Take Amazing Hummingbird Pictures
You can take great photos of hummingbirds using these tips from readers.
Broad-billed hummingbird by James Orris
Get to know your camera. Play with the settings before the hummingbirds arrive. I know which settings will give me my sharpest image (an ISO of 800 with an f-stop of 8). I also like to use a flash. Sometimes hummingbirds aren't in direct sun, so using a flash might help bring out their beautiful iridescence.
Black-chinned hummingbird by Larry Wilson
Use a tripod. Set it up about 15 feet from a flower that a hummer is likely to visit. Position yourself so you'll be able to get a profile shot of the bird while it's hovering at the blossom. If your camera has a bracketing feature, use it. It will take multiple photos with one click of the shutter to give you your best shot.
Ruby-throated hummingbird by Larry Keller
Use movable flower boxes to your advantage. I have two that I can move to maximize stopping points and get different backgrounds. I also try to have the sun at my back; both sunrise and sunset are ideal times. And I make sure to position myself and my flowers so that my view is clear. Finally, I make note of the flowers and the spots the hummingbirds visit most often so I'll know where they'll be before they get there.
Anna's hummingbird by Vicki Miller
Use water to your advantage. I look forward to spring and summer, when I can put solar fountains in my birdbaths. The Anna's and rufous hummingbirds head for the 6-inch-high water spray as soon as the sun comes up. I grab my camera and stand not too far from the bath, making sure there's a fairly solid background behind my photo. The small bamboo fence I added to disguise my chain-link fence makes for better pictures!
Broad-tailed hummingbird by Connie Blue
Patience, patience! It's easy to hang around my feeder and photograph the traffic, but to me that feels like cheating. I prefer finding a garden filled with colorful flowers and a nice flat rock to sit on. Most hummingbirds are shy, so I try to go solo whenever possible. And keep this in mind: Put the birds' safety, health and happiness ahead of the photos. That way you can feel good about sharing their space.
Rufous hummingbird by Ron Newhouse
Observe from a distance. Hummingbirds take pains to protect their food. They'll often find a perch that gives them a view of the food source and any potential intruders. So locate that protective perch and photograph them there. Also, find a well-protected spot for yourself: Hide behind a post, a hanging plant or even a tree trunk. Keep in mind that natural settings are best, so spend some time among the flowers, too.