How to Photograph Backyard Birds

Photographing birds can be a tricky affair. Backyard birds are not likely to follow your pleas to be still in front of your favorite flower and they don’t usually stay still for long. Use these simple tips to help make capturing your birds year-to-year easier.

How to take great bird photos

Used via CC by Mike Baird Flickr

Be conscious of bird feeder placement

When setting up your bird feeder, take a few minutes to review the surroundings. Ask yourself the following questions before installing the feeder:

  • Do I have a smooth background to photograph from at this location?
  • Will this spot attract the birds I want to capture?
  • Are flowers or other pleasant scenery nearby to enhance shots?
  • Will the spot have enough light to take non-flash photographs?

By taking a few minutes to answer these questions prior to installing your feeder, you’ll be more likely to catch beautiful photographs.

Think about a hiding spot

Most backyard birds are fairly used to humans nearby but don’t want you too close. Having a place to hide, like a large shrub or tree, will allow you to peek at birds with your camera without them flying away. You might want to place a small bench there so you can sit and observe comfortably. It sometimes takes awhile to catch birds with their guard down at the feeder.

Choose the right bird food

Think about what types of birds you’re trying to attract and choose high-quality bird feed appropriate. Suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts are often good bets. Especially in winter months. Just remember, if you’re feeding birds in the cold months, it is important to do it continuously to help supplement their natural food supply.

Budget carefully for food before committing to it. You can often spend a significant amount on food in the winter. Make sure you’re able to keep a steady supply before putting the food out or birds could come to rely on it and then be hurt when it stops.

Equipment for photographing birds

A simple camera will work, but to take exceptional shots you’ll need a DSLR and at least a 100-200mm lens. In addition to the camera, choose a sturdy tripod to make still and quick shots easier.

Catch the best photographs early or late

The easiest lighting for capturing gorgeous bird photographs is early in the morning or just at dusk. At these times the natural light has a soft and pleasant hue that is easy for the amateur photographer to work with.

Follow our how-to list for taking stunning photographs of your backyard birds and you’ll be cataloging these distinctive creatures for years to come.

Choose a bird feeder to get you started today!

Did you use our guide to take a great photograph? Share it in the comments and we’ll feature it on our blog and Pinterest Page.

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