Learn Digital Photography – Photographing Garden Birds for Beginners

The great thing about photographing garden birds is that it’s much easier than going out to a reserve or park and therefore much simpler for beginners. When starting out with bird photography you want to minimise expensive equipment until you know that you enjoy it and are capable enough to pursue it.

Bird photography at home can be as simple as sitting in a lounge chair and firing away until you get your shot. I say can, but really you will get as much out of your photography as you put into it. So careful planning is going to go a long way to getting those beautiful shots even if it is in your own garden. Here are the basics of getting into garden bird photography.

1. Attract the birds

If there is one task you need to perform successfully with this genre of photography then its attracting birds. If you have a garden that is bird friendly, then you are away and ready to start. This is where good research begins. Either buy a local guide to garden photography, find someone else doing it from a local bird club or use the internet to locate some of the great websites dedicated to this genre. You need to understand what type of food they like and where they like to hang out together. This means going further than putting out their favourite food by planting the vegetation they like and even growing the food they seek out. Another tip here is to grow the vegetation near to where you will be shooting from. Create a dedicated area in your garden or outside a window.

2. Establish your location

Now this can be as simple as shooting from a window in your home to building a purpose-built hide somewhere in your garden near to all the best perches and food. It’s up to you as to how much effort you put into it. I have found that for people starting out a simple location is a bedroom or living room window looking onto a garden with plenty foliage and vegetation. This is a place where there is good potential with great lighting and places to perch.

3. Create the setting

This step is vital because you want the place where the birds will perch to be as close to the window or hide are setting up as possible. In this area ensure that there are places high enough for the bird perch and survey its surroundings for danger. Add an intermediate perch before the food source and have the food source at a reasonable height in order to shoot your images. Light is important as the better the lighting the less artificial light you’ll need and of course using a flash will disturb them. Be very aware of your backgrounds as these will make or break your final image. Getting the set up right is a large part of the final image.

4. Create the hide

As I said this is as simple as a bedroom or lounge or as complex as a purpose-built hide. To begin with I suggest using a room in the house. The glass forms a natural barrier and allows you shoot freely most times as the reflection hides you from the birds. Just make sure that the glass has been cleaned on both sides so that you don’t have dirty or blurry images. Inside the hide make sure that you have a comfy chair because you will probably have to wait a while until you know what the feeding and perching patterns are. Whatever happens you’ll need a fair amount of patience. Remember that when you move around inside to do it slowly because the birds might not see you clearly but will react to flashes of movement. Turn any lights off and close any other curtains to limit the light inside the room.

5. Set up your equipment

Of course in this situation you aren’t really limited by your equipment because most cameras will shoot reasonable images because you are close to the birds. What I mean by this is that the lenses won’t necessarily need to have huge focal lengths. Even most bridge or prosumer cameras will have sufficient focal length. Compacts may be a little wanting even in this situation. Remember you are trying this out to see if you can do it or even enjoy it. Whatever your equipment a tripod is essential and if possible a cable release or your shutter set to timed release of 2 to 10 seconds in order to minismise camera shake. Then another vital action to ensure success is pre-focus your camera, using the manual focus setting, on a well-used perch or branch, the bird feeder or feeding platform you have set up. This increases the chance of getting your shot instead of focusing wherever a bird lands and hoping for the best. Again, planning is a big part of a successful bird image.

6. Keep shooting

Don’t wait for the perfect shot just shoot as much as you can. Key at this stage is to get as many good shoots as possible. You can always crop the image later because you want good clear photos of the birds. If you focus on the perfect composition the chance of get good images will reduce. Remember that this is the beginning of you bird photography journey and there is lots of time to improve. There’s an old saying that says ‘nothing breeds success like success’. You need to be getting the shots to keep you motivated.

These are some simple steps to get you going and not turn you into a top bird photographer. They are some keys to getting into bird photography the easiest and simplest possible way. The bottom line is to have fun and continue having fun. I can assure you that when you start getting those great images you will not stop so make sure your bank balance is full because the expense starts here. Happy shooting!

Some Photography Tips for Beginners

Photography may seem to involve highly complex and technical details but you cannot deny that some of the best photographs that have won international awards are those that are spontaneously ‘clicked in the moment’ bringing out the essence of the subject and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Of course, it helps to have the latest equipment and accessories in hand, but all that you require is that moment before each shot when your thought flow is in sync with the image you are capturing.

There are no doubt many guides and animated tutorials that can take you through the entire process; in general there are a few useful tips to keep in mind that can make an ordinary photograph a better one. Here, it should be understand that these tips are suitable mostly for beginners and non-technical camera people who like to take pictures to keep a travelogue or record images of vacations, family occasions and trips etc.

The basic premise of shooting photographs is to:

• Preserve pleasant memories of travels and vacations,
• Compile albums of family, friends, colleagues and pets,
• Get that adrenaline rushing through on seeing a well-taken photograph, and
• Just enjoy the feel of the camera in hand.

1. The first and foremost tip is to ‘be as close to the subject as possible’: often we see a photograph of a sunset which is the original intended subject, but because the distance was too much or the reach of the camera was too far, other objects appear in the frame that were not intended to be there. Finer details are more important as compared to overall views and the subject of the photograph must fill the frame as much as possible.

2. Speed and ‘quick to the draw’: “Shoot first ask questions later” is an oft repeated motto. That applies very well to photographing live subjects. Children, pets, wildlife and many others can get fidgety and dart around or not be interested in posing for that “perfect shot”. Sometimes candid shots like a laughing, pouting, somersaulting child or a leaping pet make beautiful memories and the best tip for someone choosing to shoot photographs in situations like these is always being ready and prepared to click at a moment’s notice.

3. Get the composition right: Nothing is more balanced than a picture in which all the elements are in place. Composition involves following the eye along the lines and contours of the subject and background, keeping a level horizon and taking out the extra elements that can skew the balance and symmetry.

4. Being selective: it may not always be possible to get the best shot in terms of symmetry and focus; in which case, the best option is to use the main subject as the pivot in the picture and blur out anything from the frame that doesn’t need to be there.

5. Focus and depth-of-field: some basic knowledge about different apertures helps to get good results. For example, pictures of people, children and pets stand out clearly against a blurred background using smaller depth-of-field whereas landscapes and outdoors turn out better when greater depth-of-field puts everything from the closest tree to the farthest one in the frame focused clearly.

6. Shutter Speed: Shutter speeds help take photographs of moving subjects by helping slow down time or catch split-second motions.

7. Be aware of the light conditions – direct or blazing light go well if bold colors and subject are in sync, indirect or subdued light provide soft and warm glows, side lights give silhouettes and provide dramatic relief.

8. The weather plays an important role: deep blue skies puffed with white fluffy clouds are always a delight as the colors turn out perfectly, so do rainy days in a black and white detail.

9. Keeping camera settings simple: If you are shooting mostly outdoors, tweak settings and keep them as simple as possible. Here’s where semi-automatic programs that allow aperture control and shooting.

10. Be bold and experimental: photography guides can only teach you so many things. Being imaginative, creative and playing around often brings more joy than just shooting perfect pictures.

Headshots – 5 Things You Must Consider Before Getting Your Headshots Taken

If you are looking to have a great career in acting, you must first have a great photo. Use the following tips to help you get a great shot.

1. Choose A Photographer Based On Your Comfort Level With Them.Pick a photographer that makes you feel comfortable. You should feel at ease with your photographer. If you don’t, you won’t trust their expertise and directions. And your uneasiness will show up in your pictures. A good photographer will work to make sure that you shine and are comfortable throughout the entire process.

2. Get Your Shots Done By A Professional. Do not let your friends take your headshot. While your friend may mean well, unless they are an experienced photographer, they won’t understand all the factors that need to be captured to present you at your best. An experienced photographer has heard input from many actors, agents, and casting directors throughout their many years of shooting. They can use this knowledge to capture what agents and casting directors are looking for. Can the same be said of your friend?

3. Have Your Make Done. That Includes Men. Actor headshots look better in makeup including men headshots. NYC casting directors seem to prefer color photos. Photos done in color reveal more imperfections than black and white photos. It is important to make sure the makeup only enhances your natural features and does not change you into someone that represents a part that you’ll never go out for. Choose natural makeup over glamorous makeup, and you’ll go a long way in getting a great photo. Your picture must look like you.

4. Know What To Wear. Consider the parts you will be up for. Your photo should be representative of the parts you are more likely to go audition for. Your first impression is made with your picture. So make sure it represents your range accurately. Also consider doing multiple looks within one session. This will ensure that you will be well prepared to compete for a multitude of parts.

5. Know Yourself. The day of your photo shoot is not the day to test a new hair style, or skincare product. Try to keep your routine as regular as possible to avoid potential complications on the day of your shoot. If you are considering trying something different, give yourself ample time to recover just in case your experiment doesn’t go well.

There are many other factors that go into making a great picture but those are enough to get you started.