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Beginner's Guide to Bird Photography

Lesson 5 of 14

Four Tips for Bird Photography

Ben Knoot

Beginner's Guide to Bird Photography

Ben Knoot

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Lesson Info

5. Four Tips for Bird Photography


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1 Class Introduction Duration:00:25
2 Location Scouting Duration:12:54
3 Gear Duration:07:43
4 Camera Settings Duration:05:54
6 Composition Duration:01:51

Lesson Info

Four Tips for Bird Photography

Here's some traits that make a good bird photographer. Patience, perserverance, research, and understanding animal's behavior. Patience is key. There's been numerous times where I've been out looking for one bird and I've sat there for eight hours before even getting a shot and even sometimes you don't get the shot. It's really, really critical that you have patience and then if that one doesn't work out, the next one. Perserverance, also equally as critical. I've actually been to this spot multiple times, still trying to get the black swift in flight photo. Still gonna come back next year and I'm gonna try cause that's just what you have to do. Sometimes it works out to where you show up birds there, you get your shot, two seconds in you're done. Often times you need that patience and that perseverance. Research comes in really before. So before I even get here, I'm looking at kind of what my habitat is, what I might be able to find there. And usually my research is done through eBird...

. eBird is a really, really great resource for birders and bird photographers to look up what birds are in that area. Once you get to the area and you've done your research, the next part is the behavioral aspect. So, when you get to a pond, I know that there's gonna be ruddy ducks here cause they were on the eBird list. They swim around the edges, they dive down, and then they grab whatever they can at the bottom and then they come back up. So what I do is, I watch just for a little bit and I actually time them when they're down at the bottom, see how long they're down there for, and then right when they dive I count it in my head and I slowly make my way over to where I want to shoot them from. If I can't make it to the spot, I stop, I sit and I just wait for them to pop back up or for them to go down. And then I rush over to the spot and I lay down, get my water-level shot. That way you're approaching the bird when they're underwater. That's really, really important when you're doing duck photography especially, because if you just walk right up to them you're gonna spook 'em. They probably think you're gonna hunt them or eat them. So it's critical that by understanding the behavior, you can get a better photo. Specific seasons are really important as well. So for instance, right now in July it's a little late, but in mid-July all these birds are breeding and nesting, so I know going in I'm gonna be looking for nesting birds and I'm gonna be looking for nesting bird type behavior. So, bringing food bringing food places from far away. Chicks calling, the kind of squeaky high notes. That kind of thing will really help you in your photography.

Class Description


  • Learn the habitat and behaviors of a variety of birds
  • How to make the best light choices based off your subject
  • Turn the ordinary into the extraordinary using color, shadows, and symmetry
  • Fast post-processing techniques to take your images to the highest level


Make the most of your wildlife adventures with Ben Knoot in this beginners guide to bird Photography course. Ben Knoot has a background in environmental policy and education as well as a keen eye and love for birds. He has honed his skill into becoming a professional photographer guiding tours around the world to help enthusiasts understand their cameras and their subjects. In this course- Ben will walk through the importance of researching and understanding your subject and the habitat they dwell in. He’ll discuss how to interact and engage a variety of birds so you have a stronger opportunity to capture them while out. He’ll walk through camera fundamentals, how to set your camera, think about composition and work with a variety of lighting. Ben will even talk through his switch to an Olympus mirrorless camera to help improve his ability to make and craft the artistic images he does.


  • Bird Enthusiasts
  • Beginner Photographers
  • Wildlife Photographers


Adobe Lightroom CC 2019




Ben is a 23-year-old nature photographer originally from California. Before graduating in 2018, he studied Environmental Policy and Environmental Education at Western Washington University in Bellingham Washington State. Ben now leads educational and instructive photography tours and workshops for Tropical Birding Tours; Ben’s goal while guiding is to provide a memorable, exciting and successful experience so that other people can enjoy photographing earths beauty as much as he does. Ben has been published by several organizations including, Natures Best Photography, Audubon, Ranger Rick, NANPA, Wildlife Photo Magazine, and the BBC. His deep love and passion for nature has guided and will continue to guide the way he chooses to live his life, with a sense of wonder and curiosity of all things new and exciting.



I liked this class. It gives beginners a great place to start photographing birds. I especially liked his lesson on post-processing. Too many classes skip that part. The use of bird calls is what it is. To be competitive in bird photography you probably have to use them. I personally won't; it's just not worth it to me. So nice to see a young person active in this field!

Colleen Church

This class is wonderful. Ben give you some very helpful information to starting your photo birding adventures. The apps he suggested are very helpful. The tips for scouting and what to look get you going. I will definitely be watching it again.

a Creativelive Student

I really enjoyed this course. The instructor doesn't beat around the bush. He gives you useful information that you can implement. I especially loved that he talks about apps on your phone that could be used to make your experience more fruitful. The only thing I didn't like was the advertisement for Olympus, but you can just skip that part.