BIF Shooting tips

I want to share some tips and setting that works for me during the chance I have to shoot birds of prey in flight;

1.Shutter speed: Cannot stress this further. Set your shutter speed as fast as you can without sacrificing too much ISO. This will allow you to capture tack sharp image of birds flying.

2.Aperture: I try to use between 5.6 and 8 to have enough DoF of bird. This way you can insure the bird in focus including specially the head/eye.

3.ISO: I always capped my ISO to 1600 to 2000 to minimized noise .

4.VR mode, set to OFF: With the fast shutter speed , I don’t need the VR.

5.AF mode: I used the continues AF with 3D tracking mode to ensure subject maintain its focus across the frame.

6.Burst mode: I set the camera to the maximum burst mode it can handle. But do take note that the camera buffer is affected by the speed of you memory card, so check the write speed of the card.

7.I don’t do “spray and pray”. As much as I can, I try to be more selective of the shots. I also try to anticipate the bird next move.

8. Most of all, once out in the field enjoy!!!

Bald eagle

Photo credits: Helgidinson.

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Thank you Lisa-Marie...and welcome to DT.


Great tips and amazing shot!


You're welcome.
Base on my own experience, with VR turned ON at a high shutter speed , say 1/1000 , interferes with AF speed of your lens and does affects your AF tracking mechanism .


Thanks for the tips. I just got a Sony A6000 and am practicing with the same settings you speak of. You mention you turn VR off as it is not needed with a fast shutter... does it affect anything if left on?


Thank you Olena1......


Thank you for clarifying, Helgidinson. It doesn’t matter what is the environment – controlled or wild – because focusing on any bird is difficult so that to take good image. Your pictures are really good. Good luck with shooting!


Thank you.. Olena1
That’s a good question. The lens I used for most of these shots are 70-200/2.8. I must be really close to these creature to shoot at this range…right? Well the truth is , most of the shoots I got here are in a controlled environment, to shoot really upclose.


Very useful tips and very good pictures. Thank you for sharing.
But what is the lens length that you used and how closely were you able to approach the birds? Actually this is not an easy task to capture birds as they are very sensitive to any vibration.


You are very welcome osmar01


Good tips. My little experience. I use auto ISO range with minimum 800ISO maximum 1600ISO. Using Speed Priority 1000-2000s. Traking 3D when possible.
Thanks for the advice.


Thanks hyper biker, I am a noob too in BIF......cheers


Quite useful information for the newbies in BIF photography. Thanks for the advice.


awesome portfolio!! great tips too


BIF photography for a beginner like me has a very low percentage of keepers, so I have to resort to a short burst mode.
My D610 coupled with class 10 SD card gives me a buffer size of 9 frames in RAW (I shoot raw BTW). That sort of my limiter in burst mode for 2 sec, and camera start writing on the card. This way I can keep myself selective when to press the shutter button. Not a big fan of continues “ Spray and pray” method.
In a three hours photo shoot I got almost 700 frames, the best are the ones I post here on D.T.


Good advise, thanks.
I know that using burst is increasing your chance of nailing it. I still not do it usually. I hate to get 20 nearly identical photos (none really good) and then have to decide to delete most of them.
I know this sound stupid. I don't take photos professionally I do it for fun. Spraying is not fun.

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