Capturing the Best Poses for Bird Photography

Getting a flighty little bird in the frame and snapping a photo is a thrilling experience. Many times it’s not easy. But, if you want to step up your bird photography, there are some particular poses to pay attention to that will make better images.

In this video from bird photographer Duade Paton, he shows that there is a little more to capturing a great image than simply having a bird within the four walls of a photograph. While we can’t control the way a bird moves about, which direction it chooses to perch or fly, as photographers we can be in charge of firing the shutter when appropriate and selecting only the photos that are most engaging.

If this sounds like a big ask when finding a bird at all at the end of a super-telephoto lens is tough enough, you’re not wrong. That’s the wonderful, challenging world of bird photography though. Even if you’re somewhere at the right time with the right light with the right bird, there’s a chance it might not add up to a photo opportunity without the right pose.

It’s important to remember not to get overly hung up on the perfect pose, however. As Paton exemplifies, unique behavior and gestures will steal all the focus and having a proper pose becomes less important. If you happen to capture both at the same time, congratulations on your National Geographic cover image.

For many helpful examples and a deep explanation on bird poses for photography, check out Paton’s full video above.

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3 Comments

Ziggy Stardust's picture

Bird photography has boomed and there are millions of shots of birds on a stick. They are instantly forgettable - though an uncommon species or technical excellence may make some viewers linger a little.
A good shot to quote an old saw has light, composition and moment. That's the Kingfisher with spider here and also maybe the Sharpie.

David Pavlich's picture

Getting a bird, especially a moving bird, in a good position is a good argument for 16 frames per second. :-)

Eric Robinson's picture

Really solid video that makes a number of excellent points on a subject that is not the easiest to get to grips with. Moving beyond the ‘bird on a stick shot’ has not that much to do with gear but rather about time, commitment and technique and knowing something of your subject.

Though to be honest I’m not that sold on the ‘eye contact’ requirement, but I suppose that’s where opinion comes into the mix, though I’ll be watching out for more videos from Duade inI the future.