10 Tips for taking great Bird Photos

Hi Everybody, Nick here.

Firstly congratulations to our winners of the first Enhancing the Halo photo competition.

Tracey Bates has won a photography workshop with Wellington photographer extrodinaire Simon Woolf at Ohariu Farm. This was her winning picture.

Winner Halo Photo 2

And Amelia Mazur has won the fantastic Nikon camera and telephoto lens from the Morgan Foundation and Nikon NZ, for this great shot.Winner of Halo Photo 1

Also a huge thank you to all the people who entered and the brilliant photos you all sent in. I can assure you that there will be another competition coming your way soon. So just keep snapping and to help you get the best images, here is some words of wisdom from Wellington’s master of photography Mr Simon Woolf.

Thanks Nick and hullo everyone.

Ok here we go. Tips for a Bird Photographer.

1. It is what’s 6inches (10centremetres) behind the camera which counts!

2. Know the bird and understand it’s habits really helps. If you know where a bird might be before it gets there, you are half way there!

3. Shutter speed is important. To freeze a bird and capture it still, you need at least 1/250th second.

4. Neutral clothing is good. Bright primary colours tend to frighten birds more easily.

5. Patience is a good thing to have!

6. The best lense length for a beginner is  an 18 -250mm zoom. It gives a great range of options.

7. Understanding a birds calls, definitely helps you identify what type of bird you are dealing with, and where the bird may be.

8. Be aware of your own surroundings, and be aware you are in the birds territory and space. Some birds, at specific times can be a danger to you, if you don’t give them space!  Some birds are also not frightened of you, while on the other hand you can invade birds space, and cause them harm. This is especially important to understand when birds are breeding. You do not want to damage a nest or young birds. Bird Photographers need to respect that birds are wildlife, and deserve good space.

9. Quite often if you give wildlife space, show understanding, and awareness they will come to you, as they often don’t feel threatened .

10. Stealth is good! That way you dont frighten the bird, and often it means if you are very quiet and stealthy you don’t need to buy big long and expensive lenses!

Hope it all works. Have a good one. regards


Simon Woolf