Mastering Bird Photography: The Art, Craft, and Technique of Photographing Birds and Their Behavior

by | Jul 15, 2019

A common question I get is to recommend a book on Bird Photography to someone that is interested in getting started, or is getting more serious about it and wants to dive in deeper. Over the years, I’ve looked at many books on the topic, and none of them have really stood out to me as better than the others, so I’ve never really had a book I could recommend without hesitation.

I recent ran across Marie Read’s book, Mastering Bird Photography: The Art, Craft, and Technique of Photographing Birds and Their Behavior, and to be honest, it blew me away. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with her or her work before reading the book, but now I’m a fan.

What makes this book stand out to me against all of the others is the depth and breadth of coverage. Not only does she go into good detail into how she takes her photos and how a reader can improve their own skills, but she does so across the very wide set of topics that tie into Bird Photography, including not just the standard camera skills, but understanding bird behavior, the ethics issues, a lot of solid discussion on composition, birds in flight. She even goes into the pros and cons of using blinds (or hides) and various models that she has worked with.

This is a big, detailed book with a lot of great practical examples in her photography and she shows a very good teaching ability in her writing across the many topics. The weakest parts are the standard problems with a published book: the inevitable gear chapter that quickly becomes a bit dated and is specific to Canon, and the image editing section, which is a good introduction but again gets dated quickly as software evolves.

I was most impressed with her discussions of composition, but the entire book is a great learning tool and a good read.

This is now the book I will be recommending to anyone interested in bird photography. It’s very good for an interested beginner but goes into many topics and in enough detail for it to be of use to those of more intermediate skills as well.

Very good and highly recommended.

You can find Marie Read at her web site, https://www.marieread.com.