Wilson's Bird of Paradise

Bird Photography

Bird photography is a special skill and I admire good photos of birds. See the links  for some especially excellent photographs and this page for miscellaneous photos. It takes a lot of gear, time and patience. I’ve tried a bit myself, but I’ll never make a photographer.

There are links to various photography sites, not just birds, but mostly birds. Just surf some of them and you will be amazed at the fantastic shots some of these professionals have made.

You are probably aware that you can go to Google or other search engines and search for photos or other illustrations. If you want to use one you can search for those by Usage Rights. Some are in the public domain or otherwise free to use. Whatever the case may be, be sure to abide by copyright laws.

Here’s a beautiful photo of a male Vermillion Flycatcher taken by a friend of mine, David Rose_DSC1320n. You may also wish to visit the site Secrets of Online Bird Photography, an online book that tells you an incredible amount of information about photographing birds and includes some spectacular photographs. There are sixteen chapters plus a number of photographs that you can challenge yourself to match.

Here are a few tips  from Audubon’s 10  Tips for Photographing Birds

Identify your subject and isolate it

Birds are often found in the most cluttered of settings: Branches or grasses intersect at various angles and distract from the central subject, or other birds distract the eye. That said, elements of habitat and even the entire landscape are often part of the message and artistry of the image, and you want to include them to some degree. The trick is to decide what is absolutely necessary for the most beautiful or compelling image. Use your f-stop, your angle of shooting, or your proximity to the subject to eliminate all but the essential elements of your desired photo.

Make an original photo

Lots of people take inspiring images, and it’s natural to want to try to replicate them. Unfortunately, that wastes lots of time and is rarely productive, as the power of an image comes partly from its originality—a redo of a great image rarely evokes that same awe. Aim for different angles, new subjects, and unusual behaviors to create photos that are entirely new.

Anticipate behavior

Birds move. They fly, scamper, swim, mate, fight, and dive, sometimes constantly, sometimes all at the same time. I usually see my best shots in my head first, watching behavior and anticipating what the bird will do next. If I know how my subject will move, I can select shutter speeds, f-stops, and ISO that maximize the potential quality of that image. In order to be successful, I spend a lot of time learning about my subjects, watching them closely and reading up on them, so that I know how they might behave under different circumstances.

Let the birds come to you

Graylag Goose

It is tempting to chase birds, since most are timid and move away from us. This often results in photos of birds turning or leaning away or, even worse, with their backs to the camera as they flee. By studying behavior and habitat ahead of time, you can anticipate where a bird will land, walk, or fly, and set yourself there in advance so that the bird comes to you, resulting in a much more compelling and intimate photograph.

Arrive early and stay late

Get out early and stay until the last light fades and your photos will be much better. The magical light just after sunrise and just before sunset is when color looks its best, shadows are farther from subjects, and birds are most active. These are the times to maximize your shooting.


All About Birds Photography Site
Audubon -Photography
Bird Photography Tutorials

Birds of Sweden
Blinds for Photography
Digital Nature Photography
Find a Bird Picture Album
Free Bird Photos
How to Photograph Birds
Greg Lasley’s Bird Photos
Nature Photography
Nature Photographers Online Magazine
North American Bird Photography Gallery
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Photo Gallery of Southwestern US Birds
Photo Guide to Indian Birds
Photos of Shorebirds
Rob Versteeg-Birds
Robert Royce’s Bird Photography
Photographs of African Birds
Surfbirds Photo Album

4 thoughts on “Bird Photography”

  1. I’ve been taking photography for a bit, and I’m glad to see someone discussing the uniqueness of a photo. I agree that while many professional photos found in blogs, educational sites, and passion projects can be impressive, but trying to replicate these photos can be far too time consuming, fruitless, and take away from the beauty of the original image capturing a unique moment in time.

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