Using Birds (Photography)

Visualise a landscape. It might have an ocean, a few trees, an old house, or a new one. Do you have the image in your head? Now, imagine you make the colours as crisp and clear, it’s a sunny day in June, the sky is blue, every detail is sparkling.

Now imagine a bird in the sky, flying. It’s far away, you can hardly see what kind of a bird it is, but it’s there.

Does this enhance the image?

Now imagine an old photograph. It’s worn and torn, but the same landscape as before. The colours are faded, showing mostly brown.

Or a vivid black and white.

Is the bird still there?

Now look at this:


There are trees, fog, mysterious illumination… but apart from the trees, there is no life. Is something missing?


Do the birds add to the photo? Do they make it better? And now that you know for sure that I’ve added the birds, that they were never there when I took the shot, does it ruin the picture? There are a few apps that let you add things like birds to your shot. And sometimes they make a great addition to an otherwise mundane shot, but not always.

So when do you add the birds? And when do you skip the birds? I often feel that a shot could do with a little something, but I tend to overuse the birds in my picture editing I think. Adding “fake” birds to shot might also negate the thrill of real birds your photograph. Like this one:


or this one:


or even this one:


Or this one:


You see this bird was real, and I took the photo, but it was never near this tree or this house (obviously). But the bird shot was MINE.

Sometimes it’s obvious that the birds shouldn’t be added:


or in this one:


And sometimes it’s obvious when you think about it a little:


And these are the hard shots. The shots I often make the mistake of putting birds in.

But sometimes the bird is just what the image needs:


And I don’t really have a clue about how to keep the birds away from the images that really should be bird free. Like this one:


I don’t know. Maybe the birds are a bad idea altogether. But my editing isn’t about keeping it real. In fact I pride myself of making them look unreal. I am not depicting reality, but the way my inner world looks like…

… and there are often birds in there.

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