In Pictures: How To Photograph Birds

By Sameer Ashraf

Photographing birds is a pet subject of snappers who nurture a passion for freezing various frames of nature. Given the fact that birds take a flight even at the slightest human intervention, bird photography requires a specialized skill set besides the best possible photographic gear.

According to the world’s most gifted bird photographers, one needs to have thorough understanding of avian behavior to get exquisite pictures of birds.

In this article, I will share some tips and advice on bird photography.

Aperture Priority: When shooting in this mode, one needs to focus on just two things: Aperture and Depth of Field (DoP). I would suggest aperture value two stops lesser than the maximum so that the subject remains in focus.

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Shutter Priority: Choose it only if the aperture priority doesn’t provide you enough shutter speed to freeze or blur the action. You should choose shutter speed as per the speed of the subject.

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Spot Metering: Background constitutes the major portion of a frame. By using spot metering, we can direct the camera to only meter the subject. This will ensure that we get the perfect exposure.

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Autofocus: We have a moving subject, so I would suggest that you don’t even consider changing the autofocus mode. This, because the moving bird won’t give you enough time to set the focus manually. And out of focus pictures would be the last thing you would think of.

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

High Burst Rate (FPS): It is not possible to read the behavior of a bird, so I would suggest using this mode. This would give you an advantage over the moving subject as you can take 12 frames in a second. By using this mode, you won’t miss even a single moment of the moving subject.

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Always Track: Track the subject by half pressing the shutter button before you start pressing it like a machine gun. This will give your camera enough time to focus on the subject. This takes place in a split second, and if you don’t do this, you are bound to lose all shots.

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Position makes a difference: You may choose top, low or level positions to shoot your favourite birds, but choosing the right one will make a huge difference.

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Photography By Sameer Ashraf

Role of Background: Always aim for backgrounds that complement the subject. Look for backgrounds that are not messy as they can distract the viewers.

A fuzzy background will be the best as it adds wow effect to a photograph. However, sometimes a slightly blurred background makes it more interesting bird photograph.

Sameer Ashraf

Sameer Ashraf is a filmmaker, an academician and a photojournalist. He is also a passionate artist with a love for transforming the canvas with oil and acrylic colors.

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