5 Tips for Beautiful Bird Photographs in Your Backyard (VIDEO)

If you're just getting started with bird photography or want to elevate your skills, this helpful tutorial is just what you need—especially if you don't have a park, nature preserve, or other appropriate location close to home.

This lesson from Darrell Oakden provides five tips for shooting impressive photos of our feathered friends in the comfort of your backyard or garden. After all, most of us are visited daily by variety of attractive birds no matter where we live. And the species tend to change with the seasons throughout the year.

Oakden doesn't make his living as a full-time photographer but the beautiful images he captures belie his amateur status, as do the instructional videos he shares often on his popular YouTube channel. The first thing you should do, if you haven't already done so is set up a couple feeders in your yard that will quickly attract interested (and hungry) subjects.

Oakden provides several tips on bird feeders, their placement, and the best type of feed to use for the birds that are most common in your area. As he explains, "One thing that's very important is to keep your bird feeders clean to avoid the spread of disease. This chore simply requires spraying the feeders weekly with a mild detergent and then doing a thorough rinse with warm water.

Another trick is to hang a small pan under the feeder to catch falling food so it doesn't pile up on the ground and attract squirrels, insects, rodents, and other unwelcome visitors. He also has a helpful tip for keeping bird food dry when it's raining. You also learn how to create bird feeders and stands from fallen branches and logs.

Oakden offers a variety of  interesting techniques for capturing great photos of shy subjects—like shooting through a nearby window in your home or from a simple "blind" in the yard. One of Oakden's favorites is a shed with a small opening for his lens. The point is that it's often necessary to disguise yourself until birds become comfortable with you and your yard.

As the lesson proceeds you'll pick up valuable advice on gear, composition, and appropriate camera settings. One of our favorite tips has to do with capturing interesting poses, relative to prevailing light, as birds go about eating and visiting with their friends.

This is but a taste of the advice Oakden provides, and he illustrates everything with captivating images. If this genre strikes your fancy be sure to visit Oakden's popular YouTube channel for more practical lessons as your skills evolve.

And on a related note, don't miss the tutorial we featured from a South African pro who demonstrates several great techniques for shooting compelling wildlife photographs under a variety of conditions.