Thursday, 17 July 2014

Bird Photography Tips

Starling-in-the-gardenOn the right is a shot of a Common Starling
Probably the most hated bird in Britain due to a group being able to clear a feeder
from full to empty in 60 seconds. This image was shot in my garden from the shed window, the camera was loosely mounted on a ball headed tripod giving me freedom to focus and recompose. So what do I like about this shot? I am going to break the shot down and hopefully your going to get something from this to help you get better bird and wildlife shots.

1. Composition: The bird is positioned on the left with negative space to the right where the beak is pointing. Always try and leave negative space for the animal to look or move into. ( A no,no for me would be to put the bird in the middle and have the beak nearly touching the edge of the image).

2. Background: Clear background with a nice bokeh affect from the sun hitting the leaves behind the bird, shoot wide open this was at f5.6 to blur backgrounds.(Try not to have branches cluttering up the frame, hard to do this with bird shots I know).

3. Lighting: This was shot in the shade to minimise any problems with highlight and shadows due to it being a very sunny day, still enough light to bring out the plumage colour on the Bird.

4. Interest: I usually look for several things, expression, on birds wait for the head tilt, when the bird gives you the eye press the shutter, catchlight in the eye always makes for a more pleasing shot, that goes hand in hand with eye contact. Try and shoot at eye level if possible and focus on the eyes or the eye closest to you.

Put all these things together and you should have a great image on you hands.

This Starling shot has been Published in Digital Photographer Magazine issue 149 it is also in RSPB Give Nature a Home 2015 Calendar and as had over 40 million views on my G+ Page.