Tips for shooting backyard birds
Follow our four easy steps to give your bird photography wings
01 Location, location, location
Don’t have a garden? Visit somewhere with bird feeders that are regularly topped up and set against a plain background. If there’s a permanent hide you can shoot from, like this hut, even better. Pick a calm, clear day with little wind – an overcast sky is best for avoiding any exposure issues.
02 Get some great glass
Small, speedy birds are a nightmare to capture without a decent telephoto lens. We used a Nikon 80-400mm f/4 – the longer the zoom you can get, the better for getting great detail. Zoom in as close as you can, as you can always crop in even further in post-production.
03 Switch to A
You won’t have time to adjust settings between shots, so switch your Nikon to aperture-priority (or ‘A’) mode and pick a wide aperture, such as f/5.6, to knock out the background. Your camera will look after the shutter speed. Increase the ISO to something like ISO800 to keep fluttering wings sharp.
04 Perfect composition
If your Nikon’s autofocus is struggling, select single-point AF mode in the Shooting menu and then use the directional buttons to pick the perfect focus point, always aiming to keep your bird’s eye pin-sharp. For a better-looking composition, try positioning your subject off-centre.