Capture Great Birds-in-Flight Photos with These Tips, Tricks & Techniques (VIDEO)

One of the great things about photographing birds, especially during these days of relative isolation, is that you needn’t travel far to capture amazing images. In fact, with the proper skills, you can often shoot spectacular photos in your own backyard.

Phil Gower is a British amateur photographer, but a quick glance at his stunning imagery belies his hobbyist status. There’s still a national lockdown in the UK where he lives, so Gower knows a bit about photographing our feathered friends, without traveling to do so.

One of the most challenging aspects of this type of photography is consistently capturing great shots of birds while in flight. Some species fly faster than others, but it can be difficult to hold focus, maintain proper exposure, and concentrate on composition, regardless of how fast your subjects are moving.

Gower says, “Capturing a great bird-in-flight images can be one of the most satisfying feelings in photography.” In this 20-minute tutorial he shares his secrets to success, with a variety of helpful tips, tricks, and techniques. Gower’s advice involves what he calls the “six Ss”—Settings, Skill, Setup, Study, Style, and Story.

To that end Gower begins with what he considers the best camera settings for both DSLR and mirrorless cameras. These include focus and drive modes, noting that he prefers to use the smallest focus area that accomplishes the task at hand. He also recommends using the focus limiter on your lens (if it has one) as long as your subject remains within a predictable range.

Gower’s explanations of the other five key considerations are just as concise and easy to follow, but you may want to jot down a few notes and keep them handy for reference. These techniques require a bit of practice, but they’ll soon become second nature, resulting in better photos of birds in flight than you ever thought possible.

After watching this helpful tutorial, head over to Gower’s YouTube Channel for much more on photographing birds.