Photographing Wild Birds: Tips
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Backyard bird photography can be a challenge. It's not easy to photograph something small, flighty, and very aware of you. Here are a few tips to help you come away with a wild bird photo you can enjoy for years.

Study other bird photographs
Acorn Woodpecker What do you like about the bird photographs you see? Is it the lighting, the position of the bird in the frame, the background? Use the following guidelines as you consider the shots you'd like to take.

Create your scene
Take inventory of the beautiful spaces in your backyard and set out feeders and water. Birds will often perch before they feed. Look for low dead branches on trees close to your feeders and trim them back so only several inches stick out of the trunk. Be sure to consider:

  • Your location
  • Distance from bird
  • Background
  • Lighting
  • Do you need something to hide behind?

As a bird stops to feed, you'll have a fantastic photo opportunity.

Make it your goal to study the patterns of your backyard wildlife and spend time outside with them. First, try using binoculars to study their patterns and habits. In time, you may be rewarded with many beautiful photo opportunities.