FREE SHIPPING OVER R1000 | Official home of Craghoppers, Topo Designs & Dare2b
Official home of Craghoppers, Topo Designs & Dare2b

Top 5 tips for bird photography from a birding pro

August 20, 2023

By Juan van den Heever

If you ever wanted to get into wildlife photography, birds are the perfect, although not the easiest, subject to learn on. Here is the most obvious reason: birds are everywhere.

Just in South Africa, you will find a large variety of species, with many beautiful ones probably hanging around your backyard. Local birding pro Juan Van den Heever took a minute out of his busy birding schedule to help you out and share a couple of his bird photography tips with fellow Outsiders.

1. Know your subject

Certain birds exhibit certain behavioral patterns that indicate what they will do next. For example, Bee-Eaters tend to fly back to the exact same perch whilst hunting for insects. Knowing this can get you an opportunity for some wonderful in-flight and landing shots. The best way to get acquainted with bird behavior is by studying a field guide such as Roberts or Beat About the Bush: Birds.

2. Exposure

Fast-flying birds, such as Kingfishers or Swifts, require a faster shutter speed to have the entire bird sharp. Increasing your ISO or lowering your F-Stop are two ways to achieve a faster shutter speed. Remember, increasing your ISO could cause noise, and lowering your F-Stop decreases your depth of field, leaving you with less room for error.

Juan conducts environmental impact assessments and specializes in birds. During his off time, he missions to wildlife destinations across the world, photographing as many bird and wildlife species as he can.

3. Know your camera

The better you know your camera, its limitations, and how to work around them, the better the result. For example, a lower-megapixel camera can be cropped less before it loses significant detail, so it might be worth considering a longer lens to get you closer to the subject. This is where the versatility of a zoom lens proves to be extremely helpful!

4. Be hidden

Bird hides are a fantastic way to observe and photograph skittish, shy, and skulking species such as Flufftails and Rails. South Africa is fortunate to have a plethora of game reserves, bird sanctuaries, and national parks that have brilliant hides! Be sure to explore them. Even for a garden setup, a compact mobile hide placed close to a feeder or bird bath can create some amazing opportunities to photograph birds up close!

5. Get in the field

Lastly, and possibly the most important tip. No amount of reading books, watching tutorials, or talking to experts can teach you as much as actually being in the field. Nature is the best classroom. So, get out there, get practicing, and enjoy!

We are sure you cannot wait to go out and put all the tips to practice. Before you do, don’t forget to check our online store for outdoor clothes that are made for such activities out in the field. Our NosiLife range will protect you from unwanted elements like UV light and biting bugs, thus elevating your photographic experience.

Happy birding!

Join The Adventure

Stay updated with all our news, sales and most recent adventures by signing up to our newsletter.

An outdoor and travel goods supply company, offering high quality, sustainable brands
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram