Watch your Background

This is the first post in a series I’m doing called, How to Improve your bird photos.
This series will provide basic tips on how to improve your bird images.


You’re telling the story

When you drop the shutter you have just started to write the first paragraph of a story.
This story is about what got your attention and what motivated you to take the shot in the first place.
In almost every case when it comes to photographing birds, the bird is the star of the show.
As such your bird should be on show in all it’s glory and nothing else in your photo should overwhelm or compete with your star.


Painting with Light

Photography basically means painting with light and there are a few rules of how the human eye reacts to light.
Firstly when looking at someone’s image the human eye is automatically attracted to the brightest part of the image overriding or bypassing all objects or lesser light values in the race to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Below is an example of how if your main subject is close to a much brighter patch of light, that light overwhelms and makes it hard to see detail in your subject.

In this case, the entire background is overwhelming my bird making it much harder for our eyes to comfortably rest on it and see the fine detail.


First appearances count, make it easy

That first and instantaneous appearance is important and if the attention of the viewer is immediately drawn away from your bird, they may not be bothered putting in the extra effort of shifting their focus back on to your main subject.
You must not muddy your story, you must make it as easy as possible for your viewer, guiding them immediately to the star of the show.


Watch your background

In this second image, I have looked closely at my background and choosen an area on the pond with a more suitable background.
I choose a background that not only won’t compete with my bird but has colours that actually enhance and complement my handsome bird. I simply positioned my self in the right spot and waited for my bird to drift past.

Being thoughtful and the patient, choosing your background can do better justice to your subject and increase the admiration in your viewers as your star stands out in all their glory.

I run workshops on the Kapiti Coast specialising in bird photography and if you’re interested in a workshop to help you improve your bird photography  I  do 4-hour workshops 1 on 1 or a small group up to 4 people.

Contact me HERE  or pm me on facebook

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