Bird Photography Tips and How-Tos

Photographing birds is both challenging and rewarding.

For starters, they like to move around a lot. What's more, birds aren't always in the most convenient of locations—out on a lake, high up in a tree, across a field. But these factors are also what make getting that perfect image so satisfying. From basic techniques to advanced skills and ethical considerations, here’s how to get started photographing birds—or to up your game.

Skills and Techniques

Whether you're getting started or looking to expand your approach, check out these tips and how-tos.  

Bird Photography Basics
Advanced Skills and Techniques
How to Snap Amazing Photos of Birds Under the Water
How to Snap Amazing Photos of Birds Under the Water

Birds dive, swim, and wade—and so can you with the proper gear. The winner of the 2020 Audubon Photography Award explains how to expand your wildlife photography this summer.

Bird Photography Ethics
Is Flash Photography Safe for Owls?
Is Flash Photography Safe for Owls?

Their big, round eyes make them alluring subjects, but impairing an owl's vision, even briefly, might have negative consequences.

More Photography Advice

Beyond the Basics
Learn to Photograph Leks From an Expert
Learn to Photograph Leks From an Expert

The springtime dance battles of grouse and other species are irresistible camera fodder. Photographer Noppadol Paothong explains how to nail your shot without disturbing the delicate mating ritual.

Shorebird Photography
Raptor Photography
More Duck Photography Tips
Behind the Shot
Learn from other photographers.

All Tips and How-Tos

Remember that Audubon depends on your support to do the conservation work that we do.
Use Blur to Paint With Birds—and Other Creative Avian Photography Strategies
December 19, 2019 — In low light conditions, you can get experimental with your methods to yield fascinating shots.
Tips for Taking Great Bird Photos From the Comfort of Your Car
February 07, 2019 — Photographer Diana Whiting has found birds are surprisingly acclimated to vehicles. Here she provides pointers on shooting from the front seat.
Six Tips for Photographing Birds from Boats
June 05, 2018 — For stunning shots of alcids and other ocean-loving species, get in their element.
Five Hotspots for Photographing Bald Eagles
January 05, 2018 — The pros tell us about their favorite places to shoot Baldies.
The Dos and Don’ts of Editing Bird Photos
November 27, 2017 — End up with the best image possible—without compromising its integrity.
How to Take the Best Duck Photos
October 20, 2017 — Some simple tips for capturing compelling images of these special birds.
Dancing Beak to Beak: Tips for Photographing Avian Courtship
April 14, 2017 — Romantic avian rituals are as alluring for photographers as they are for birds. Here's what to watch for so that you can capture the moment.
Here's How to Prepare for a Bird Photography Trip
April 07, 2017 — To capture truly great shots, you need to go where the birds are. Follow these tips to make sure your excursion pays off.
How to Compose the Perfect Bird Photo
March 17, 2017 — Follow these three simple tips to capture the best shot possible.
How to Use Lighting and Angles to Take Better Bird Photos
August 08, 2016 — Great light and the right perspective can really turn your shot around.
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