How to “Butterfly Photography”?

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By RichardLederman

butterfly photography is easy; you can easily find subjects in your backyard or in a nearby meadow.

Some insects are more attractive than others, it is true. Ladybirds and dragonflies are competing for the top spot in the insect realm for being most colorful and attractive, but there is only one winner: butterflies.

Butterflies are stunningly beautiful and easy to photograph. Even fully subscribed bug-phobes cannot help but be seduced and captivated by their intricate markings, beauty, and delicacy. Worldwide, there are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies, with blues, skippers, fritillaries and swallowtails being the most well-known. They can travel long distances and come back in large numbers.

There are 60 species of butterflies in the UK. Now is the perfect time to get out your macro lens and close-up attachment to start some butterfly photography. They are also challenging subjects. It takes skill, knowledge, and field-craft to create beautiful butterflies images.

Do your Research

You must do your research before you can get close enough to butterflies to capture their personality. If you don’t do your research properly, you will not know where or when to look.

You can target specific species by studying their preferred habitat. For example, is it a heathland, meadowland and/or chalk downland? What months do the adults emerge? And what is their preferred food-plants for larvae?

Photograph butterflies as soon as they emerge, while they are still in their pristine state. You have a very limited window of opportunity. If you miss the moment, you might need to wait until next year to try again. Your local branch of the Butterfly Conversation will have a list of sites that are good for butterflies.

Once you have identified the habitat that is rich in butterflies, you can start taking photos. Concerning equipment, I have already written about the best macro lens and recommended kit for butterfly photography. A tele-macro lens, which is a useful working distance from the subject, is the best option. However, you can still capture great butterfly shots using any close-up attachment.

Find your Subject for Butterfly Photography

On sunny, warm days, butterflies are more active and easier to find. They can be difficult to reach due to their flightiness and sensitivity to movement.

Stalking is the best technique during daytime. You should follow, not chase! You should be following butterflies, not chasing them. You need to move quickly into their position when they do. Just be aware of the position of the sun. If you cast your shadow across your subject it will likely scare it away. Avoid disturbing vegetation or grasses nearby, as butterflies can be very sensitive to movement.