Create Better Bird Photographs Near the Water With These Smart Tips

As I’ve started spiraling down the wonderfully challenging path of bird photography, it’s become apparent that there’s a lack of well-made resources to get a jump start on it. Given it’s a small genre with a lot of competitiveness in earning money with limited avenues to sell work, I can understand that. However, I’m always happy to find someone with high-caliber work share their time-earned insights into the craft. In this video, Steve Perry breaks down 10 great tips on photographing birds while on the shoreline.

The tips and tricks mentioned in this video range from finding the best photo compositions and what to avoid, setting up the camera for the highest technical image quality, and much more. Seriously, this video is 16 minutes long and the information flowing from Perry does not let up for a second.

One fundamental that Perry teaches here and will change the way I’ll shoot in the future is to have a high shutter speed as the default, dropping it only momentarily when you see the bird will be still, then getting back to “action mode” so you’re ready for what could happen next. As with any good fundamental, it sounds obvious when it’s written out, but before I’d have two or three registered modes on my camera for high and low shutter speeds and use them based on what’s currently happening. This of course led to many times where I wasn’t ready for the action and missed some potentially great shots.

Please share any bonus tips with us in the comments below.

[via Steve Perry]

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3 Comments

Gabrielle Colton's picture

I love how he used the waves, that technique brought so much more life! Great tips I'll have to remember these, I love photographing blue harons

Steve does a great job teaching/sharing about wildlife shooting. His images are fantastic.

jean pierre (pete) guaron's picture

You must have more courage than I do, Steve - your recipe for good shots is how I do photos of dogs, but I'm a but reluctant to take a thousand dollar tripod, a 5 grand camera and a 15 grand telephoto lens for a swim.

I've always regarded bird photography as one of the last great frontiers - cellphone owners, eat your hearts out - you just ain't doin' this stuff! But I have to content myself with admiring the work of the people who do it. And paddle on doing my own stuff to keep myself amused, in between seeing postings like this.

One thing I have noticed - usually but not always - in the early morning the sea is calmer. I don't think I'd even consider imitating you in the golden hour of late afternoon, the waves are usually quite a bit higher and more boisterous. But in the early morning you often get a sea almost like a mill pond, for quite a while.