Photograph Birds Like a Pro with These 7 Tips on Composition (VIDEO)

Summer is a great time to photograph birds, especially during these days of social distancing, and the quick video below is designed to help everyone improve their results. But rather than discussing gear, focusing methods, or image-editing techniques, the topic of this tutorial is a more basic one: Composition.

Photographer Tim Boyer is renowned for capturing stunning images of our feathered friends, while specializing in the birds of North America. He’s also a graduate of the Seattle Audubon Birder Program, and uses his knowledge of bird behavior to make some really awesome shots.

In this 10-minute tutorial, Boyer shares what he says are seven essential guidelines “you should think about in the field while actually taking pictures.” And as you’ll see, these tips are valid whether your subjects are in the air or on the ground. He provides a helpful summary at the end of the tutorial, and reveals the gear he uses in a description below the video.

Boyer also reveals his exposure settings for each shot, to make the photos easier to emulate. Tip #1 is to forget about the Rule of Thirds, the “Golden Spiral” or any other compositional aid, and simply avoid placing your subject dead center in the frame. He also describes the importance of using empty space as a compositional tool to balance out a scene.

Other tips involves including lines and diagonal elements, as we do in landscape photography, to move a viewer’s eye through the photo, and how to employ perspective to make an image more compelling. You may want to jot down a few notes as you watch the video and learn complete details of these and Boyer’s other guidelines.

You can find more bird photography advice on Boyer’s YouTube channel.