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Feathers in Focus: A Beginner's Guide to Avian Photography

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Writing and Photography by Nick Teague

How do I Start?

One of the first questions you should ask yourself before you leap into bird photography is whether you intend to use it to document the birds you find, or to use them in an expression of art. This will define your approach to photography, and determine your level of dedication in taking certain images!

What do I Need?

The biggest myth you will hear when starting in bird photography is that you need expensive gear to take great photos. However, fantastic images can be created with almost any gear. Instead, the most important part is being creative with your images, and learning about your subject!

How Can I Improve my Photography?

As you embark on the journey into bird photography, you will discover an immense amount of resources, both online and off. Whether they are YouTube videos, forums, books, or advice from so-called ‘professionals’, you may be tempted to follow every piece of advice you receive. However, to stand out from every other photographer interested in wildlife, you have to be able to come up with your own ideas.

While learning the basics of bird photography is valuable, the most effective way to evolve your photos is often to experiment with new processes in the field!

How Can I Learn More About my Subject?

One of the best ways to get up close and personal with your subject is to learn about its behavior. This can be done by using websites such as eBird, Audubon Society, or National Wildlife Federation websites. This can also be done in person by observing birds through binoculars or scopes. Learning about your subject’s behavior and habitat can allow you to know where to find it, as well as how to get close to it.

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