10 Techniques for Photographing Birds in Flight

Birds, in general, are quite a challenging subject to photograph. While they’re relatively “easy” to photograph when perched, it’s a daunting task to photograph birds when they’re flying around. You need to take care of things like shutter speed, backlighting, and focus tracking amongst others. In this video, photographer Steve Perry covers everything that you need to know to get started with photographing birds in flight:

When it comes to photographing birds mid-air, settings play an important role. Birds are fast, so you’ll definitely want to remain at the faster end of your shutter speed. Otherwise, blurry shots are all that you’ll get. Equally important is the aperture setting. Using a deep enough depth of field – you’ll get some leeway even if you slightly miss focus. But again, smaller aperture means less light, and that can force you to use a slower shutter speed. This is where ISO steps in. Perry brilliantly explains in the video how you can work to maintain a balance between these three pillars to get well exposed, sharp, and detailed shots of birds in flight.

Besides exposure and focus settings, another very important aspect that Perry touches on is about finding your shot and making it look the best. He explains how studying the behavior of the birds can drastically improve your chances of getting a good composition. When it comes to composition, pay extra attention to your background. Shooting against the sky can make your work easier, but it’s not always interesting.

There are a lot of other important topics that Perry takes you through in his video. If you’ve been struggling to a sharp image of birds mid-air, we highly recommend that you watch the video all the way through. There are tips that’ll definitely help you take better images of birds in flight.

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