How to Capture Magnificent Bird Photos
Capturing bird photos is both tough and tricky even for the most seasoned photographers. But if you get it right, you’d find it most satisfying. So to help you vamp up your bird photography to new heights, here are some useful tips to follow.
- Own the right gadgets.
Having high quality lens, especially 600mm prime, is necessary for bird photography. But if you already have the 400mm or the 500mm, it would also render some great shots. An 800mm would cost more than an arm and a leg but it would totally pay off.
A sturdy tripod is also a must to avoid blurry shots and a bad back by the end of your session.
- Determine the right camera settings.
Shutter priority is the way to go if you want to get a fabulous shot of a speeding bird. Your speed must be no less than 1/400s while your aperture must be between f/6.7 – f/8. Low light conditions require sensitive manoeuvring of the ISO settings.
Switch off the built-in stabilisers of your lenses, if there are any, when capturing birds at high speeds. But if your camera has focus tracking, then take advantage of it.
- Coax the birds to stay put.
You can only do that by prepping the place where they usually flock because honestly, who can get more than a decent shot if the birds are always on the go? Entice them to stay put by setting up bird feeders all around the area so you have the freedom to get all the panoramic shots and 35mm style shots you need.
- Don’t throw composition out of the window.
Most photographers tend to commit this mistake in favour of perfecting the technical aspect of the shot. But don’t forget to capture other aesthetically
pleasing details, like the surroundings, because that is also an integral part of a magnificent bird image. Going back to the basics, like the simple rule of thirds, is also enough to highlight the beauty of the subject.
- Do a background research first.
You have to learn about the bird species you intend to use as your photography subject. Study their habits, movements and behaviours. Visit their roosting sites and nesting location. Only then after you can plan your shoot and then proceed with your shooting plan. Wear neutral colours to camouflage yourself and not disturb them.
- Discover interesting angles.
Since birds are usually way above ground level, you have to find a way to portray your subject in a more decent way and not just their feet and behind! Your neck will hurt if you only take upward shots. Find elevated spots within the birds’ immediate surroundings if you think they would always just stay on their favourite tree spot or ledge. Or stay on a high place if the birds would pass by there, which would give you more chances to capture their images in new and exciting angles.
- Incorporate the backgrounds.
The birds would be cast in a more beautiful manner if you take advantage of different textures and colours within their immediate environment. Serene foliage or a burst of hues from various flowers could add more spice to your image. But take note of distracting features that might take away the limelight from the birds such as badly positioned twigs or a gap in the greeneries. Utilize the depth of field setting to ensure that you’ve taken into account all the elements. Wide apertures can also render amazing outcomes.
- Visit the local zoo.
You don’t have to break the bank just to make your dream bird photography come true. Zoos, walk-through aviaries and falconry flying centres are excellent locations to indulge in your favourite pastime or once-in-a-lifetime project. Since the birds here are already used in the presence of humans, you’ll find that you can have a plethora of great photo opportunities to use. You can concentrate, for example, on its eyes, beaks, plumage, etc. and then enhance the composition.