Bird and Wildlife Photography Tips

by Vivek Doshi
1 comment
Leopard - Wildlife photography

Bird photography / wildlife photography can be intimidating at times because of its very nature. Below are some wildlife photography and bird photography tips to take your photography to the next level.

Finding Subject in Viewfinder

First and foremost thing is to get comfortable with your camera and lenses, practice finding the subject in viewfinder specially with longer lenses (telephoto / Super telephoto). Start with a rock or a leaf, it help to get the subject in frame faster when action happens. 

Pre-Focusing

It’s one of the most underrated but very important specially when it comes to photographing a bird against clear blue sky. Try and find the approximate distance of the subject and pre-focus to anything, this will make you focus more faster decreasing the chance of missing the shot.

Camera Settings

Start with shutter priority mode with auto ISO and shutter around 1/1000 second for still wildlife and around 1/2000 seconds for fast moving animals. This will eliminate camera shake. Once comfortable try reducing the speed to 1/500 seconds for fast moving subjects to add motion blur. It gives and extra dimension to the photo. At first the photos might be burry. Always shoot RAW, it gives you extra control while post processing.

Still Bird - Bird photography tips
At 1/500 Second
Lioness - Wildlife Photography
At 1/500 seconds
Bird - wildlife photography - Thol bird sanctuary
At 1/2000 second

Exposure Compensation

If you are shooting in shutter priority the exposure will be auto. It has tendencies to over expose for lighter skinned birds.  Use -1 compensation for white skinned birds and +1 compensation for darker skinned birds. 

Keep Shadows in Front of You

A good starting point will be sun behind you. This will make the subject front lit . A well lit animals / birds are better for details. This isn’t a rule but kind of guideline. You can always try the backlit for silhouette and dark moody photograph.

Oriental magpie-robin Bird - Wildlife photography
Front Lit
Leopard - Gir National Park
Back Lit
Flying Bird - Bird Photography Tips
Side Lit (Side back Lit)

Be Still

A lot of us has tendencies to follow the wildlife. This particular is not a good idea as the moments agitates the wildlife. Be still find a good spot and wait for the wildlife to come closer. Animals are more comfortable quite and still environment. 

Practice

The most important of all. Make a schedule and photograph regularly. You don’t have to visit national parks, try shooting in your backyard. Its okay to shoot common birds and animals. Practice panning, exposure compensation etc. Don’t get discouraged if you fail.

I hope you find these Wildlife and Bird Photography tips useful, do share your tips in comments. Happy shooting. 

1 comment

Sunil June 22, 2021 - 12:11 pm

Thank you so much for tips !!

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