5 Tips to click better Bird Photos!!


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5 Tips to click better Bird Photos!!

30 Jun 2015 10:21AM   Views : 784 Unique : 501

If you are one of them who is yearning to take fantastic pictures of birds but so far have not managed to so, then some basic changes to your approach may greatly enhance the quality of your photos. The below five tips will help you achieve better quality photos while photographing the birds of your choice.
1. Know your subject: It is always important to know the behaviour of the bird, what they feed on feed on, what type of trees they normally perch on, what time of the day they will be active. Most birds are active during dawn when they come out in search of their feed. Some feed on worms etc. on the ground. For example if intend to photograph ‘Lapwings’ you probably will find them on the ground, so you will have to find a good spot so as to have minimal obstructions like grass, twigs etc. Be aware of what they generally feed upon, so you could wait around the spots where their feed is in abundance. For example herons, egrets are generally found near ponds where fish is present. Bee-eaters near bee-hives, sunbirds near flowers with nectar and so on. So know about the behaviour of the subject will help you plan ahead and look for the right places to look for

2. Picturise your composition: They say anyone with a camera takes photo but a good photographer ‘makes’ a photo. It is important to know what you would like to photograph, to stay focussed. Have a couple of choice of birds that you want to focus on and the type of composition you would like to take. For example, if you want to shoot kingfishers, are you planning to shoot this bird in flight, or when it is actually fishing with a fish in its beaks, or do you intend to capture its plumage etc. This is not to say that you should not shoot anything else. Of course do take pictures of if you want to capture it but you being focussed prepares you better for that great photo you will want to take. This will help you determine your camera settings and composition, angle, light etc. beforehand so you are ready when the moment comes for you to click. It is my experience that more times than less you will end up with better clicks when you are focussed and have a plan in mind.

3. Equipment and Attire: It is important to have the right tools based on what you intend to shoot. I would recommend a good camera with some great lenses. Telephoto lenses of focal length 300mm or more will be highly recommended. A tripod is highly recommended although I know of a few people who shoot handheld with the telephoto lens. If you are shooting at night (photographing owls), then you may need a good flash. I am not sure how much of an assistance will a camouflage dress give, but it is better to avoid bright coloured or very dark coloured clothing. Of course goes without saying one needs to plan for the type of weather you will be encountering. Weather good rugged foot wear that will steady you in most terrains

4. Time of Day: 1 and 2 above will greatly assist you for arriving at the good time at the location. It is important to shoot when the sun is at an angle and as soft as possible. So hours around dawn and dusk is generally preferred. A moderately cloudy sky will offer good soft light. Also these are hours when birds tend to venture out of their nests. The early hour light will also enhance the colours and textures of the plumage of the bird. A general rule is to have the sun at a 90 degree angle to the bird, so it lights up the bird and will offer a chance to click with a catch light in the eyes. Always try and predict the bird’s next movement and be ready to capture with the right settings on your camera.
Another option is also to consider what is possible with the available weather and time. Suppose it is cloudy and raining it may present you with a chance of shooting peacocks with their plumage spread out, or to look for nests with birds sheltered in it. So be open to changes of weather and light and weather.

5. Patience and Persistence pays: The word 'Photography' gels well with two other words starting with P, Patience and Persistence. Birds don’t pose just because you have a camera and intend to take their pictures. They are very shy creatures. One needs to keep a good amount of distance so as to not frighten them to fly away. You need to play a waiting game. Allow the bird to get near you. Find a good spot and stay put. Do not move a lot and wait for the right moment. On most occasions you will realise that birds are very shy and it will take time for them to come near you or in the vicinity, for you to take good pictures. Sometimes, when possible, staying inside a car or a vehicle to photograph offers better chances of not frightening the bird. Whenever your chance arrives then you need to click quickly. Bracketing and taking burst (multiple) shots helps. Chances are immense that you may not get the shot you wanted. So you need to wait patiently or come back another day and do the same thing.

Hope the above tips help you to improve your bird photographs. As a fellow nature lover it is my sincere request to you not to “Feed or chase a bird to photograph it. Please realise you will cause a lot of discomfort and harm to them”.

Tags: Better Bird Photos

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