Tips for Taking Beautiful Hummingbird Photos
Did you know that hummingbirds got their names from the humming sound their wings make? It is because they flap very fast. This fast movement is one of the things that makes photographing hummingbirds difficult.
In this article, we have collected tips to take great hummingbird photography shots.
Where Do You Find Hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds live all across the American continent. They are migratory birds and fly to warmer areas in winter. But they do not ever leave the continent.
The first step is to research what species live near you and when they migrate. They are most common in Central and South America, but you can also find them in Canada and Alaska.
Lucky for photographers, hummingbirds eat a lot. Thanks to this, you can frequently find them around flowers.
You can meet hummingbirds throughout the day. But they are the most active around dawn and then later at dusk.
How to Attract a Hummingbird
As they fly fast, it is going to be difficult to take good photos of them. But if you know how to attract them to your garden, it will be easier.
It is no coincidence that in most images, you see hummingbirds around flowers. They are pollinators, so having flowers in your garden will increase your chances of a visit. It is their great colour vision that helps find flowers. Different species prefer different colours, but you cannot go wrong with orange, yellow, or red.
Another great attraction is a hummingbird feeder. Choose one that is red or orange. But do not use any paint to colour the nectar itself! It may harm the birds.
What is the Best Lens For Hummingbird Photography?
As you will not get close enough to your subjects, you will need a telephoto or a super-telephoto lens. As an alternative, you can also stack up extension tubes to increase focal length.
Note that your lens aperture has to keep up with a fast shutter speed. This is necessary for good image quality. The wider the maximum aperture is, the better, as it can let in more light.
Pay attention to the quality of the glass rather than the focal length. And let’s not forget that you need lens image stabilisation to avoid taking blurry photos.
Freeze Motion With Flash
If you want to use flash, you will need more setup. One will not be enough to illuminate the birds, and you will need to brighten the background too.
Flash makes the birds’ feathers sparkle, which is a nice touch to your shots.
There are two things to bear in mind when using flash to photograph hummingbirds.
First, you are going to be far from the subject and use a telephoto lens. Like this, you cannot predict where to put the flashes unless you use them on your hot shoe. This is why flash works better when you have a bird feeder. It is more predictable than having many flowers around and hoping they will fly to the one you are watching.