Bird In Flight Photography Crash Course

Want to discover the secrets to amazing bird in flight (BIF) photography? Check out this 18-minute video with my TOP TEN techniques for photographing birds in flight! It’s time to supercharge your BIF game!

In this video, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started – or to get better – at bird in flight photography! From the best shutter speeds and F/stops, to the best backgrounds, what to look for when searching for birds, how to nail takeoff shots, the best autofocus settings, the smartest metering modes, easy tracking techniques and MORE!

This video is jam-packed with solid information – no fluff, just one rapid-fire killer tip after the other! Strap in and enjoy!

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Related Videos (links open in new tab)

Manual With Auto ISO
Nikon Mirrorless Performance Tips
Finding Your Subject With A Long Lens
Long Lens Tripod Technique
Balancing A Gimbal Head
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PS – If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll REALLY like my e-books and video workshops! Thousands of pages and hours of videos filled with tips, tricks, and techniques – all my best content! Check ’em out – click here (hey, it’s free to look).

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TEAM EDELSTAHL
1 year ago

Awesome Steve! Keep up the good work!

Donald Linn
Donald Linn
1 year ago

Steve:
Great tips for bird photography. Thanks.

Hundefotograf
2 years ago

Thanks Steve! Great content as always

Kumar
Kumar
2 years ago

Fantastic video Steve as always ! Is there a technique to be followed when shooting birds in flight from a tripod with gimbal head. I often that a little constraining. Would love to have your advice.

Jeff Schaberg
2 years ago

Good job on the Video Steve. I usually use a single focal point and need to start using the group and 9point more often. Also, my primary lens i the Nikon 200-500 f5.6 so many time I struggle to get enough light for really high shutter speeds, especially at dawn or dusk or in shady areas like the woods where lots of the small birds I like to shoot are. Thanks again for the useful information.

Gary Rather
Gary Rather
2 years ago

Steve
I always enjoy watching your video’s
I especially found “Bird In Flight Photography Crash Course” to be right on
I do shoot Nikon and have been doing this for a long time
With a background shooting motorsports before the wildlife took over

I found myself agreeing with you on technique all the way through
Again thanks for the work you share I always enjoy you videos

John Gilfoyle
John Gilfoyle
2 years ago

always easy to follow and great infomation

rudolf
2 years ago

Just another great video by you! I own all yr books, they are such a great help. You should run for that Academy Award in photo-courses, you’d be #1!

Kris Nagy
Kris Nagy
2 years ago

Steve – I love your new video BIF! Once again, it’s to the point and great refresher before hitting the field. You touched on a few topics I need to brush up on. So…. I’m going back into your “Secrets To Exposer and Metering for Nikon” and also “Secrets to the Nikon Autofocus System” both great and very detailed (but easy to digest) books! If you are reading this post and don’t own them, you need to get them!

Clark Johnson
Clark Johnson
2 years ago

Hi Steve. I guess I’ve been hanging out here long enough that none of this was new, but it was a great refresher. What you didn’t cover was how we could each get one of those 600mm lenses. Do they come with one of your books or something :-)?

Tajinder Singh
Tajinder Singh
2 years ago

Steve – thank you so much for these tips. Your presentation style makes it easier to follow also.

Gina Janelli
Gina Janelli
2 years ago

Excellent tips thanks

Jim Turner
Jim Turner
2 years ago

Steve, I really enjoyed this VERY useful video. Thank you for a really good compilation of BIF tips.

Dan Cogan
Dan Cogan
2 years ago

Invaluable! And well done. Thank you.

Karl Gillard
Karl Gillard
2 years ago

As always, a treasure of helpful information in an easily understandable format. I’ve been shooting Nikons for almost 50-years, but your instructional videos and eBooks have brought my photography skills and keeper rates to new highs. Thank you for what you do to help us become better!

mike
mike
2 years ago

Thanks for all the good tips, I’ll give it a try with both eyes open.

Mike D
Mike D
2 years ago

Great information on BIF and good examples to get the point across to the viewer!!

Harold FEIERTAG
Harold FEIERTAG
2 years ago

Good job, Steve.

Pierre
2 years ago

Excellent video as usual. You also published an excellent Custom control assignment video for Z Cameras. Did you publish a similar one on the same subject for the D5 for your Bird photography assignments? I didn’t find one. Your recommendations are great and even though, I have been in this game for a very long time, I always learn something during your videos and thank you for your efforts.
Pierre

Pierre
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

People should look and try these set-ups, Your videos are a lost easier to digest and understand versus the rough lecture of the Nikon manuals with all the options. To test a set-up and try it out takes a lot of time. If you do make a suggested setting video, I will be happy to listen and try your ideas versus the default menus which are generally the standard ones left by most of us.
Best regards, Pierre

Gary
Gary
2 years ago

Well done Steve!
Certainly a timely subject, I’m sure many wildlife shooters in lockdown around the planet , are starting to think about better wildlife images right now, well, you must be a mind reader, exactly what I needed,
Thank you
Regards,
Gary
………….AU

Mike
2 years ago

Hi Steve, This was the best tutorial on birds that I have seen. You are a master teacher and thankfully have adopted a modern practical approach to teaching. Best Wishes Mike

Sumangala Rajapakse
Sumangala Rajapakse
2 years ago

My Dear Steve Perry – Birds in Flight Photography crash course is of very great importance. Capturing Birdlife Flights is a Rewarding and challenging activity in the fields. On this video your Honor within a short period of time presenting extra-ordinary facts and practical skill techniques in a very attractive way. The Devoted and well concerned on this can easily understand the whole content. Your Honor had done a very great and meritorious work for us. I am a long standing subscriber to your esteemed web site – Back Country Gallery and to the YouTube of the same. Being a… Read more »

Sumangala Rajapakse
Sumangala Rajapakse
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

My Dear Steve Perry – Thank you very much. Warm Regards.

Dennis Fleischman
Dennis Fleischman
2 years ago

Nice Crash Course Steve!! Your workshops and articles are a/of tremendous value! When you handhold pan with a large lens do you keep your left hand close to the camera body or out towards the end of the lens? Some of the conflicts in technique I have are: – If I keep my left elbow next to my physical body for support this draws my left hand closer to the camera body where my lens focusing ring is and I wonder if I sometimes slightly defocus the lens while panning. – If I place my left hand closer to the… Read more »

Dennis Fleischman
Dennis Fleischman
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Thanks for the quick response!

Roberta Olenick
2 years ago

Excellent video, as always. Have several of your e-books and love them. Is there a problem leaving VR on for BIF? You say you don’t need it at such fast shutter speeds, but is there any disadvantage in leaving it on? Ideally I like to leave it on. Otherwise I forget to turn it back on for when I really need it. (I shoot both Canon and Nikon – is there a difference between VR in Nikon and IS on Canon it terms of leaving them on for fast shutter speeds.
Thanks,
Roberta

Shanti
Shanti
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Hi Steve, 1st great vid as always.I leave VR on sport mode, 300 & 500 PF , does this also decrease sharpness on BIF .

Shanti
Shanti
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Ok must remember that.My 300pf is mostly in a long term relationship with the 1.4tc, would that affect focus/VR even more? Thanks your work is so inspiring

Roberta Olenick
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Thanks, Steve. I guess I will either have to work on my memory or stick to really expensive glass. 🙂

Mike Mirsky
Mike Mirsky
2 years ago

Really enjoyed this one as I find photographing birds in flight are very challenging. I posted a link on our club’s Facebook page. BUT, why on earth would you use “in flight” and “crash” in the same sentence? LOL Thanks for posting the video!

Ziggy
Ziggy
2 years ago

Doesn’t the A9 drop to 12 bits in AF-C?

Ziggy
Ziggy
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Thanks Steve.
This blogger found evidence that it does: https://blog.kasson.com/the-last-word/a9-drops-to-12-bit-precision-in-continuous-mode/
Imaging Resource reports this of the A9: “We have also determined that all continuous mode RAW files are 12 bits, whether compressed or uncompressed.”
There’s also a view out there that it’s e-shutter that drops it to 12 bit.
But there’s a Photography Life article showing 14 and 12 bit images, trying and failing to see any difference.

Ziggy
Ziggy
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

There’s nothing about it on the official A9 specs page.
DPReview has this about the A9: 20 fps continuous shooting with full AF (electronic shutter, 12-bit files).
Yes, it could be a Mark 1 v Mark 2 difference.
I’m not sweating on it. The images still have noticeably more sparkle than my D500 produces.

Ziggy
Ziggy
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Yes, I did once get worthwhile shots at 20 fps but all that close scrutiny during culling, ugh.

Harold T Sammons
Harold T Sammons
2 years ago

Great tips, enjoy reading your book on Nikon focusing also. Just getting stared with DSLRs after long hiatus from photography using old Pentax SLR.

William H Davis
William H Davis
2 years ago

Wow! Steve, Thanks for putting this one out there while there is plenty of time to go out and practice. You answered several of my questions. I’m on it!

Andrew Camden-Smith
Andrew Camden-Smith
2 years ago

As always great tips, and as others have mentioned perfect timing!

Andrew Camden-Smith
Andrew Camden-Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

🙂

Arnold Dubin
2 years ago

The was a great video to watch. I have been photographing birds for more than ten years and learn several new things today.

Woody Green
2 years ago

My wife laughs at me when I grumble about getting “a boring blue sky fight picture.”

Francois Petit
2 years ago

Hello steve ! Again, it was abolutely brillant. Every one can see and understand how well you dominate your subject ! the explanations are absolutely brillant, nothing is forgotten( camera ,angle of view,, every thing!). the examples of fotos are completely artistic and outstanding ,and give me examples of how nice the nature can be( wonderful). Steve is doing much more than photography. He shows and demonstrates the essence of life. In a certain way, his work defends the beauty and the spirit of our planet, brings the hided objects to our sight ! much more than a lot of… Read more »

Francois Petit
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Hello steve again ! if my small words takes just a bit justice of what all your stuff brings us!! . its. Ok. i have just corrected one word in my sentences which was wrong: I meaned hided objects not healed of course. you know , my english ist not so good , i am a german teacher, but i can explain what i mean . thanks again for this video ! PS: this is typically the duty of an artist: to bring hided objects in sight for others !. this is exactly what you do ! the french man… Read more »

João Miranda
João Miranda
2 years ago

Hello Steve.
congratulations and thanks for the quality of the knowledge shared.
Best regards
João Miranda

Charlie
Charlie
2 years ago

Perfect timing for this video. Just started doing my spring practice with the sparrows. Totally frustrating but it does make me think and hone my reflexes. Your video as always has great reminders for the essentials to keep in mind. Thanks for your efforts and yes i need to pull out your books and read them at least once a year.

Ralph Bruno
Ralph Bruno
2 years ago

Steve ,
You must of read my mind. I was actually going to email you today or tomorrow about the same topic. Thanks for the info. I have a great deal of respect for your recommendations and it’s good to know that I am on the right tract. I am curious to know why matrix metering is your go to setting and not spot? I know in you book you spend a great deal of time discussing it but when shooting birds in flight wouldn’t spot be better if your are able to keep it on the target?

Ray
Ray
2 years ago

Thanks Steve- again!!! Bought all your stuff.
Marvelous teacher and inspiration.

Joe Schmitt
Joe Schmitt
2 years ago

Excellent information as usual! Thanks Steve!

Gary Haigh
2 years ago

Some great tips as always Steve, hope you and the family are all well by the way?
I agree with everything you suggest but simply can’t get on with “Auto ISO” and birds in flight as I find the camera’s meter is fooled on almost every occasion (Nikon D500).
For this reason alone I don’t touch it for birds in flight where the sky or gaps in tree lines come into play, glad it works for you though buddy.

Gary Haigh
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

I really did try and get along with it, persisted for a few weeks but I now only use it for anything that does not involve sky.
Stay well out there, always nice to to catch your video’s 🙂