Bird photography

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year to photograph, with such a veritable selection of colours at your disposal to capture. The burnt oranges of fallen leaves, and the stark dark contrast of bare brown branches make the perfect backdrop for taking on your next photography challenge.

Wildlife photography and in particular bird photography, is a difficult arena for even the seasoned photographer. The main problems are the fast and agile way that birds move and the challenges of natural lighting when you are capturing a bird in flight.

Inspiration

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has just started their give nature a home campaign for autumn, which urges people to make their garden and outside areas as nature-friendly as possible. You can follow the campaign through the hashtag #homesfornature.

One part of the campaign focuses solely on giving birds a safe and reliable food source through bird feeders. This is a simple and cost-effective way of attracting wildlife to your home so you don’t have to venture far for that perfect snap.

Inspiration can also come from this year’s Amateur Photographer of the Year award, which has already announced several category winners including Animal Planet. The winner was Gerard Sexton, who took this stunning photograph of a Heron landing on a branch. One of the many things that make this photograph so spectacular is the incredible timing. The photographer has caught the exact moment of landing just before the wings fold away.

Increase your chances

As well as taking part in the RSPB campaign, you can also take the ‘if’ out of whether you’ll come across a beautiful bird of prey by visiting a wildfowl or falconry center. It is here that you can practice your portrait shots and get used to the quick, sharp movements of these majestic creatures.

However, if you decide to take up twitching, part of the thrill is the search for something to capture with your lens, and having a guaranteed shot might not create the same buzz.

The equipment you own doesn’t need to be top of the line to create a stunning picture you can turn into a customised canvas print as we always make the most of the images we work with, but having something mid range is worth investing in. For beginners, you shouldn’t need more than a kit lens, DSLR and oodles of enthusiasm.

Quick tips

If you’re eager to get going, here’s a few quick tips to bird photography:

  • Cropping in tight on your subject will create a bird portrait.
  • Backlighting will create a striking rim-light around the bird.
  • Soft and even lighting will help to draw out the feather detail.
  • Using a tripod will help to steady your shot, especially if you have to wait a while.

There are so many different styles of bird photography and formations that you can play with. The drama of a flock of birds moving through the skies, the vivid detail of a portrait shot or even the blurred wing movements of a bird in flight. Whatever you decide, it couldn’t be easier to transfer your photo to canvas that’ll have pride of place in your home. You could even choose a split canvas to show a sequence of shots of a bird in flight.

Bird photography tips