Prepping To Photograph Lovely Hummingbirds

Hummingbird Photo by Scott Bourne

Prepping To Photograph Lovely Hummingbirds

Since it’s almost time to photograph hummingbirds in the Pacific Northwest, I thought I’d show everyone a few of the tricks I use and how I do my setups.


The first step is to get hummers used to coming to your yard to feed. Three months ago, I set up two feeders near the spot where I plan to do my hummingbird photography. I want the birds to get used to the feeders, me and the general area where I will set up my background and flashes.

Last weekend, I took one of the two feeders off the feeder stand and put it on the porch, attached to a light stand using a Wimberly Plamp II.


As you can see, the separated feeders are still relatively close. I need a few days or maybe even a week before the hummingbirds will trust the new location. Depends on how hungry they are. It also matters how many other food sources are nearby.


It’s important to pick the right feeder. I prefer small feeders. They can be pre-filled and left in the fridge and then quickly swapped out if the hummers drain the primary feeder. I can also always have a second feeder nearby to put back in the yard in case there’s too much competition at the photo perch.


I like and recommend the EJWOX Hummingbird Feeders because they are cheap and they do not offer a perch for the bird to stand on while the bird feeds. This is crucial if you want to get the bird in flight, which I do.

I place the photo feeder at its approximate location where I will set up my gear for hummer pictures. I gradually add elements. Once I see a few birds on the newly located feeder, I will set up my background easel and my light stand for the flashes. As time goes by, this area on my porch will get crowded.



It doesn’t take much room to do this. And in the next few weeks I’ll walk you thru the rest of the setups. I have many more species to choose from in Arizona. In Washington I will probably have no more than two, but since it’s the only bird photography I can do for a while I am excited. Stay tuned.

Picture Methods has partnered with Hunt’s Photo & Video to bring you the best gear at a competitive price and backed by personal service. Call Alan Samiljan at 781-462-2383 or Noah Buchanan at 781.462.2356. If you cannot reach either one try Gary Farber at 781-462-2332. You will ALWAYS get the best prices if you call the store v. Using the web site. You can also email Noah at: or Alan at or Gary at: Hunt’s has been around a long time and you can trust them. Make sure to mention that Scott Bourne sent you. That will get you the best deal.

3 Responses

  1. Hello Scott:

    My problem in AZ (Cave Creek area) is that I can’t keep the woodpeckers off of the hummingbird feeder and they drain it quickly. Even worse than that, the hummers don’t seem to like sharing with the woodpeckers. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Jeff nothing specific. Any one or a combination of any of the ideas below may help.

      Hummingbird Feeders

      Hummingbirds usually hover as they feed, which enables them to feed at perch-free feeders, but woodpeckers are larger and heavier than hummingbirds and must land before feeding. To prevent woodpecker landings, avoid using a hummingbird feeder with a sturdy perch, or remove the perch from the feeder.

      If woodpeckers aren’t able to perch on a feeder, they may land on its top and lean down to reach the tubes leading to the nectar solution. Nix this behavior by placing a CD or other flat object with a hole in its center over the top of the feeder so woodpeckers can’t land on it.
      Because woodpeckers are most attracted to hummingbird feeders with wide feeding ports, select a feeder with narrow ports that only hummingbirds can access.

      Providing woodpeckers with their own food sources can make them less interested in a hummingbird feeder as well. Downy woodpeckers and others eat grains, suet, black oil sunflower seeds, a range of insects and the insect larvae, and fruit. including berries and crushed peanuts.

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