Bird Photography: 10 Tips for Beautiful Images

Bird Photography: 10 Tips for Beautiful Images

bird photography: 10 tips for beautiful images

Looking to capture stunning photos of birds? Whilst bird photography can often appear daunting, it’s actually fairly easy – once you get the hang of it.

In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know for spectacular bird pictures, including:

  • The best cameras for action-packed bird game
  • The perfect parrot photography lighting
  • Simple tips to improve your compositions
  • Plenty of parrot photography examples
  • Much, much more!

So if you’re ready to become an expert, let’s dive right in, starting with my first tip:

1 . Don’t obsess about equipment

Speak with any beginner bird photographer, and they’ll likely mention equipment such as ultra-fast cameras and long lenses.

And it’s true: Cameras and lenses do make a difference. But they do not matter anywhere near as much as you might think.

The thing is, bird photography isn’t nearly getting close. It’s also about creating beautiful compositions, getting the light just right, learning to expose properly, learning to track fast-moving subjects, etc . So while a longer lens is helpful, especially if your subjects are skittish, you can still capture beautiful bird images using a shorter lens – possibly by mastering stalking strategies or by capturing environmental bird pictures.

In my view, here’s what you ought to get started with bird photos: a decent APS-C camera body, along with a telephoto lens of 300mm. That’s more than sufficient to obtain truly great bird pictures.

Bald Eagle Flying Away With A Catch

And as I hinted at over, if you don’t have a longer telephoto lens, you can still get stunning photographs of avian species like mallards, geese, gulls, and other approachable birds. Everything boils down to how you view the situation. “Is the particular glass half empty or even half full? ”

2 . Think about bird photography lighting plus composition

Green Heron Standing Tall

Light can make or crack your bird photos – and so can composition . You need to spend careful attention to both these components and do what you can to ensure they’re always working in your own favor.

Therefore what’s the best light for bird photography? Early morning and late afternoon light, also known as golden-hour lighting . Golden-hour lighting is certainly soft, and as a bonus, the particular birds tend to be very energetic during these times.

Soft, golden-hour light has its own wonderful characteristics. For instance, this:

  • prevents harsh shadows on the parrot
  • enhances the particular glow in the bird’s plumage
  • creates a catchlight in the bird’s eye

As for bird photography composition:

A good composition helps you present your message in the simplest possible way. Happily, structure is pretty easy, and carrying out a few basic composition concepts will make a huge difference. The following is my best advice:

Dedicate those compositional guidelines to memory, use them in your function, and you’ll be golden .

3. Get straight down for an eye-level perspective

We see our world at five to six feet high, but parrots see the world from a couple of inches to a few feet off the ground. To get a feeling of the bird’s world, get down on their own level!

Quite simply, don’t be afraid to stoop, squat, crawl, or are located flat against the ground. Yes, you might get a bit muddy. Nevertheless , it’s the key to professional-looking, low-perspective images like this:

Goslings Crossing the Road

Here are just some of the benefits you get from low-perspective bird photography:

  • You’ll get true eye contact for more intimate photographs
  • You’ll obtain pleasing blur both in the foreground and background (note the blurred sand within the image above)
  • You’ll be low towards the ground and therefore less intimidating to your subject
  • You will transport the viewer into the bird’s world

Obviously, you can find cases where you can’t find down low, and that’s okay – but exactly where possible, drop to the terrain. It can make all the.

4. Maintain the eye sharp and well lit

Greater than any other part of a bird’s body, the eye absolutely, one-hundred percent needs to look good.

What does this particular mean? For one, if there is no light in the eyes, parrots look dull or without life. Whereas birds with a crystal clear eyelight (called a catchlight ) look much, much better.

Browse the photo below. Can you view the spot of white within the bird’s eye? That’s the particular catchlight, and you get it simply by positioning the sun (or an additional light source) at your back again.

(Quick tip: For the best catchlights, simply point your shadow at the bird and make sure you have an eye-level perspective; the sun will do all of those other work! )

Sparrow perching on a tree branch

You should also ensure that the bird’s eye is always, consistently, always in focus. When the eye is blurry however the body is sharp, then you have failed; if the body is blurry but the eye is quick, you may still have a good chance.

5. Fill up the frame

Want to get beautiful pictures of the bird? If you’re photographing just one individual, it’s often a wise decision to fill the framework. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • It’s simple for the viewer to focus on the bird
  • It’s easy to achieve a pleasing obnubilate or bokeh effect within the background
  • It is easy to properly expose for that bird
  • It’s easy to compose in the field

Juvenile Blue Heron Close Up

At this point, as I mentioned in my first tip, filling the body isn’t always necessary – and sometimes, if you have the shorter lens, it’s not possible. But unless you’re envisioning a stunning environmental shot, I do recommend you at least try to fill the frame. Work on a low, slow method (where you get low to the ground and inch forward), or even consider using a blind.

If your zoom lens is sharp and you are working with a high-megapixel camera, you can get away with a bit of cropping, but don’t depend on this too much; even the best images will start to break down if you try to turn the distant bird into a close-up masterpiece.

6. Tell a story

Storytelling in bird photography should not be confused along with storytelling in books plus movies. Storytelling is a way to express the time of the day, mood, place, or activity of the bird in a single photograph, and it’s mostly about including a bit of environment in the picture (along with a frame-filling bird, of course! ).

For instance, you can include some grasses next to the bird, you are able to photograph the bird getting a fish, you can catch two birds interacting, and so forth. If you decide to shoot a wider image (i. e., a shot with a no -frame-filling bird), after that storytelling becomes especially important; your story has to support the viewer’s attention, because a small-in-the-frame bird won’t be enough.

Great Egret in Misty Morning

Here are a few additional tips you can use to improve the story:

  • Indicate the weather conditions simply by including snow, rain, or even mist
  • Catch silhouettes during sunrise plus sunset
  • Present season by including blossoms in bloom, autumn colors, or snow
  • Include reflections for a surreal result

7. Capture the motion

Generally speaking, a good action photo trumps the perching photo. If you can catch a bird in air travel, a bird fighting, or perhaps a bird catching a seafood, the viewer is bound to become impressed – so I suggest you look for action whenever possible.

Of course , recording birds in action involves more effort and patience in comparison to capturing perched birds. However , with a little practice and determination, you can become a highly able action bird photographer.

Here are a few methods for shooting birds in action:

  • Photograph earlier in the morning or late within the afternoon when birds are very active
  • Wait for the bird to move, after that use broken mode to consider several photographs at once
  • Track the parrot until focus is secured before pressing the shutter (make sure you’re making use of continuous focus ! )
  • Learn to anticipate the motion either by observing or even reading about birds

Juvenile Blue Heron with a Fish

Professional tip: When birds are usually hungry, it’s easy to picture them in action; they’ll frequently ignore you in their single-minded quest for food, though be careful not to disturb them and keep a considerable distance.

By the way, action photos associated with birds don’t need to depict aggressive and/or impossibly fast movement. You can simply photograph parrots behaving in interesting ways, as I did for this Cattle Egret image:

Juvenile Great Egret Behavior

8. Capture birds in flight

Birds inside flight are most likely the most sought-after subjects in all of bird photography – and they’re also probably the most difficult. It’s not easy to take flight photographs that will wow your viewers!

Your success largely depends on the parrot, as well as the technique that you utilize. Smaller birds are generally quite erratic in their flight and quite small in the frame, which makes them difficult to track. Larger birds are slightly less swift and are less difficult to track – so if you want to be successful with airline flight photography, start with larger, slower-moving birds.

Belted Kingfisher in Flight

And make sure you get out plus practice continuously , because sharp bird in flight photos need perfect technique. Here are some basic tips to capture magnificent flight photographs:

  • Learn about the bird’s flight styles
  • Know the bird’s landing and take-off patterns
  • If there is more than one bird, when one flies, the rest will likely follow match
  • Track the particular bird for a few moments and then let the camera achieve focus before pressing the shutter
  • Use Aperture Concern so you do not have to worry much regarding changing light conditions

9. The setting makes the picture

In bird photography, the topic matters – but the track record matters, too. Bird pictures look gorgeous when the background is clean and complements the bird. When the background is certainly messy or distracting, however , the shot generally falters, even if the bird itself looks great.

Take a look at the image below. Do you see the smooth, beautiful – but not distracting! – background? Would you see how it complements the particular bird, and even makes it go crazy off the screen?

Seagull the Eagle

Bottom line: It’s required for keep an eye on the background while taking photos of a bird. Here are a few basic tips you can follow:

  • Avoid having bird photographs when the history is too distracting
  • Avoid taking bird photos when the background is plain and boring
  • If you don’t like the background, await the bird to change placement or adjust your angle until you get an interesting history
  • Choose optimum aperture values to toss the background slightly, or completely, out of focus

10. Practice along with common birds

As I’ve repeatedly stressed throughout this article, practice is an essential part of bird digital photography. Practice makes perfect, in the end – and while it’s not hard to create beautiful bird photos, certain types of images, for example birds in flight, get some real skill.

That’s why I urge you to practice taking photos of larger, slower, common hens. I personally learned most of my birding techniques with seagulls, mallards, geese, and herons. You can do the same.

Of course , don’t be scared to step outside your comfort zone and photograph the occasional songbird or shorebird. When you don’t capture attractive images, don’t get as well worked up; instead, focus on understanding your techniques and understanding the right parrot photography settings . Pretty soon, you’ll be photographing the tougher birds like a pro!

How to photo birds: final words

Barn Swallow Taking Off

Now that you’ve finished this article, you’re very well on your way to capturing beautiful bird photography. Focus your time and energy on learning all of the core principles outlined over. Prove to yourself that you have the passion to go out and photograph birds every day (or as often as you can).

Remember that proper methods will always outperform equipment. Create every attempt to create amazing photographs of the common parrots. And enjoy yourself! That is the key to success.


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Prathap DK

Prathap DK

Prathap is a professional nature professional photographer, blogger, and the GO-TO-GUY pertaining to Bird/Wildlife Photography. Download their most widely read bird photography eBook—Bird Photography: ten Mistakes & Solutions ( —for free today simply by joining a thriving character photographers community! His eays steps, practical, & instructional posts on his most popular blog Character Photography Simplified ( are usually regularly read by hundreds and hundreds of photographers from all around the entire world.

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