5 Tips to Get the Best Close-up Photographs of Birds

The elegance in their flight and the beauty they possess, make birds wonderful subjects for photography. Whilst photographing birds can come with its own challenges, the entire experience can prove to be enlightening. Not only do you get to capture them in their habitat but also glean interesting facts about their secretive nature. Here are a few tips to get amazing bird photographs.

1. Capture their behavior

The best images are those that capture the birds’ behavior. To get the perfect shot, find a spot where you can camouflage yourself and keep your camera settings ready. This will require you to exercise a lot of patience but the end result would be truly worth it. The best way to go about this is to learn the behavioral traits of different species. This way, you will be able to anticipate when a bird may eat, feed, mate, fight, swim or dive.

Photo by: Niket Chaudhary

Photo by: P Shibu

2. Get close-up shots

Fill the frame with the bird. You can also create a blur or bokeh effect in the background to complement your subject. In case of close-ups and macro focusing, the chances of getting a camera shake is very high. Since you need to remain still so that the bird doesn’t get frightened, it is advisable to use a tripod and a cable release. Alternatively, you can also use the timed shutter release feature in your camera to get the image. However, the delay may cause you to miss a perfect moment, so choose wisely.

Photo by: P Shibu

Photo by: P Shibu

Photo by: Roshan Chetan

3. Photograph birds on a stick

Although it’s a cliché concept, photographs of birds perched on a branch can be quite visually appealing. Shoot during morning sunlight to get the best lighting and bump up your aperture to f/7.1. Use a zoom lens with a tripod to get the best shots.

Photo by: Merlin Pgs

Photo by: Vinsilin Vin

Photo by: Merlin Pgs

4. Focus on the eye

The eyes are where all the emotions lie. Capturing the eye of a bird is a very effective way to enrapture your viewers. A close-up such as this no doubt requires you to have a macro lens or a zoom lens with macro mode. Ideally, use a tripod to avoid camera shake. Go for a large aperture and a shallow depth of field. Blurring out the background will draw extra attention towards the birds’ eyes.

Photo by: David Barnett

Photo by: Merlin Pgs

Photo by: Merlin Pgs

5. Catch birds in action

Photographs of birds in flight are fascinating to say the least. Some of the best photographs are those of birds frozen in motion. To get this shot, you need to speed up your shutter speed to at least 1/500th of a second. This again varies with the flying speed of different birds. Use burst mode to capture multiple images and choose the best ones.

Photo by: Roshan Chetan

Photo by: Nishith Gupta

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