Bird Photography

Birds of Flight

Before you start clicking birds, there are few points to keep in mind.

  1. Use a good zoom lens, at least 200 mm to get optically close to the object.
  2. Select AI Servo (focusing mode) in your camera for continuous focusing.
  3. Use a high shutter speed.
  4. If your lens supports IS (image stabilization) I, then choose it.

Close up of Birds:


In case of clicking any creatures make sure you focus on the eye, as it is the only part on their body which shows liveliness. A good telephoto or zoom lens can help you get close up of the birds. Click at the widest aperture possible to gain shallow depth of field. You may need to follow the bird around for a while before it remains still. Patience is the ultimate key.

Freeze Motion


Flying birds create amazing images. The action photographs are catchier than steady sitting bird photographs. Faster shutter speed is always required to capture the motion or to click action photos. Reflex helps to capture the exact specific moment. A delay in capturing image would cause either an empty frame or blur as the birds are always on the move and that too very fast. Aperture plays a major role as well. Keeping aperture at the widest opening (1.8 or 2.8) helps you to have even higher shutter speed and the depth of field achieved due to the aperture is shallow. Aperture could be reduced till 7.1 or 8 to achieve complete sharpness.

Sometimes little motion blur can also create dramatic effects in the picture. As birds flutter their wings, it can be motion blurred by using comparatively slow shutter speed. This gives true sense of action and creates hazy looking wings.

Camera Settings



The first part to be considered is how fast shutter speed to use. One must consider using optimum shutter speed. If shutter speed kept very high it would reduce the amount of light entering the camera and if shutter speed used is too low then if would not freeze the fast motion.

Aperture plays very important role. Using widest aperture helps create shallow depth of field and gathers more light. If you want all the backgrounds in sharp focus then consider using higher F values (around F8.0)

ISO should be kept less to avoid noise or grains in your image. Little increase in ISO can help in low light conditions and also allow use of higher / faster shutter speed.

It is difficult to focus birds in flight. Sometimes auto focus may fail completely if you are shooting at dawn or dusk. Manual focusing always helps no matter what lighting condition you are shooting in. If you still want to use auto focus then it is recommended to use AI servo mode. This makes sure that camera maintains its focus on the abject even if the object keeps on moving.