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.
Photographing Birds From a Boat: A Guide to the Basics
July 08, 2016 — For a whole new perspective, try a trip where you float.
How to Get the Right Exposure for Photographing Birds
July 07, 2016 — Mastering basic DSLR techniques like f-stops and shutter speeds will make your images stand out.
How to Choose Your Equipment
May 12, 2016 — If you’re just getting into bird photography, the first challenge is finding the right gear. Here’s what you need to know.
How to Photograph Birds With a Smartphone
April 21, 2016 — You already own a powerful tool for snapping birds. Here’s how to make the most of it.
5 Pros on Taking Better Bird Photos
April 26, 2015 — Photographers share advice, their most memorable avian shots, and the ones that got away.
Snowy Owl_Paul Bannick
10 Tips for Photographing Birds
January 16, 2014 — A professional photographer, and past Audubon Magazine Photo Awards winner, offers advice for capturing stunning bird shots.
Saline Lakes Are Dying—Scientists Hope This Unusual Shorebird Can Help Save Them
An international team of researchers is conducting fieldwork from Canada to Argentina to help tell the story of the Wilson’s Phalarope, a species in peril whose essential habitats across the hemisphere are at risk from overuse and drought.