Due to their size, the way they move and their surroundings, photographing butterflies can be challenging but rewarding when you get it right. In this article, we list 6 tips to help you improve your butterfly photography.
1. Find The Right Plants
If you're green fingered, try growing plants that'll attract butterflies. A few on the list include Honeysuckle, Lavender, Primrose and Thyme. For those who aren't so great at keeping plants alive you could always put your walking shoes on and head off to meadows with wild flowers growing, just make sure you're not trespassing before you get your camera out. There's also plenty of nature reserves, butterfly houses and large, public gardens right across the UK that are open to visitors.
2. What Species Have You Photographed?
Knowing what type of butterfly you've captured in your shots will help you with the naming of your files, captioning and if you've captured a rare species, you'll be able to report your sighting. There are many guides out there that'll fit in your camera bag for when you're out in the field or you could just use the internet once back home for your research.
3. Take Photos At The Right Time Of Day
Butterflies tend to move around less / at slower speeds during the morning and evening as like other insects, they are cold-blooded, hence why they fly round more quickly on warm, summer days. Get up early enough when the temperatures are particularly cool and you could find some sleeping which makes them easier to photograph so long as you approach slowly and don't make too much noise.
Try to stand / approach them so your shadow doesn't cover them as they'll tend to fly off in search of a sunnier spot.
4. Use The Correct Shutter Speeds
As butterflies, even when sat on a flower, tend to still move and as flowers and whatever other foliage they perch on will move in the smallest of breezes, you'll need quicker shutter speeds to freeze action. Switching to burst mode / continuous shooting will also increase your chances of capturing a sharp shot as your camera will rapidly take a series of shots.
5. Think About The Backgrounds Of Your Shots
If you can, move distracting stems and other unwanted items out of frame before taking your shot. Try not to pull and tug at grasses and other distracting items though as you don't want to destroy their natural habit for the sake of getting one good photograph.
6. Set Up And Wait
Sometimes it's easier to find the right part of the plant, from a photographic perspective, which you set up near and wait for your subject to land on rather than chasing them around your garden. Then you just have to sit still and be patient as it can take quite a bit of time for a butterfly to land where you want them to. Always approach slowly, don't make any sudden movements and stay quiet.
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