Bird Photography Hacks with a Smartphone

For all their convenience, connectivity, and image quality, there are some things that even the best smartphones in the business can’t do right. That includes getting great bird shots. But with Sam Hume‘s creative techniques, you might just be able to get away with using your smartphone for bird photography:

Hume uses just a few things you might already have around.


Believe it or not, your handy pair of binoculars can be used to increase the focal length of the built-in camera lens.

bird photography with a smartphone

Use binoculars with a smartphone to shoot bird photos.


The real challenge, however, is in keeping your setup stable while you’re photographing the bird. But don’t worry. There is a way out. This is the blueprint of a cardboard design that Hume came up with to stabilize the lens.

DIY binocular mount, smartphone bird photography

Stacked binocular mount for your smartphone.

For best results though, brace the binocular strap against your neck.

Binder Clips

Smartphones are small, and that makes them discreet. You can set up your smartphone very close to the birds and make images without drawing any attention. But how do you stabilize the phone? There’s a way. A couple of bulldog clips and voila! You have yourself a mini tripod. Set down the whole contraption on any surface and you can control the shutter remotely to make images without startling the birds.

Bird photography using a smartphone

Use a remote trigger to shoot bird photos.

Camera Trigger Apps

There are many apps and remote triggers available that allow you to trigger the smartphone from a distance. These work through Wi-Fi. Hume used an app called Wi-Fi Camera. But there are many others like it out there.

Clip on Lenses

Another technique that Hume uses involves a macro clip on lens. This is the ultimate when you want to get extremely close to the birds.

clip-on micro lens, bird photography

Hume used a clip-on micro lens to get close to the action

You also need some extra something to attract the birds—food.

Hume was lucky in this case because the Rainbow Lorikeet is an extremely bold bird.

Do you have any tricks for getting great wildlife photos with a smartphone? Let us know!

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