13 Aug
Ian Plant By
Posted in: General    7 Comments

Top 10 Lessons Learned Playing “Angry Birds”

Einstein once famously said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” He clearly never played Angry Birds. If he had, I’m sure even his brilliance would have been put to the test by that pernicious cabal of fortress-building, egg-stealing, smugly evil pigs.

Angry Birds is addictive, especially when one is trying to kill long hours in the field waiting for good light. Although it might seem a waste of time to some, I think that our avenging feathered friends actually have something to teach us photographers. Here are my top ten “golden eggs” of wisdom learned from spending way too much time launching bird bombs at bacon:

1. If at first you don’t succeed . . . Let’s face it, Angry Birds and photography are both all about persistence. Don’t give up—just keep on shooting, and eventually you’ll succeed.

2. Try different angles. Usually, you have to experiment before you find the right angle to inflict maximum destruction. It’s the same with photography. Don’t just shoot once and then walk away. Try a few variations—you may find your first try wasn’t the best approach.

3. Always aim for the golden egg. Don’t just settle on getting the job done: always go for the gold and make the best photo you can, even if it means missing once and awhile.

4. Don’t always use a tool for what it is intended. Fat white birds are great for laying egg bombs, but sometimes you just need to hurl them into the pigs’ stone fortress. Same with photography: get creative by occasionally choosing the “wrong” lens for the job. For example, try wide-angles with wildlife for a unique “animal landscape” approach.

5. Three stars are better than two. Don’t rest on your laurels, always try to improve even a good photo. Never rest until you achieve perfection.

6. There is more than one way to get the job done. Remember, different strokes for different folks. There’s often more than one way to clear a level or get three stars. The same goes for your photography: just because someone else does something one way, doesn’t mean you can’t do it your way.

7. Sometimes one bird isn’t enough. Sometimes it takes more than one bird to knock a piggy fortress down. When you are on location with your camera, work the scene as much as possible. It’s great to get that one perfect “trophy shot,” but sometimes your subject has more than just one story to tell. It’s good to have some variation.

8. Pointing and shooting can be a good way to start. When you don’t quite know what to do, it’s best to just start flinging birds and see what happens. You have to start somewhere: getting behind the camera viewfinder and firing away gets the creative juices flowing, and focuses your mind on finding the best shot.

9. Get creative to win. The solution to a problem is not always obvious: sometimes you have to bounce birds off of walls or skip them along the floor to get that last smirking pig. Only the most creative players—and photographers—rise to the highest levels.

10. Don’t let the pigs get you down. No matter what you do in life, there’ll always be a few pigs around trying to rain on your parade. Just keep smashing away: before you know it, the pigs’ muffled laughs will be replaced by the joyous sound of triumphant bird celebration!

"Angry Bird" by Ian Plant

Ian PlantAbout Ian Plant (414 Posts)

World-renowned professional photographer, writer, and adventurer Ian Plant is a frequent contributor to and blogger for Outdoor Photographer Magazine, a Contributing Editor to Popular Photography Magazine, a monthly columnist for Landscape Photography Magazine, and a Tamron Image Master. Ian is also the author of numerous books and instructional videos. Ian leads photography workshops and tours around the world to help beginner and advanced photographers explore and expand their personal vision.


  • Sometimes, you have to put it all on the table. Most of the time, it’s a good strategy to use as few birds as possible to kill all the pigs, racking up the points for having a little extra in reserve. Occasionally, though, you have to go all in, using everything you’ve got to finish them off.

    • Ian Plant

      Good one!

  • VERY cool read, Ian, thanks :)

  • Excellent, so creative! I knew all that time playing angry birds would benefit you someday.

    I’ll offer a bonus #11: The more you stretch it the further you’ll fly!

  • Awesome!!

  • Only you would relate Angry Birds to photography, but it actually fit rather nicely. I didn’t know what the hell you were talking about part of the time because I’ve never played Angry Birds before, but I’ll get my granddaughter to explain it all to me later!

    • Ian Plant

      No Bill, stay as far away as you can from Angry Birds – it is addictive and will ruin your life! Even a conversation with your granddaughter is enough to suck you in. Once they have their steely claws in you, those Angry Birds never let go. You’ll be riding the feathered pony until you hit rock bottom!