Secrets To Stunning Bird-In-Flight Photography

(14 customer reviews)


Are you ready to take your bird-in-flight (BIF) photography to the next level? Are you tired of constantly feeling frustrated as you examine soft photos on your LCD?  Do you want to learn the secrets the pros use to consistently capture award-winning bird-in-flight imagery?

Then it’s time to grab this e-book! Everything you ever wanted to know about securing your own slice of avian artwork is covered. Each page is packed with practical, field-tested advice designed to put more keepers on your cards. Grab your copy today!


Also, check out our other books and videos – Click here

Note – this book is not brand-specific and applies to any DSLR or mirrorless camera.

Format: PDF e-book (v 1.1.3, Updated 03-20-2024)
Pages: 531
Delivery: Instant download

Have you ever felt frustrated while doing bird-in-flight (BIF) photography?

Don’t worry – you’re not alone! I can’t tell you the number of e-mails I get every week from people who are doing everything they can think of to get great BIF shots, but they keep coming up short. I mean, let’s face it, BIF photography is one of the most challenging, most demanding types of photography there is – but it’s also one of the most rewarding.

So, I wrote this book as a solution.  It’s designed to help you leave frustration in the past and it’ll teach you everything you need to know to fill your cards will amazing flight shots.

The thing is, BIF photography is like a puzzle filled with dozens of pieces that must come together perfectly for you to pull off a great shot.

You have to know what gear to use.
You have to know what AF mode to select.
You have to know which exposure and metering modes work best.
You have to know how to pick the best light, the best background, and the best time of day.
You need to know how to predict what the birds will do.
You need to know the best tracking and panning techniques.

And that’s just the tip of an enormous iceberg! The truth is, there are countless factors that all have to mesh perfectly each time you point your camera at the sky in an attempt to capture some avian artwork.

The trouble is, learning how to manage all the factors that go into consistently capturing  jaw-dropping flight shots can take years and years to master.

How about we shorten that learning curve by a decade or so?

If you’re ready to take the quality of your bird-in-flight photography to the next level and beyond, then you’re ready for my e-book, Secrets To Stunning Bird-In-Flight Photography!

This e-book takes all of the guesswork out of BIF photography and helps you to stop photographically floundering in the field. By the time you’re done with it, you’ll instinctively know how to capture the sharpest images, what gear to use, the best shutter speed, F/stops and ISO, the ideal metering modes, the perfect AF modes, and ALL the techniques you need to start sending award-winning imagery to your memory cards.

In addition, this book isn’t just a bunch of cookie-cutter recipes that may or may not apply to what you see in your viewfinder. Instead, it’s designed to replace mystery and confusion with clarity and understanding. Forget trying to memorize a list of settings for BIF work – after reading this book, you’ll instinctively know and understand exactly what to do in any given scenario. You’ll be the one your friends turn to for BIF advice!

Each chapter is written with a singular goal – to make YOU a better BIF photographer! With each turn of the page you’ll develop a deeper understanding of what steps you’ll need to take to start capturing wall-hangers. This book is overflowing with time-tested, field-proven techniques that will consistently put winners on your cards.

Although the book is highly detailed, it’s still written for every photographer, no matter your current skill level. Every bit of advice and every technique or setting suggestion is written in a non-technical, easy-going style that makes comprehension painless and fun. Heck, you’ll even find a little humor tossed in to shake things up a bit! No matter where you are right now – beginner, intermediate or advanced – this book has something packed in its virtual pages for you to discover.

In addition, the book is absolutely jammed with real-world example shots (including settings) and illustrations that make it easy to understand every concept and technique we discuss. Each and every image is explained in detail and brings you one step closer to consistently stunning BIF photos.

The book is divided up into three sections: Gear, Settings, and Technique. Each main section includes a number of chapters that will catapult your skillset to another level.

In the first part of the book, we’ll talk gear. We’ll look at cameras, lenses, and accessories so you’ll know just what you need to get the job done – and for virtually any budget. Oh, and we don’t just gloss over this stuff! We take a deep dive into every aspect of gear that applies to BIF photography!

For cameras, we’ll talk AF system, buffer, frame rate, crop vs. full frame, viewfinder blackout, customization, resolution, mirrorless vs. DSLR, and so much more! For lenses, we’ll chat about focal length, zoom vs. prime, sharpness, maximum aperture, stabilization, minimum focus distance, focus limiters, function buttons, bokeh, and even TCs! On top of all that, we also look at memory cards, tripods, heads, and monopods!

In part two, the rubber hits the road when we start talking settings. First, we’ll thoroughly cover autofocus so you always know exactly what to use for any scenario. From there, we’ll take a detailed look at shutter speed, F/Stop and ISO – and how to prioritize them! Next, we’ll cover the best metering and exposure modes for BIF work. Finally, we’ll top it all off with real-world examples that bring everything together!

By the time you finish part two, you’ll instinctively know exactly how to set your camera for any BIF scenario you encounter!

In the third and final part of the book, you’ll learn every technique I know for getting jaw-dropping BIF images on your memory card! We’ll look at “poses”, wing positions, determining the best background, types and direction of light, predicting behavior, how to use the wind to your advantage, shooting techniques, how to find your subject, tracking, panning, tough to shoot scenarios, why you’re not getting sharp photos, and so much more!

For a more detailed list of what you’ll learn in this book, make sure you check out the chapter list below! (Even the list below is just a small slice of what you’ll find in the pages of this book).

Chapter 1: Camera Choice For BIF Work

  • How to decide on the best camera for BIF work
  • How to know if your camera up to the task for BIF shooting
  • The secret to knowing if you have enough buffer
  • Discover the best customization options for a BIF camera
  • The ideal resolution for BIF cameras
  • The smart way to decide between a crop and full frame body
  • Mirrorless vs. DSLR – how to choose for BIF work

Chapter 2: Lenses For BIF Work

  • The ideal focal lengths for BIF shooting
  • Which type of lenses work well – which don’t
  • Zooms Vs Primes and determining which is better for you
  • Is your lens sharp enough?
  • Critical information on your lenses maximum aperture
  • Image stabilization and BIF photography
  • The critical lens features that every BIF photographer needs
  • Why minimum focus distance is critical for some BIF shooters
  • The crazy reason why you might care about maximum reproduction ratios
  • Crucial AF speed considerations
  • Do you need a teleconverter?
  • The real difference between affordable and exotic lenses

Chapter 3: Cameras Or Lenses?

  • Which is more important for BIF work – the camera or lens?
  • How to pick one or the other on a limited budget

Chapter 4: BIF Accessories

  • Why fast memory cards are a BIF photographer’s best friend
  • The tricky way memory card companies fool you
  • Tripod for BIF work?
  • The to picking the best tripods for BIF shooting
  • What to avoid in a tripod at all costs
  • The smartest type of tripod head for BIF photography
  • Critical info about monopods for BIF shooters
  • How to pick the best monopod head for flight work

(Note – this book is not brand specific, so the chapters in this section widely apply to all cameras)

Chapter 5: Autofocus Settings

  • Overview of the most common AF areas and when to use them for BIF
  • The secret to always choosing the best AF area mode
  • All about eye-detection and BIF work
  • Tricks for using tracking modes
  • How to set advanced AF options for BIF work
  • Handling the confusing blocked shot AF options menu
  • Why Back Button AF makes sense for flight shots
  • Suggestions for custom AF button setups

Chapter 6: Shutter Speed, F/stop, and ISO

  • Is there a “best” shutter speed for BIF work?
  • The trick to determining the best shutter speed
  • The real way shutter speed really affect BIF shots
  • Discover how wind can affect your shutter speed choice
  • Why birds flying directly at the lens demand a faster shutter speed
  • How to get (or not get) wing blur
  • The most common F/stop mistake among BIF photographers
  • The crazy way depth of field really works with flight shots
  • How to always determine the ideal F/stop
  • What F/stops kill bad backgrounds and dish out “3D”
  • The foolish ISO blunders that most BIF shooters make
  • The surprising way cropping makes ISO worse
  • The ISO and sharpness connection (not what you think)
  • Why soft images are a nightmare for noise reduction
  • Why sharp images and high ISO aren’t as bad as you think

Chapter 7: Prioritizing Exposure Controls

  • How to choose the best exposure combination for any situation
  • Shutter Speed, F/stop, or ISO – what’s the top priority
  • My workflow: exposure control priorities for most BIF scenarios
  • Know what exposure setting is the most important for specialized situations

Chapter 8: How Your Meter Thinks

  • Why your meter wants to make everything middle-tone
  • The key to knowing when to trust – and not trust – your meter
  • How to easily recognize when you need to compensate for a metering error
  • Why birds against a sky always want to underexpose (and how to fix it)
  • A trick for quickly determining if the camera meter will get it right

Chapter 9: Metering Patterns

  • My go-to metering pattern for BIF work
  • How to use segmented (matrix) metering for BIF
  • Warning signs of a segmented metering mistake
  • The unexpected way to use spot metering for BIF
  • How most people get spot metering completely wrong
  • The secret for effectively using spot metering with flying birds
  • When center-weighed metering makes more sense
  • How center-weighted metering works
  • When to turn to center-weighted metering for BIF
  • How to leverage highlight-weighted metering and BIF work
  • When highlight-weighted metering works – and when it doesn’t
  • The secret to always picking the best metering mode

Chapter 10: Exposure Modes

  • The hands-down BEST autoexposure mode for BIF work
  • How aperture priority will let you down
  • How shutter priority will let you down
  • Autoexposure dangers
  • Why so many BIF photographers use full manual mode
  • When to shoot full manual and when to use autoexposure
  • How to shoot in manual mode – quick crash course
  • How to judge exposure with histograms
  • The worst exposure sin you can commit
  • Why blinkies are a BIF photographer’s best friend
  • Mirrorless cameras: the zebra stripe advantage
  • How the camera lies to RAW shooters

Chapter 11: Exposure And Metering Field Examples

  • How to shoot a front-lit bird against a blue sky
  • How to shoot a front-lit bird against a middle-tone background
  • How to shoot a light bird with a light background
  • How to shoot a bird against a bright or white sky
  • How to shoot a middle tone bird on a dark background
  • How to shoot a bright bird against a really dark background
  • How to shoot a white bird in the sun (feather clipping)
  • How to shoot a backlit bird
  • How to shoot a bird against a mixed tonality background
  • How to shoot a bird that’s in and out of shadows against mixed backgrounds

Chapter 12: The Rest Of The Settings

  • Killer tips for setting your maximum FPS
  • The price you pay for pegging the FPS throttle
  • The secret to managing your buffer and bursts
  • The one rule you should never forget in BIF photography
  • RAW or JPEG? Which is best?
  • The undeniable edge a RAW file gives you
  • Why RAW is even more important for BIF work
  • Bit depth: 12 or 14 bit?

Chapter 13: Compositional Considerations

  • Secrets for great subject placement
  • Leveraging minor crops to improve composition
  • Too far away or an environmental shot? How to tell the difference
  • Using AF placement to predetermine composition
  • The best spot to place your AF area
  • What flight directions are the most compelling
  • How to determine if the bird is too high or low for the shot
  • What flight direction is almost always a bust
  • The key to picking the best wing position from a series
  • Wing positions that you should avoid
  • All about dramatic poses
  • Why blue sky backgrounds aren’t your friend
  • How a terrestrial background improves your images
  • The secret for getting that “3D” look from your BIF shots
  • How to add depth and dimension to your shots
  • What’s the best light for BIF work?
  • When the light works best, when it’s time to pack it in
  • How shadows can ruin your day
  • The light direction that’s a disaster for darker birds
  • Light that works well for backlight and sidelight

Chapter 14: Predicting Behavior

  • Why it’s important to learn your birds
  • How predictable flight patterns make your life easier
  • How to find flying birds (7 key places to look)
  • Why BIF photographers love hovering birds
  • Tips for nailing jaw-dropping shots of hovering birds
  • Why wind is your secret assistant
  • The amazing way birds use wind and how you can take advantage of it
  • How wind can help a new photographer capture wall-hangers the first time out

Chapter 15: Shooting Techniques

  • The best birds for a beginner
  • Why breezy days are your friend
  • How to find your bird with a long lens
  • Why neglecting focus distance will cost you shots
  • Finding your subject with a long lens on a tripod or monopod
  • How to effectively manage AF
  • Techniques for keeping AF on the bird
  • Smart AF placement tips
  • When to start focusing
  • Why it’s critical to let your camera fully lock on
  • The “bump focus” method
  • My sneaky to get my cameras to focus faster
  • The secret to recovering when the camera loses an AF lock
  • The best way to practice BIF tracking
  • How big should the bird be in the viewfinder
  • Why shooting too soon or too late can cost you key moments
  • The secret power of a zoom lens
  • How to track and pivot
  • Hand-holding and tripod techniques
  • How tripods can help give you more control
  • The key to keeping the horizon straight
  • What area to concentrate on as you pan

Chapter 16: Techniques For Tricky Scenarios

  • The tricks to nailing takeoff shots
  • The biggest mistake photographers make with takeoff shots
  • Seven hints the bird is about to take off
  • Understanding and leveraging takeoff elevation
  • The smartest shutter speeds for takeoff
  • The best F/stops for takeoff shots
  • Why “AF surprise” is costing you shots
  • How loose should you crop for takeoff?
  • Tracking modes and takeoff shots
  • The stupid takeoff gamble
  • How to handle birds flying directly towards the camera
  • AF settings for a bird coming right at the camera
  • Techniques for slow shutter speed panning
  • The best shutter speeds for slow pans
  • Should the eyes be sharp on a slow panning shot?
  • Why a tripod is a smart move for slow pans
  • Should you use stabilization with slow shutter speed pans?
  • Why smaller birds are so tough to photograph
  • How tracking smaller birds is more challenging
  • The best AF modes for smaller birds
  • How faster AF speed can help with small birds
  • Strategies for the toughest targets
  • Pre-focusing for the trickiest birds
  • The key to successful hummingbird photos
  • How shutter speed works with hummingbirds
  • The best F/stops for hummers
  • The surprising  AF area that works best with hummingbirds
  • How to pre-plan a perfect hummingbird composition
  • The hard truth about multiple birds in flight
  • Was has to happen to get more than one bird sharp at once

Chapter 17: Why Your Not Getting Sharp BIF Photos

  • Discover the #1 reason for blurry flight shots
  • How to diagnose the reason for a blurry photo
  • Why the air itself is sometimes your enemy
  • The sharpness-killing mistake photographers make when shooting from a car
  • The surprising way stabilization can kill sharpness
  • How to tell if your stabilization system is causing trouble
  • Why a distant subject is often never sharp
  • How AF Fine tuning / Lens Calibration can sometimes help with sharpness
  • The critical AF area mistake that costing you sharp iamges


And that’s only a taste of what you’ll find in this book!

In all, it’s 515 pages of rock solid, field-tested information you can use every time you’re out shooting.

If you’re tired of frustrating BIF experiences, then you just found your new best friend. Here are just a few sample pages to give you an idea of what you’ll find in the book:

Finally, if you’re still on the fence, think of it this way…

So many times we spend countless hundreds or even thousands of dollars purchasing gear that we hope will help us create more powerful images.

The truth is, gear is only a small part of the equation. Amazing imagery comes from YOU – the person standing a few inches behind the viewfinder.

However, when offered an opportunity to improve the part of their photography that could generate a quantum leap in quality, people often hesitate. I know for a fact that my best images were due to hundreds, even thousands of hours spent studying educational materials, not because of the gear.

So, that brings us to price. I’ve tried to make this completely affordable for any photographer – just $24.97 and it’s an instant download.

That’s basically less than a lunch date for a product that could improve your BIF photography exponentially. Heck, even if you only discover ONE new trick or technique that helps you create an amazing image, wouldn’t it be worth it?

Check it out, you could be enjoying this new e-book in just a few minutes.

So, order now and you’ll have the book in a matter of moments!

PS – I’m 100% confident you’ll love this e-book. If you’re not satisfied, let me know and I’ll give you your money back – nothing to lose by giving it a try!



14 reviews for Secrets To Stunning Bird-In-Flight Photography

  1. Eric Harmon (verified owner)

    I’m relatively new to BIF photography, though I’ve got some experience with other types of wildlife photography. I quickly found that BIF photography poses its own unique set of challenges, and Steve’s book was an invaluable tool in helping me learn a number of useful techniques for overcoming these challenges. His sense of humor means the book is a fun read, in addition to being immensely educational.

    Steve goes into detail about many of the troubles I’ve already experienced firsthand (such as selecting a reasonable shutter speed, selecting an appropriate autofocus area, and more). He also addressed numerous issues that I haven’t even encountered yet, due to my limited experience so far. In all cases, he presented clear and practical solutions that apply directly to me and the learning curve that I’m currently on. I am sure there are gems in this book that will greatly benefit photographers with a fair amount of BIF experience under their belt as well.

    At (roughly) $25, this book is a no-brainer to purchase. I would gladly pay twice that amount for the information contained in these pages. I’ve paid much more, and gotten much less in return, for books from other authors in the past. Do yourself a favor and add this book to your cart immediately. You won’t regret it.

  2. philippe.rouquet (verified owner)

    Congratulations Steve !
    I browsed the ToC carefully and I must say I did not expect such breadth of coverage.
    Having wrestled with BIF shooting myself under varied conditions, I am convinced this is going to be my BIF bible !

  3. Gilles Naud (verified owner)

    Steve, I have perused many books discussing photography techniques and the chapster 5-12 of your book (Secrets To Stunning Bird-In-Flight Photography) are amongst the best written. However, what really caught my interest is the thought process that goes into Chapters 13, 14 and 16. BIF is all about compositional impact and artistry that results from leveraging proper technology; this grows out of a greater understanding of bird behaviour and how to judiciously apply relevant technology (such as AF). Those late chapters in your book are a testimony to that and they make your book so much more interesting and unique! Congratulations (bis, bis) for a considerable Opus and we all look forward to more in the future.

  4. hoan luong (verified owner)

    Hi Steve, when you said…”This new e-book covers everything (and I mean EVERYTHING)”, you are not too far from the reality. After seeing the TOC and reading diagonally some chapters, I can confirm that I have in my hands an another excellent photo techniques book. Clear plain language and always with the special humoristic Steve’s touch.
    Bravo Steve.

  5. Jeffrey Neville (verified owner)

    I ordered your book on 8/17 and just finished it on 8/18. Just want to tell you how much I enjoyed your book, to say it was excellent is an understatement. It’s a No-brainer to purchase this book if you ever think of taking or currently take bird pictures. I have been shooting for over 50 years, extremely seriously the last (4), since retirement. I own many photography books and have taken dozens of courses from famous photographers via Creative Live and Kelby One training and can honestly say your book hit the nail on the head. Your process of writing this book (with some humor mixed in) is well organized and you touch on the process of taking a picture and how a camera works, everything to metering modes, how a camera meter works and where it gets faked out to the effects of Shutter speed/ISO/F-stops on your images and how best to use them to get the effect you want with your image. The sample photo’s with detailed info really would help anyone out regardless of experience. Many topics discussed is great info even if you did landscapes and not BIF images. Although I was aware of much of what you talked about it I still picked up things and got reminded of certain details I have forgotten over time, the beauty of this book is that you could buy 10 books and not have it provide the level of information you formulated into this one book. Great job, enjoy your videos and someday I hope to take a photo excursion with you, it would be a pleasure. – Jeff

  6. Pam McIntyre (verified owner)

    I am halfway through the ebook and it has already changed the way I am going to approach BIF going forward. I am relatively new to bird photography and I’ve been so frustrated with my inability to effectively track and lock on focus – this book has provided great practical suggestions that I can take in the field and practice.

    I really love all the photos and illustrations with comments/settings included so that concepts covered in the chapters are really cemented and it helps me retain the information better.

    I have purchased all of your ebooks and I find your teaching style thorough and easy to understand (I have even started to chuckle at some of your jokes – oh no!). Really well done!

  7. dougdavelass (verified owner)

    I’ve been doing BIF photography for several years now and thought I pretty much had it figured out so I was reluctant to order this book but I’m glad I did! Sure enough, there is enough info in there that I wasn’t doing, or considering doing to make it well worth it. I have all of your other fine e-books and this did not disappoint! Thanks for such another informative, helpful book!

  8. Jay Schmitt

    Excellent reading.  Who would have thought that someone could write 518 pages on photographing birds in flight.  I read absolutely every word.

    Very well done.  I do enjoy your writing/presenting style.  You keep it upbeat and enjoyable.

    Love, love, loved it.
    Thanks – Jay Schmitt, Bradenton, Florida (and long-time fan).

  9. Kenneth E. Farver (verified owner)

    I wanted to mention how much I enjoyed your “Secrets to Stunning Bird-In-Flight Photography book.
    Lots of secrets shared and the less than $25 price as outstanding.
    I would highly recommend this book to photographers of any level as I have been shooting for 45+ years.
    I especially liked the “When is the Bird Large Enough in the Viewfinder” on page 424 and I will want to go back and read again about the added noise from an image too small in the viewfinder (as I remember).

  10. Marc GREGOIRE (verified owner)

    I just finished reading Secrets To Bird in Flight Photography and I really enjoyed it. This book will definitely improve my BIF techniques. I highly recommend it to any photographer interested in Bird in flight. Steve explains very well and the book is easy to read with lots of humor. Thank you Steve for sharing all those techniques in this book. It’s a book I will keep as an invaluable reference for future field trips.

  11. Brian Aikens (verified owner)

    This was a fabulous read, reinforcing many things I knew and adding many techniques and insights I did not. Pushing up the shutter speed (at the expense of ISO) had the most dramatic improvement on my keepers. Shooting bursts rather than trying to “time the shot” was a close second (at the expense of Gbytes) . Well done Steve. If you ever come the southern BC in search of eagles…..I would be than happy to guide.

  12. Tom Overbey (verified owner)

    I did a workshop in November to shoot cypress trees and related items. We can across egrets and blue herons and I did not know what to do to get good shots. Our local photography group has an Eagle Tour coming up on Beaver Lake in Arkansas and I wanted to get prepared. As usual, Steve’s great explanations map out what I needed to know. My confidence level is now much higher. I know I will get more out of our excursion with Steve’s tips and guidance.

  13. Terry Cameron (verified owner)

    Hi Steve,
    Thank you, thank you for this guide. I purchased this guide before my trip to Costa Rica in January/February 2022. Wow! I was thrilled by the quality of shots I brought home. Everything in the guide was spot on. I did make some minor adjustments to my Sony A1 set-up based on how I was shooting. This was not a photography tour but rather just a regular tourist tour. It was more centered on people being able to take static shots rather than birds in flight. (I got plenty of both) Because of this, I set up two buttons to quickly override my settings. I used the Back Button Focus to go to my BIF settings when I was shooting on Manual and the AEL Button to go to static shooting when I was in BIF mode. This seemed to give me much-added flexibility no matter what was happening. Of course, everyone’s shooting style will be different. The point is that I learned enough from your guide to easily make these changes while on the trip.
    I highly advise anyone either going on a bird photography trip or just wanting to improve what they are doing to buy this guide. The value was far greater than ANY additional gear I might have purchased. Without the guide, I might have spent thousands of dollars on the trip and not have brought home so many keepers. My only problem now is deciding what I like best.

  14. Trygve Bjørkli

    I bought this book a few days ago. It kept me reading until four in the morning. Some of the best I’ve read on the subject of BIF. I’ve been involved with BIF for a while, and I must say that this was helpful. I’m going to read it again.

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