How To Photograph Birds? Camera Settings and Tips for Bird Photography

Have you heard of Salim Ali? Well, known as the ‘Birdman of India’, he was an Indian ornithologist and naturalist. His landmark creation ‘The Book of Indian Birds’ helped spark popular interest in the birds of India.

One of the popular genres of Nature Photography, Bird Photography requires a lot of patience and determination; it’s both – interesting and challenging.

Bird Photography

For Bird Photography, pay attention to the sound of birds – it will alert you of their arrival. Having sharp eyes will help you spot birds who camouflage/blend with their surroundings. You can photograph resting birds as well as birds in action.

Pro tips for Bird Photography

  • To photograph from a long distance, you need telephoto lens/zoom lens of at least 100 mm; 400 mm is ideal for close-ups and bird photography
  • Set your focus on the eyes of the bird
  • You can buy a bird feeder and attach to your window to attract birds
  • To shoot moving or flying birds, set a Fast Shutter Speed to freeze their action & avoid motion blur; go for 1/1000 sec or higher depending on your subject’s speed
  • You can use the Setting – Continuous Shooting so that you don’t miss out on any action/movement/motion of your subject
  • A Tripod is highly recommended to avoid camera shake or hold your camera closer to your body to support your arms & elbows for stability or find a surface to support your elbows or lean against a wall
  • Research your subject’s feeding/active time; be quiet & slow while approaching your subject

Take a look at the below pictures and Camera Settings that were used to photograph birds. In some cases, post processing was done in Lightroom to adjust exposure (brightness), contrast and sharpness:

Pigeon walking on the roof

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec, ISO 800

Pigeon landing on the roof

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/ 5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec, ISO: 800

Black Drongo sitting on the wire  

Camera SettingsAperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec, ISO 800

Common Tailorbird resting on the branch of the tree

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec, ISO 800

Kite bird on the lookout for its prey

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec, ISO 800

Curious Myna looking into my camera

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec, ISO 800

When the Myna turned its head 180 degrees

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec, ISO 800

Robin singing and posing for me 

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/640 sec, ISO 800

Male Kite obeying the orders of his partner

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/320 sec, ISO 800

Sparrow enjoying the light and shade of life

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/640 sec, ISO 800

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept  of Bird Photography with the help of practical examples.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, how to capture birds in action with the help of practical examples.

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express.  

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It! So, what’s your favourite type of photography? Is it Bird Photography?

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