3 Quick Tips to Improve Your Bird Photography

June 23rd, 2016

#1 Get Outside Early

The number one thing you can do to improve your bird photography is to make/create your images within two hours after sunrise. The light is the best then, soft and warm yellow tones and the birds are their most active.  If you can’t make it outside that early, you could shoot the two hours before sunset, the birds won’t be as active, and the light will be a little more orange or red tones. Light in photography is so important that this one simple thing can turn a good photograph into a stunning photograph.


A Curved-billed Thrasher at 6:21 AM.

A Curved-billed Thrasher at 6:21 AM. 1/320 of a second, f/5.6 at ISO 400 Canon 5D Mark III and the 600 mm f/4 lens with a 1.4 Extender. The sun is just starting to light up the Thrasher.


#2 Push The ISO

I don’t like Luminance noise or graininess in my images.  But, if I have to I’ll push the ISO up because a grainy image is better then no image and a sharp image is better than a blurry image.  So a sharp grainy image is better than no image too. Also, if you print an image or you post it online, the noise is never as bad as it looks at 100% in Lightroom or Photoshop. Can you tell this was at 3200 ISO?

Male Mountian Bluebird about to jump inot ht enest box and feed a few chicks. ISO 3200

Male Wextern Bluebird about to jump into the nest box and feed a few chicks. 1/1250 of a second, f/7.1 at ISO 3200, Canon 7D Mark II with the 600 mm f/4 lens and a 1.4 Extender.


#3 Get Eye Level

The Point of View is so important, getting eye level makes it easier for the people to connect with the image, you can also manage the background by moving up or down and right or left.

The ground level view of a Mountian Plover.

The ground level view of a Mountain Plover. 1/160 of a second, f/5.6 and ISO 500 Canon 5D Mark III and the 600 mm f/4 lens. I was eye level, but I should have pushed the ISO up some to get a faster Shutter Speed.


These seem like very easy simple tips, but it’s sometimes difficult to get up early enough, it’s hard to change the ISO when you know you’re adding noise, and it can be hard to lay down on the ground to get eye level.  But the results speak for themselves.  Practice these this weekend if you have a chance, and let me know how it goes.


Enjoy!          Thanks As Always        Tim


2 comments on “3 Quick Tips to Improve Your Bird Photography

  1. Deb Weston says:

    I just found this blog and I’m learning so much, thank you. Love the Bluebird picture, but this is a Western Bluebird, not a Mountain Bluebird. Mountain Bluebirds don’t have the orange coloration and their wings and tail are longer.

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