The Seven Elements for Better Bird Photography

Want to take better bird images? Here are seven things bird photographers should always be thinking about.

In his latest video in the “Bird Photography Secrets Revealed” series, Jan Wegener talks about seven photographic elements that all bird photographers should be paying attention to. Wegener has a very particular style of bird photography that is quickly recognizable, however he is not recommending these seven elements based on achieving a copy-cat look. This tutorial is much less about dictating exactly how your images should look in the end, and they are more tips on what to think about when trying to capture that winning photo for yourself.

As a beginning bird photographer, there is so much information and so many in-the-field skills to be learned both inside and outside of the photography work itself that is can be overwhelming. Wegener’s insight provides some important beacons to focus on when trying to figure out where to improve your craft next. If you want to get the most from these tips, I would suggest going out to shoot while only keeping one of these elements in mind as the day’s mantra. Then once you learn how to instinctively think about that element over the course of time, switch up your focus to one other one. Eventually these elements will start to come together in the field even when you think you are just focusing on one because it becomes that engrained in your photographic vision. This has always been my personal technique to learn faster and I hope it works for you as well.

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Russell Hunter's picture

Great video. It was refreshing to see that none of the elements must include the latest Sony/Nikon/Canon/Olympus/Fujifilm/Panasonic offering.

jim hughes's picture

Pretty good video, although the value of flash is questionable IMHO.

My own 3 rules:

1. Get close.
2. Find a way to get even closer.
3. You're still not close enough.

Tom Reichner's picture

I would say that for Jan's particular, unique style, flash is quite important; essential, even, in some conditions.

This is because Jan's style is to have flat, even front light on the bird, along with a very bright, high-key background.

Many of us are not trying to create photos that look this way, and therefore we may not use flash, because it does not help us to achieve the more traditionally preferred visual style. But if you are trying to do what Jan does and create images with this unusual look and feel, then there will be many times when the only way you can pull it off is to use flash.