A Beginner’s Guide To Photographing Wild Birds

Photographing birds is tremendously tricky and requires as much wildlife know-how as it does knowledge of settings. So, if you’re interested in getting started, here is a beginner’s guide to push you in the right direction.

My situation is strikingly similar to Pye Jirsa in this video. I primarily shoot people or products, and wildlife is rarely something I’ve ever done, and certainly not something I’d set out to do specifically. That isn’t to say it’s not something I’d love to do, it just hasn’t been the direction my work (or gear purchases) have gone. Then, at the start of this year, I had an opportunity while testing some equipment for review.

Like many genres of photography, birding had enormous amounts of nuance. Not only are you having to shoot in pretty testing conditions most of the time, but the subject is not remotely interested in playing ball. You need to be an animal behaviorist and wildlife guru to be consistently in the right place at the right time. So, that’s the advice I would add-on to Jirsa’s great tips: find someone who knows about birds or a tour guide if you’re somewhere famous for its wildlife. They will take you to the right place, at the right time, and have you looking in the right direction. It doesn’t have to be a tour guide either. A local who bird watches often will have a trove of information you could use.


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