Photograph hummingbirds

'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' by Kevin Eddy
‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ by Kevin Eddy

Hummingbirds are definitely difficult to shoot as anybody who tried will confirm. They move fast, they’re small and somewhat shy. But they are quite nice to see in a picture (and in the wild), and they are specially spectacular if they are caught in mid-flight. This is sometimes seen as a kind of Graal for the bird photographer.

But to reach that, you need to deploy a number of photography techniques that could be used on any other bird (possibly larger, slower, less shy). So, it becomes useful for the bird/wildlife photographer to stop and read some of the articles I found recently.

First, “The Incredible Beauty of Hummingbirds in Flight” will give you a good idea of what can be done and good examples of nice in-flight hummingbird photos. You could well take example on the framing and situations.

Of course, you can also do a search on Flickr to find other examples. One such search led me to the impressive image on the left (from Kevin Eddy).

Then, it’s time to take a real lesson from the pros at Digital Photography School: “How to Photograph Hummingbirds.” Steve Berardi, naturalist, photographer, and computer scientist will teach you the basic lessons:

  • Know your subject
  • Be patient
  • Use continuous focusing on your camera
  • Use a fast shutter speed
  • Take lots of photographs

As you can see, all these could be applied with only slight adaptations to all species of birds and -probably- most wild life photography (not only hummingbirds).