Tips for Photographing Butterflies

Butterflies are gorgeous creatures who are not inclined to strike a pose for you. What’s a photographer to do? 

 

  • Pick a location with flower gardens that attract butterflies. The more butterflies that are available, the greater the chances that you will get good photo opportunities. 

  • When possible, choose a cooler day when they are moving more slowly. That will allow you to get closer to them.

 

  • As fun as it may be, don’t chase the butterflies. Instead, pick a place next to an attractive flower and quietly wait for a butterfly to visit. This does require patience.

 

  • Wait for the butterfly to move into a position where it is facing the sun. When the sun shines from the side, you will often get harsh shadows across the wings. When the sun is behind the butterfly, you may get flares. 
  • Position your camera’s sensor so it is parallel to the butterfly’s wings. That will help you keep the butterfly’s body and wings in sharp focus.

 

  • Because butterflies are always moving, you will do best with a fast shutter speed (1/500th sec). 

  • To make the butterfly stand out from the background, use a smaller f/stop. 

 

  • Watch your shadow. Butterflies enjoy the sun. If you cast a shadow on them, they are likely to fly away from you. 

With some planning and patience, you can take beautiful butterfly photos. 

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