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safari photography

The graceful motion, the wings spread wide, and the total freedom of a bird in flight make for a mesmerizing photo. While most of these sorts of images are a purely lucky shot and are by no means an easy capture no matter how much experience or talent the photographer has under their belt, there are some things that you can do to improve your chances of taking such a shot when you are out on your African wildlife photography safari

Photographing birds in flight is a little like other types of wildlife photography but with a lot more adrenaline. This style of wildlife photography requires a lot of patience, and a lot of technical know-how because your camera needs to be primed for action. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of bird photography, specifically focusing on the techniques and strategies for photographing birds in flight. 

Whether you are a seasoned wildlife photographer or just beginning to explore the world of avian photography, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and practical tips to elevate your bird images to new heights. 

Understand Birds in Flight 

This sounds super complicated but it really is quite easy to get to grips with this tip. Understanding birds in flight will give you a better perspective about their behaviour which in turn will help you to pre-empt its actions. This puts you in a better position to capture the bird as it takes off, as the bird will often show certain signs that it is about to fly away. 

Invest in the Right Equipment 

The right camera and lens is essential to successful bird in flight photography. If this is the sort of hobby that you can really get into, you should buy an appropriate telephoto lens, as most of this sort of photography takes place at quite a distance. You can also think about buying a tripod to support your large lens and camera, as the combination can get heavy. Heavy equipment can cause your arm to shake at the worst moment, resulting in the image being blurry.

Camera settings 

As we mentioned, a heavy telephoto lenses can cause the image to be blurry. But this can be counter balanced if you know how to use your camera settings to your advantage. A fast shutter speed is a must, but with a fast shutter speed comes a darker image, so you need to balance your aperture and your shutter to have an image that is not too dark or too light. You also need to decide if you want to freeze your flying bird or if you want to bring motion into the image, both of which will require you to play with your shutter settings. 

Light Challenges 

Harsh, bright midday sunlight is hard to work with but is sometimes the only light you have. On the other hand, you could be experiencing low light issues, which can be a problem in the early mornings or late afternoons. Both challenges need to be fixed before you line up your shot, because you don’t want to capture that perfect image only to see that it is totally dark or completely blown out. 


When you have mastered the art and you have a stunning bird in flight image in your hands, you need to showcase it. Share it on your social media, submit it to wildlife magazines and to wildlife social media pages, and if it is a really unique shot, you could even sell it online.