Bird photography tips: how to shoot pin-sharp pictures of birds of prey

How to photograph through a fence

In the last section of our tutorial on improving pictures of birds of prey, we offer one of the simplest and most widely used bird photography tips of them all: how to photograph through a fence and make the wires disappear.

How to photograph through a fence

If you dream of one day getting out in the great outdoors and photographing wildlife in its natural habitat, a great way to practise and hone your skills is by visiting bird sanctuaries, owl centres and your local zoo to see your favourite subjects in the flesh - they're a lot better at posing, too!

The main issue with getting great photos of animals and birds in captivity is that more often than not your subjects are behind wire fencing, which will ruin a shot by criss-crossing across the frame.

You could always edit out a few stray lines of wire fencing in post production, but that won't work on mesh fences. Luckily, there's any easy way around the problem.

Get up close to the fence

Don't fence them in!
If you're able to get right up to the wire, simply press your DSLR's lens against the fence and your camera won't be able to focus on it at all.

Instead, it will only capture the objects in the enclosure beyond the fence.

Shoot through the fence

Shoot through the fence
Choose a large aperture to help narrow the depth of field, and then get snapping away at your subject.

You may lose a little contrast using this technique, but this can be easily fixed using image editing software - it's far easier to tweak the contrast than to clone out an annoying grid of wires!