Black-throated Sparrow, © Photo by Steve Kaye

6 Ingredients for Bird Photography


6 Ingredients That Make Bird Photography Successful


Black-throated Sparrow, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post, "6 Ingredients for Bird Photography"

Black-throated Sparrow


If you want to take photos of birds, you need these 6 ingredients.

In order of importance, they are:

1) Birds

Obviously, you need birds. So you will need to go to places where you can find birds. And you also want to support programs that protect birds.

2) Habitat

Each bird depends upon a specific type of habitat for its survival. So the key to finding birds is knowing where they live.

3) Weather

For example, you will need bright sun to take photos of flying birds. Then you will want overcast days to take photos of a hummingbird’s gorget. And some birds photograph well in soft light.

Okay, I’ll admit that you can take photos of birds in almost any type of weather (although blizzards, hurricanes, and tornadoes present notable challenges).

4) Patience

Even with perfect birds and perfect light, you will have to wait. This happens because birds don’t wear watches. So they often miss appointments (that is, they fail to show up when you want them to appear).

As a result, you wait. Then you wait. And you wait some more. Eventually, you decide to leave that spot so you can wait somewhere else.

5) Optimism

Certainly, your mental well-being matters, especially after waiting for hours without taking a photo. So you must find something positive in every experience, such as feeling delight that you were able to practice focusing your camera on a branch. After an hour (or two), you may have become quite good at this.

6) Luck

Let’s recognize that a bird’s appearance is a random event that wasn’t supposed to happen. So if a bird, like the Black-throated Sparrow shown above, hops on a rock, that’s pure luck. Neither you nor the bird woke up planning that.

Much success,

Steve Kaye

PS: Find out about one more ingredient at: Grateful for Gifts


Help Birds Tip

Avoid Easter Grass

Please find an alternative to plastic Easter Grass. For example, use crumpled tissue paper or a piece of cloth.

Sadly, birds use Easter Grass to build nests. And then the bird becomes trapped in its nest.


Birding Resources

The American Bird Conservancy works to protect birds so that you can take photos of them. Please visit their web site for valuable info on what they do. See: American Bird Conservancy

Then check their book about bird conservation: Bird Conservation


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4 Comments
  • Susan Bulger
    Posted at 20:34h, 04 April

    I’ve never seen this bird. Where did you shot this photo?

  • Archie McLellan
    Posted at 04:09h, 06 April

    I am constantly amazed and delighted by your photos. So it was good to read your ingredient 5, Optimism, with its reference to mental well-being and delight in an hour of practising focusing on a branch. I don’t know what, if anything, I can do about this for myself, but It’s nice to know what’s involved in making pictures like yours.

  • Steve Kaye
    Posted at 11:07h, 07 April

    Thank you for asking. I took the photo in Joshua Tree National Park, CA, in the Black Rock Campground area.

  • Bob Franz
    Posted at 06:56h, 08 April

    And a seventh important ingredient – passion!

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