Capture light in the eye.
This hack is incredibly essential. Having the captured light in the eye of the bird can take it from a totally boring picture to a very intimate portrait. It’s like the difference when looking at somebody with a hat on their head and shade in front of their faces and not being able to see their faces clearly. You’re not sure what that means to capture light in the eye. It’s when you see that little white spot in the pupil of the bird’s eye. To achieve that, you need the sun directly on the bird. You can have it at different angles. You will see the white spot in the pupil of the bird’s eye. I also recommend getting down to the bird’s level if possible. That is another technique that can make your photo more intimate.
The background is very important.
I found in all the books that I’ve read about bird photography the background is one subject I think a lot of people leave out when it comes to bird photography. I think the background is just as important as your subject. If you don’t pay attention to the background in your bird photography, you can destroy many great pictures because the environment behind the bird is incredibly distracting. What do you think about this subject? How important is the background to you when you’re taking a bird photograph? So here are some tips, don’t take bird photographs when your background is too distracting.
Another thing to avoid is a dull and boring background. Make sure you look at the background and adjust your composition if possible. Another tip is to maximize your aperture value so that the background will be out of focus.
Quality of the light.
Photography is all about light. Early morning light and late afternoon light is the best time for bird photography. The sun is soft and beautiful; it makes for a great photograph. The sun will not cast dark shadows on the birds. It will give you the catch light in the bird’s eye. And if you can find a color contrast for complimenting the background, that’s a plus. One of my favorite types of bird photos is silhouettes. Go out before sunrise is a great time to take bird silhouettes. If you can go out during a rainstorm and have a break in the weather, you can have some amazing light to photograph birds in.
Having knowledge of the birds, your photographing is incredibly essential. Don’t just know how to use your camera. I know as much about the bird as I do about my camera and gear. Find out the time of day they’re more active, like when birds are feeding. I do a lot of research on where to find the birds I’m looking to photograph by using the Audubon app and others. There are so many websites you can use to learn about birds; it’s incredible. Even going down to your local library and checking out some bird books is a great option.
Some people may think composition isn’t essential in bird photography. I have found it’s just as important as any other type of photography. So take time and look at your surroundings, look at your background, look at the angle of the light. Just by paying attention to where the sun is relative to your bird and having it behind, you can make a huge difference in your composition skills as a bird photographer. Try to look around your surroundings when you’re photographing birds by looking for something unique to add in the picture. You can make a simple move, and a branch won’t be in the way and cause a shadow on your bird.
Capture their action.
For me capturing the action of the bird is so incredibly important almost as much as good light. Focusing on birds, especially small birds, and getting them in flight leaving from a perch can be very challenging. Plus, when looking through your viewfinder at your subject, look for emotions, tilting of the head looking inquisitive at you. I have found some of my favorite pictures are when birds are very expressive and the way they move their heads and look at you. It can take an incredibly dull picture and make it funny sometimes.
This hack will save you a lot of time when you edited your photos. Pay attention to your viewfinder when photographing birds. I made so many mistakes in the beginning because I did not pay attention when I was taking pictures. I would get home, and I could not figure out why the pictures came out bad. It was because while I would hike from location to location, I would accidentally hit a button or switch. So pay attention to your settings when looking and the birds your photographing.
Remember, the 7 hacks for bird photography are to get the capture light in the eye. It makes a bird photo more intimate and causes the head to stand out. Take a look at the background. It is just as critical as the bird. Get out during early morning hours and an hour before sunset. The light during these times is beautiful. Make sure to gain knowledge of the birds your photographing. The composition is just as important as good light. Action makes for a great photograph. Don’t waste time editing your photos on the spot. Pay attention to the viewfinder to avoid making mistakes when your photographing birds.
Michael Vance Pemberton