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The Art of Photographing Birds

Lesson 19 of 22

Birds as Designs

Frans Lanting

The Art of Photographing Birds

Frans Lanting

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Lesson Info

19. Birds as Designs
Continuing the dive beyond the obvious bird photo, learn how to spot the designs created by birds. Develop an eye for bird patterns, using close-ups and beyond.

Lesson Info

Birds as Designs

can you When you think back to when we started, how many different ways have already shared with you, in which you can photograph birds that goes beyond the obvious? Well, here's some new things for you. Let's look at bird designs. This is a photograph of a to con flying in front of a waterfall, a big water full in Brazil now that to con is quite distant. And, ah, so it qualifies as a bird in a landscape right now. Do you know about this? How people is sometimes refer to two counts as crows pushing a banana, so but that's in as in the sight. This is one way to show a to come. This is another way. This is a conventional portrait. I'm very happy that this there's a little bit of flash fill that illuminates to face better, but I imagine that many of you are looking at this bird that your eyes are going towards the face. So this is a logical next step right on as a portrait that we can go foot or still. We've looked at this image before, cause it's really the title slight for the whole cou...

rse, and when you could do this, you enter into this other room now. I did not make this portrait of that to come of Oliver's flying or sitting freely. I made this in a bird park, and I would just like to emphasize that there are all kinds of opportunities. If you want to practice this kind of bird photography, that in any metropolitan area you're going to find opportunities no matter where you go to a zoo, to a bird parked or to a bird rehab center. And I love doing this kind of photography. This actually verse the flu, much of a blue goose, which is a variety of the snow goose that had died in another wildlife refuge years ago. And I was able to do this close up of the wing pattern for this image. I went into a museum in San Francisco, but I had specimens of birds of paradise. I've gotten permission to work with staff there, and the rest of the bird is not visible. It's just a pattern of a plume. It and it became a photo essay about bird feathers. This is a an Asian pheasant, extraordinary birds, and then I went to other places cause I got hooked on the patterns of birds. This is a private egg collection. This man amassed quite a few of them, and that led to another exploration of the designs of Bird X Young. This is where I laid him out myself. You know, these are arrangements and it led me to do this of the different species of birds, the great variety and sizes and shapes and colors, you know, bird exposed against a backdrop of black velvet. So endless opportunities. Now you need access to specialized collections. But, you know, if you really want to do this, I'm sure you can find a way just like I was able to do that.

Class Description


  • Photograph birds in a variety of scenarios

  • Understand bird behavior to get closer to birds

  • Build the ideal gar kit for photographing birds

  • Set the proper shutter speed, aperture, and ISO for birds

  • Know where to find birds to photograph

  • Capture birds in different types of light

  • Develop a better eye for bird photography


Love birds, but can't quite capture their colorful personality on camera? Join nature photographer Frans Lanting on a journey in start-to-finish bird photography. Master photography basics for photographing birds, from the best camera settings to tactics for getting up close and personal to different bird species.

With a mix of on-site shooting and in-class lectures, learn the ins and outs of bird photography. Build the skills to operate a camera and long lens as well as an understanding of basic bird behavior. Learn to capture more than the boring, obvious photo and dive into categories like bird portraiture, flying birds, flocks of birds, and detailed close-ups for your best bird photos yet.

Whether you are a beginner or intermediate bird photographer, craft better photos of birds with tips and insight from a National Geographic photographer with three decades of experience capturing wildlife across the globe.


  • Beginners new to bird photography

  • Intermediate bird photographers

  • Experienced photographers new to capturing birds

  • Beginner wildlife photographers


Frans Lanting has spent more than three decades traveling the world capturing nature and wildlife. For the wildlife photographer, birds often capture his attention, from penguins and endangered species to birds common to North America. Frans worked as a photographer-in-residence with National Geographic, a position that opened rare opportunities for photographing little known species. His nature photography has also appeared in his own books and exhibitions. Born in the Netherlands, he moved to the U.S. to study environmental planning before embarking on his photography career.

Ratings and Reviews

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Carl Bergstrom

I was privileged to be in the studio audience for Frans Lanting's Art of Photographing Birds course, and it was amazing. The morning was a perfectly pitched lesson on the technical aspects of bird photography, intermixed with Frans's own photographs and excellent videos of him working in the field. The afternoon focused more on bird behavior, composition, and artistry, and was even more delightful. If you know Lanting's photography you already know about his ability to find unusual perspectives on the world. What really shone through in the class was his love for wildlife and especially for birds. His knowledge of natural history is as amazing as his photography, and I loved the message that to take great photographs of birds, one needs to understand them and their behaviors. I've admired Lanting as a photographer for decades. Today I learned that he is an equally talented teacher. I'll be purchasing all of his CreativeLive courses. Thank you, Carl Bergstrom

Marie Gessle

Amazing class! Mr Lanting is charming and full of knowledge about birds and of course photography. In every moment of this course you can see his great passion and love for these flying creatures. The course is full of tips for photographers who want to start capturing moments of birds life. Awesome!!!

André Audet

Great class, very inspiring. Packed with great tips and beautiful imagery. Frans is a great instructor. I enjoyed watching this class a lot, and will watch it again!