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Photographing Dragonflies And Damselflies

Have a look at this collection of Dragonfly and Damselfly imagery, plus pick up some tips on capturing images of these insects.

|  Animals / Wildlife
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Photo by David Pritchard


Head to ponds, lakes and rivers and chances are, you'll soon spot Damselflies and Dragonflies which make interesting subjects for a macro image. If you do want to have a go at capturing these flying insects in your shots ideally, you'll need a macro lens but a longer zoom with a macro function at the longer end will also work fine, especially when coupled with extension tubes. Approach slowly, and start taking pictures from a distance so if they do fly off, at least you've got a few images saved to your memory card. It can be easier to capture images of these insects from a higher angle, looking down on the subject but do try shooting side-on, too. 

These characters aren’t the easiest to catch on camera, but a reasonable shutter speed combined with a small maximum aperture will make tracking your subject easier. You also really need to know your equipment well otherwise you could miss a shot searching for a dial/function so do remember to examine your equipment carefully, even more so if it's a new piece of kit. 

Take the time to pick a background carefully because even though you'll be throwing it out of focus, a busy background will still be distracting.

Below you'll find more tips along with a selection of dragonfly and damselfly images taken by ePHOTOzine member David Pritchard



Photo by David Pritchard


"I used a 20mm extension tube for this shot, so that I could get higher magnification from a greater distance. That was important for two reasons; firstly, this pair of damselflies were very skittish and secondly, they were perched over water. I couldn’t have got closer if I had wanted to and as a result, a shorter lens just didn’t work for this shot. However, as I was using a zoom lens, I was able to reach right out over the water, and the extension tube allowed me to make sure that the lens didn’t reduce in focal length as it was focused. It has also resulted in the background softening out."


Photo by David Pritchard


"The shot below is of a Banded Demoiselle and if you get the chance, watch one in-flight as it's quite beautiful." 

Banded Demoiselle

Photo by David Pritchard


"Another Banded Demoiselle, this time a female. The grace of these insects in leisurely flight belies the speed and agility that they are capable of; this lady disappeared from my viewfinder for only a couple of seconds. In that short time she shot out three feet, and returned to the same spot with this lacewing. The females generally seem more cautious than the males, and are certainly harder to spot."

Banded Demoiselle

Photo by David Pritchard


"The Banded Demoiselle is one of my favourite species of damselfly, due to their spectacular flight. The male’s wing markings appear electric blue under the right light, and they appear almost butterfly-like in the way that they move."


Photo by David Pritchard


"For this image, I used extension tubes to increase my working distance, and then chose a combination of aperture and focal length that allowed me to include some of the foreground grasses without them detracting from the main subject which added some layering to the photo."

Blue tailed damselfly

Photo by David Pritchard

"This Damselfly was resting a few feet over the water and due to the bright sunshine,  I was able to use a couple of extension tubes (totalling 56mm) to bring the insect within range. This meant I was able to throw the background out of focus more than normal." 

Photo by David Pritchard

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sparrowhawk Plus
12 282 2 United Kingdom
22 Aug 2015 8:29AM
Macj 4 United Kingdom
17 Sep 2019 3:23PM
Nice pics and advice but no mention of focal length of lens used.
garry5960 5 1 United Kingdom
25 Aug 2021 11:09AM
Please can you share what zoom lense was used please. Thanks

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