How to Take Photos of Birds – Bird Photography Tips and Tricks

How to Take Photos of Birds – Bird Photography Tips and Tricks


So you want to know how to take good
photos of birds? Well you’ve come to the right place. In this video, I’m going to
show you some hints tips and tricks for places to go and things to do to help
you get better photos of those little flying critters. So, here’s a quick
rundown of what you’re going to learn check it out. The best place to start is to come to a park like this one. The birds are quite calm, they’re used to being around a lot of people so you’ll
be able to get closer and you’ll get better shots. Hand-holding is best…The
higher the shutter speed the better If you’re wanting that nice soft background in your photos, using the widest aperture you will be the best thing to do…and I
wanted to talk to you a little bit about how to approach the birds, so let’s go
find some the best time to come out is golden hour to approach a bird that’s not quite as chilled as these ones here, creep very slowly love them or hate them
but seagulls are a really good first subject there’s not as much distraction
in the background that might confuse your camera when it’s trying to focus Hi there. Barry Callister for Barry Callister
Photography, giving you hints tips and tricks for better nature photography. Welcome to my channel, glad you found me. If you haven’t yet subscribed, please hit
that subscribe button. Make sure you check out links in the video description
of this video for any of the gear I’m using today, or anything else I mention. It’ll be linked up down below and you can purchase via those links if you wish. Now the best place to start with your bird photography is to come to a park
like this one because obviously people come to parks a lot, and if there’s a lake or some kind of water there as well, it’s also extra handy because birds love
water. And the birds are quite calm because they’re used to being
around a lot of people so you’ll be able to get closer and you’ll get better
shots. Now as far as your lens choice goes on your camera, obviously the longer, the better. This here I’m using is a 55 to 200mm, it’s just the kit lens that
came with the camera. It’s all I’ve got right now, so that’s what I use. So I have
to get quite close to the birds with this one. Within about 5 to 10 metres
I’ll get a decent shot with this lens. So, anything 200 millimetres or above you’re going to be laughing. But like I said, because you’re at a park, the birds are
going to get let you get a lot closer anyway so you don’t need that really
long reach. So you can get by with a smaller lens like this one. Now I don’t want to dwell too much into camera settings on this video because I wanted it to be
more of a advice on where to go and what to do to get better for bird photos and
not so much about the technical stuff. But I will quickly mention a few things
here. Now most of the time, hand-holding your camera will be ok. If you’re taking
photos of birds that are moving obviously having a tripod is hard
because birds don’t move in exactly the way you want them to and sometimes a
tripod can be limiting in that way. So, hand-holding is best. If you have a bird that’s stationary and it looks like it’s calm and it’s not going to go anywhere,
absolutely use a tripod because you’ll get sharper photos that way. But most of
the time – go handheld. Now when you’re hand holding your camera obviously if
you’re a very shaky person like me, the higher the shutter speed, the better. But
the general rule is set your shutter speed to equal to or greater than the
focal length of your lens. So for example, if I’m shooting at 200 mm
on my lens here I’d want a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second
or greater. As I said, greater is always better. Obviously if you’re wanting that nice soft background in your photos, using the
widest aperture you can will be the best thing to do and then just do you set
your ISO to get correct exposure. If you want the background in focus obviously
going to have to have a small aperture and then adjust your ISO accordingly. I don’t want to go to much more into camera settings because quite obviously they’re
going to change depending on where you are and what the weather is like at the
time. Now I wanted to talk to you a little bit about how to approach the
birds so let’s go find some and I’ll show you how to move up on them so that
you don’t scare them away. Now, as you can see behind me here, this is the beauty of a park or a lake. I am like I’m within three meters of these ducks here behind
me and they don’t even care so I could get really great shots from here. Of
course, this is not the best time to come out and take your bird photos. It’s 10:33 in the morning here, so the Sun is quite high in the sky and it’s gonna
wash all your colors out. The best time to come out is golden hour – around
sunrise and sunset. It’s different everywhere you are in the world what
time’s it is before and after sunset but check that…to check that, just google it
and you’ll find out where it is the best for your part of the world. So…but you
can see here this is the beauty of it you can get really close to these guys
and they don’t even care y’know, they’re quite happily sitting there. And
I can just click off the photo if I want to. quite easily… and they don’t even…they’re not even worried about the camera If you want to get really really close to other birds that aren’t quite so used to humans. The best thing to do is to come
out before dawn and find yourself a spot and just sit and wait, because the birds,
when they do show up they will think that you’re just part of the landscape. If you stay as still as you possibly can they’ll think you’re a rock or a tree or
they don’t really know what you are so they’re going to come quite close. And
I’ve used that technique before to get some really great shots, so that’s a
really good one to remember as well. If you need to approach a bird that’s not
quite as chilled as these ones here, the idea is to move slowly but not too
slowly. If you move too slowly they’ll think you’re a predator and they’ll just
fly away. So move…creep very slowly, but keep
moving, don’t stop for too long because they think that you’re waiting to pounce
on them right?! So it’s just creep slowly, slowly, slowly…If they make a move as if
they’re going to fly off, stop…wait ’til they settle down, move in a little bit
closer. It’s all a practice thing, it’s different with different birds so just
experiment and see how you go. Another great place to get started with your bird photography is of course the beach. Obviously a lot of people come to the
beach a lot of the time, so the bird life’s not going to be as afraid of you
as it would be in other places. And love them or hate them, but seagulls are a
really good first subject. They will let you get fairly close, they fly fairly
slowly, they glide in for landings quite slowly, so you can get good flight photos
with them. And some of the time you’ll have blue sky at the beach too which is
great for getting those bird flight photos, because there’s not as much
distraction in the background that might confuse your camera when it’s trying to
focus. So if you’re lucky enough to live near a beautiful beach such as this one –
get down there and get started with your bird photography, it’s a really great
place to practice. So there you go, that is how you take good photos of birds. I hope the hints and tips I’ve outlined in the video have helped you in some way
to either get started with your bird photography, or to improve it. If you have
any problems or questions, please pop me a comment down below in the comment
section and I’ll try and get back to you as soon as I can. Also, check out the
links in the video description for any of the gear I’ve used in the video
today. You can also purchase via those links if you want to. I’ve also popped a
link down in there to a PDF that outlines all the tips that i’ve said in
the video today, so you can download that to your phone or print it out, take it
with you when you go photographing, and it’ll help you to remember all the stuff
that I said in the video. I do ask for a small donation to download that PDF and
that money goes back into my channel in order to keep my camera equipment going
and getting good videos out to you guys, so I thank you for your donation. I’m
Barry Callister for Barry Callister Photography. Get out there, take some wicked shots And I’ll see you soon

2 thoughts on “How to Take Photos of Birds – Bird Photography Tips and Tricks

  • March 3, 2018 at 5:09 am
    Permalink

    I tried to take a photo of a bird once, got hit with a restraining order.

    Reply
  • June 10, 2019 at 7:11 am
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    I've only got a basic camera but I find videoing works better for me than taking stills. You can see how the bird moves; for example weather it hops or walks and I see more of the bird as it turns round.

    Reply

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