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Photographing Butterflies

Getting the Best Photos

Approaching a Butterfly: Probably the best time for photographing butterflies is in the early, morning when temperatures are fairly low and butterflies are just warming up. Look for a place where butterflies are common and at rest: when on flowers, when taking moisture from mud and sand, during mating, or when basking in the sun. When following a butterfly, the 2 guiding principles are low and slow. Try to keep your body even with or not much higher than the butterfly and avoid rapid or jerky movements. Kneel a few feet from the butterfly and slowly inch forward. With your eye to the viewfinder, flash in place, and finger on the shutter release, slowly lean forward until the butterfly is in focus and snap the picture. Framing: Try to aim so that the butterfly is at the center of the frame. Position the camera lens at a right angle to the butterfly's wings. If a butterfly is resting on a flower with its wings spread, shoot from above; if the wings are folded vertically over the back, approach it from the side. Always aim the flash at the butterfly's head, because it is aesthetically more pleasing to have the head and wings well lit, even if the underside is in shadow.


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