow”. To obtain such thing you must go into the forest and climb some trees during spring. Another important thing is that during the morning the birds are a little more “noisy” as they sing their song (within the 3 hours after the sun rises the birds are most active). By following the song you can find and identify them easier.

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By Laura

I started photography as a hobby in 2005, during college. My passion slowly became a more important part of my life since 2008. Because of using a combination of my photographic knowledge, with those of internet marketing, I like to call myself a "photomarketer".

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