How To Take Pictures of Birds With a Smartphone

A bird is trying to perch a tree branch

Taking pictures is entertaining in itself, but taking pictures of wildlife or birds makes it even more fun. But how to take pictures of birds with a smartphone? 

Some people think it’s impossible with a smartphone, but that’s not the case.

From my experience, you need to focus on a few things such as lighting, camera placement, camera focus, and more. Extra accessories like mobile tripods and telephoto lenses can be helpful too.

This article will go over all the tips and tricks for taking good photos of birds with your smartphone, which I’ve learned over the years. Without further ado, let’s get on with it.

Smartphone Prerequisites For Bird Photography

Before taking bird photos with a smartphone, you need to go through some prerequisites.

1. The Right Smartphone

Let’s start by covering the right smartphone to use. The most crucial part of using a phone for photography is using good cameras.

For photography, it’s recommended to have a smartphone with a 12 to 20 MegaPixel camera at minimum. 

To take good pictures of birds, you need to zoom in. For photography, get a phone which utilizes optical zoom. It can keep the exact resolution of the image even after zooming in.

Pixel 6 is our best mid-range smartphone bet. I’ll recommend the best smartphone for bird photography later in this post if you want something even better.

2. Accessories

Now let’s cover the accessories. When you’re taking pictures, it’s crucial to have a steady base and some extra accessories. 

A image of a phone with a telephoto lens and a tripod
A phone with a telephoto lens and a tripod

i) Phone tripods can reduce vibrations when taking a picture and give your phone a stable base.
ii) A telephoto lens can significantly help with photography as well. These lenses are made specifically to get high-quality optical zoom even if you’re far away.

These two accessories help get high-quality photos with zero blurs, even if you’re far away. 

3. Good Camera Apps

Accessories are essential, but a good camera app can;

  • Helps you get better autofocusing, tracking, and background blurring features.
  • Helps you get more manual control over your photos, leading to higher-quality pictures.

For androids, the Camera FV-5 app works best.
On the other hand, the ProCamera app is best for iPhones.

Both apps come with similar features and can increase the overall quality of your photos by a lot.

How Do I Take Pictures Of Birds With My iPhone?

A man taking a bird photo with his iPhone
A man taking bird photos

If you have an iPhone, you can use it as a powerful camera for photography. iPhones don’t differ in features from Android phones, but they usually have better performance and higher-quality cameras. 

Other than a few unique iPhone-only features such as the Panorama camera, the process to take bird photos on ios is the same as android.

To do so ideally, you should follow some structured steps.

Steps To Follow For Taking Good Bird Photos

Since you’re now set with the correct apps and accessories to take good bird photos, let’s take a look at some steps you should take for higher-quality pictures on both iPhone and Android ;

  1. Shoot At The Right Time Of The Day

If you take photos at the wrong time of the day, you won’t get the best result. Animals and birds are usually most active right after the sun rises and before sunset. 

The best times are usually 6:30 am and 5:30 pm. Taking photographs in these times will give a golden tint to your images.

  1. Focus The Camera Properly

If you’re ready to take a photo of a bird, remember to set the focus of your phone specifically on the bird. This will make objects around the bird blurry, making the bird stand out more and look better.

  1. Try To Get As Close As You Can

Even with a good telephoto lens, it’s still recommended to get as close to the bird as you can. Being closer simply makes your images higher in quality, even with optical zooming and telephoto lenses.

You can get closed by disguising yourself and blending in with your surroundings. Get a green dress to match the fields and bushes, and you can camouflage and get as close as possible.

  1. Have The Correct Shutter Speed

The general rule for picking the correct shutter speed by picking a speed that does not exceed the lens’ focal length. With 200mm lenses, your shutter speed should be 1/200 of a second or faster. 

Best Smartphone For Bird Photography

As promised, let’s take a look at the best smartphone for bird photography. It’s hard to pick the “best” smartphone since all smartphones are different.

But through heavy research, I have found out that the best overall smartphone for bird photography is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

It has an insane 108 MP camera. All the photography features on this phone work fantastically, and it supports an S pen for drawing or editing photographs. 

But this phone is no joke for taking pictures from far away since it has a 10x, 30x, and 100x optical zoom. If you combine this with a telephoto lens, the zoom can be more potent than standard cameras.

But if you’re looking for the best iPhone for photography, the iPhone 13 Pro Max would be the best choice.

It has a 12 MP camera, but since Apple makes all the cameras on its own, it has a stunning performance for photography. 

Best Telephoto Lens For iPhone 11, 12, And Others

Even though some phones have great optical zoom, telephoto lenses are highly recommended.

After careful research, I found out that the Moment Tele Lens is the best telephoto lens for iPhones 11, 12, 13, and more.

It’s highly compact, and it supports all iPhones. It also has a blurring feature, focusing on close objects and blurring the background for the perfect shot.

Bird Photography Tips For Shooting With iPhone

Even though there aren’t many differences between android and iPhones when it comes to camera features, the macro camera on iPhones is usually better. 

If you want a high-quality close-up image of a bird, the most important tip is to use the macro camera or the portrait camera mode. These can make specific shots look much better. But if you want some extra suggestions, then read on.

Tips For Taking The Best Bird Photos 

A man is taking birds photos
Taking birds photos

Here are some final finals to up your smartphone photography game up a notch —

  1. Use The Timed Shutter Feature

It’s common to see phones vibrate while taking pictures, even on tripods. Using the timed shutter feature will allow you to have more time for taking the perfect shot.

  1. Take More Than One Photo

Taking more than one photo is a rule all photographers use. It can help you get better shots and select which picture looks best.

  1. Use Editing Apps To Make Your Photos Better

Editing apps such as Photoshop Express and Snapseed are great apps available on Android and iOS to edit your photos. Editing can give you more opportunities for increasing saturation, lighting, blur, and more.


If you have here in doubt about the power of your smartphone camera, I hope you’re leaving knowing the correct facts. Since smartphones have become more advanced, using them for photography is much easier than using a proper camera.

As a final tip, I’d recommend being patient when you’re photographing birds. They get spooked easily, so you should take them low and slow. Get a green suit and wait; the reward of mesmerizing photos with just your smartphone will come. Cheers!