There are whole books written on composition so I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here. Most of the time bird photographers who shoot birds in the wild without using perch setups, don’t get close enough with a 400mm lens to have to worry about it much while shooting. Ninety-nine percent of the time I do my composing on my computer during post processing. I’ll talk more about this in the post processing article soon to come. [Also, please remember that my style of bird photography leans toward the close up style—not landscape. Folks who shoot landscape shots with birds in them will need to pay much more attention to composition in the camera].
Just keep in mind as you are taking shots of birds and wildlife, to leave plenty of room on the side of the picture where the creature is facing or flying toward. The bird’s eyes or bill should be nowhere near the border of an image for most bird shots if it’s facing to the left or right. The bird needs somewhere to look, walk, fly, or run, in the image. And remember, in some situations the bird can be moved around the image in post processing.
I’ll also cover a little about the “Rule of Thirds” in post processing.