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Avian Photography

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Steven Servantez, Photographer / Writer

One of my passions is photographing birds. The interest stems from my need to express myself in photography, the difficulty in capturing fast-moving subjects and the need to be outdoors.

Whether using a point-and-shoot or a DSLR, photographing birds is something everyone can do. Some simple tips will help maximize your chances of capturing a great shot.

Birds can be creatures of habit. Knowing the behavior of birds can be beneficial. I place bird feeders near wood lines or bushes. Most birds will land away from a bird feeder and look around before flying into the feeder to eat. Aim for the spots the birds perch prior to moving to the feeder. Some birds use the same perch every time, use this to your advantage. Birds need to drink and bathe; bird baths, streams, ponds attract birds. The same principle applies as with the feeders; birds tend to perch, bathe and drink from the same spots. Portable blinds are an excellent way to get close to birds. Set up your blind near bird areas two to three days prior to shooting. Birds will become acclimated to the blind. Climb in and wait. It is possible to get within feet of birds in feeders or streams. If you can’t get outdoors, place your feeders or bird baths near windows. Shoot from behind curtains or blinds to get close-ups.

Red Heads
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Red Heads

Photo by Steven Servantez

Providing housing for birds will attract and make it easier to photograph adults and nestlings. My property has housing for wrens, wood ducks, owls, bluebirds and more!

I always try NOT to include feeders or houses in my photos. The photos will look more “wild” if you can’t see anything but your subject and surrounding habitat.

Always stay low. Birds are less intimidated by low objects and tend to flee higher objects. Never wear white; birds tend to shy away from this color. If you want to get closer to your subject, move in lateral movements. Moving straight forward tends to frighten birds.

Lastly, share your photos with others. Ask other photographers what you did right and what could you have done better.

Hummer
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Hummer

Photo by Steven Servantez

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