Bird Photography Tip – Shoot Local


Bird photography is an awesome part of wildlife photography and I truly love getting a great bird image. Traveling to exotic places and photographing birds in the wild is exciting. It’s also damned expensive and unreliable. My advice…spend more time at home!

Benefits of Bird Photography at Home

Bird photography in your backyard is certainly not as glamorous as heading out in to the wild and it is not supposed to replace it either. Photographing what you have at home though does have some great benefits.

Cost – It’s Free Bird Photography!

Well, it’s almost free. Once you invest in a couple of bird feeders and perhaps some props, you are done. It costs me around $200 a day to be away from home and that does not include airfare. That cost adds up over time and makes the cost per pixel pretty steep too.

Guaranteed Successful

You may not get a magazine cover shot, but you can look out your window and see what is at the feeder so you know in advance what you may get. When you fly off to the Everglades for the day, you never ever know what or if you are going to get some decent bird photography out of the trip.

You Know the Birds and their Behavior

The best bird photographs in my portfolio come from birds that I understand. I don’t mean speak their language (that does help though), it’s that you know how they act. In your yard you will always know which perch they use before hitting the feeder. Or what direction they like to approach the feeder from. When you know where a bird is going to land, it makes bird photography a ton easier!

 BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: Once you know the perch that they like to use you can replace that stick with a prettier one or just add some flowers or vines to make it more photogenic. In addition, you can make sure to photograph that perch from an angle that gives you the best light and the best background.

Controlling the Conditions

You are not going to be doing a mother nature impersonation, but you can setup your camera to get the best background and the best light. You know what the weather is going to be and whether or not you will have results that you want. You can shoot in all four seasons to keep getting different looks for your bird photography habit!

Don’t forget that you can move the feeder around to your best benefit. Perhaps the backyard is bad light in the fall, move to the side or the front. The birds will find their feeder much more quickly than you imagine. Another tip, if you have more than one feeder, take down all but the one that you are using. This will help push get more birds in front of you camera and your bird photography opportunities will be improved.

 BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: If you have a really horrible background you can “make” one for yourself. Just take a picture of a great background print it to about 20×30 and mount it to foam board. Then you can use a couple of clamps and put the new background in the correct spot for your shoot. Easy!

That’s Great, but I Don’t Have a Yard!

It’s a nice thing to have friends with yards, you may not be able to look out the window to check the action, but the advantage is that you will have lot’s more options for your bird photography. Your friends or family may have different birds than you, or different habitats, so take advantage of their location.

Bird Photography Gallery from my Friends Yard

I was in Seattle last week and took some time off from  Super Bowl party preparation to photograph the birds in my friend Brenda Berry’s yard. It was great fun and I got in some great bird photography!

Bird Photography Book

I found this bird photography book on Amazon and it fits perfectly with this blog post. Looks like it has some great photography tips and some great advice on bird photography!

 

3 Comments

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  1. Brenda berry

    How foolish do I feel right now? All those beautiful bird shots, taken in my own back yard, in middle of dreary winter, during the superbowl, and I don’t have a single one..? Dang. All i can say is, “Go Hawks!!!!!”

  2. Pretty Pretty Birds with Jeff | Brenda Berry Photography

    […] not been to his website and you like bird and wildlife photography, go have a look right now. Read his recent post about getting some great bird shots in my back yard during the super bowl, where I have managed to […]

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