Want Sharper Bird Photos? Use these 5 Easy Pro Tips (VIDEO)

Last week we featured a very popular tutorial, explaining several reasons why landscape photos may be unsharp, with a foolproof technique for solving the problems. Today's lesson takes a similar approach with regard to capturing crisp images of birds.

Instructor Valerie Misa is a very adept wildlife and landscape photographer who regularly posts helpful lessons explaining the secrets to her stunning outdoor imagery. In this episode she answers a common question: "What can we do to take the sharpest photos possible with whatever gear we have?"

For this demonstration Misa is using a Canon EOS R5 full-frame mirrorless camera and the premium Canon RF 100-500mm telephoto zoom lens, along with Canon's RF 1.4X extender. But as you'll see, it's not necessary to own high-end professional gear to take advantage of the tips she provides.

While watching Misa demonstrate five straightforward techniques for sharp images of birds, keep in mind that the techniques she reveals are equally valuable for capturing images of other animals in the field. She begins with a thoughtful discussion of how the quality and quantity of light in a scene impacts the performance of a camera's autofocus system and determines the specific approach you take for capturing the shot.

Misa then moves on to important camera settings, beginning with a few tips for choosing an appropriate shutter speed, whether your subject is stationary or your goal is to freeze motion of birds in action. As she explains, "too slow a shutter speed and you risk a blurry image, while too fast a shutter speed with insufficient light means you'll have to ramp up ISO and open up the aperture"—thereby sacrificing image quality and depth of field.

Next is a closer look at how the f/stop you choose has a big impact on the sharpness of a photo. Here she covers two key aspects worthy of attention: the aforementioned depth of field issue, along with considerations for overall frame sharpness. She also explains the importance of understanding which aperture of your lens is sharpest at different focal lengths.

Other key topics covered in this very helpful lesson include how in-body image-stabilization works, the difference between various autofocus settings, and several other random factors that impact whether or not you achieve fast and precise focus. After watching the video head over to Misa's instructional YouTube channel where you'll find more great tips for better wildlife and landscape photography.

We also encourage you to watch the tutorial mentioned above, explaining why your landscape photos may be unsharp, with a foolproof pro technique for solving these problems.