Top tips for photographing birds and wildlife in your garden
Wildlife photography is one of the most exciting things you can do in your garden. If you have the right setup, it can be as easy as sitting in a deck chair with a glass of wine and your camera, shooting whilst you sip. But what is the right set up? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
The camera gear for wildlife photography in your garden
If you want to take your photos to the next level, a DSLR is the only way to go for wildlife photography. Now, you may think that a DSLR comes with a hefty price tag, but it doesn’t have to. You can purchase second-hand equipment and entry-level gear for only a few hundred pounds, and if you are new to wildlife photography, these cameras will grow with you for years. They also provide all of the control you need to get the shots you want.
While having the zoom to get to the birds and wildlife is important, you can achieve this without having to pay a crazy price. A cheap or second-hand 70-300 lens, or macro lens if you want to get down and dirty with the bugs, may be all you need to get great photos in your garden of all the wildlife. There are compromises to be made with cheaper lenses though, you’ll likely not have the best low-light shooting capabilities, and it will be non-stabilised, which brings me onto the next point.
Tripods and Monopods
Stabilisation is vital for wildlife photography. A great tripod or monopod should be used whenever possible. The extra stability allows you to keep the camera steady even if you are excited at seeing your first red squirrel. Plus, in low-light situations, it might just give you a chance of walking away with the photo you have spent all day trying to get.
Tips for taking photos of wildlife in your garden
I’m sure you guessed this tip would be on the list. Patience is vital when it comes to wildlife photography. You may be sat in the same spot for hours and then get seconds to shoot the photo. In these few seconds don’t move around and get excited as you’ll scare off the wildlife and have to start all over again. Just take a few deep breaths and get ready to fire off a lot of shots. This will take practice because it is very exciting to take your first few wildlife photos.
Shoot a lot of photos
All DSLR's have a burst mode, and this is the perfect situation to use it in. Burst mode allows you to hold the shutter button down and take multiple photos at once. Using this mode means you’ll have the best chance of capturing the creature in the few seconds that you have.
Find the right spot
If you can, create a hide in your garden. This could be a tent, a few palettes by a fence, anything that doesn’t alert the birds to your presence. Keeping out of sight and keeping quiet will make a huge difference. Remember, you are trying to observe the wildlife and their natural behaviour, so, even though it’s your garden, it has to feel natural to them. Otherwise, you won’t observe anything.
Remember, the wildlife you want to photograph is typically the most elusive, so, while you wait, practice with the more common species found in your garden so that when you meet the wild barn owl for the first time, you are ready to get the photo.
We hope these wildlife photography tips have been helpful. Why not get out into your garden and give them a try?
- Nikki Boxwild