For many nature photographers, butterflies are a favorite subject among their photography works. However, it’s really difficult to photograph these pretty sensitive creatures since butterflies always fly from one flower to another, which means that photographers almost have no enough time to get ready for shoot. The following are some basic tips for macro butterfly photography, and I believe those who get good butterfly photographs have already keep these tips in mind.
1. Use right equipments
A long macro lens As butterflies are sensitive and usually fly away when you approach too closely, a macro lens with a longer focal length will be better. Some pros suggested that at least a 100mm lens should be used while a 50mm or 60mm lens is too short.
A fast shutter The butterfly is always moving which means that you probably have only seconds to shoot the scene. In order to help capture the still butterfly and increase the chances of getting a sharp photo, use a fast shutter by increasing your ISO to 400.
A tripod A tripod could provide some stability when you are shooting the butterfly. But, we know we have no time to prepare everything as the butterfly moves quickly, so keep the head loose and then you could move the camera quickly as well.
2. Shoot in cold weather
Generally, you are able to approach the butterflies more easily in the early morning to get a good macro shot. As it’s still too cold for butterflies to warm up their body to fly away, you could have more time to get everything ready and make your image. Sometimes, you can also grasp this kind of chance in the late afternoon or evening.
3. Move slowly, be patient
When trying to get close to a butterfly, you should move slowly to approach it. Be careful that don’t block the sun or the butterflies may fly away. When composing your image, you’d better still keep your action slow, just be patient for every step and possibly try again all the steps.
4. Stay still & wait for the butterfly
If you have tried many times to approach the butterfly which results in no satisfied pictures, wait for the butterfly. Pick a flower which is perched on by butterflies again and again, setup your tripod and camera there, and then stay still to wait until the next butterfly lands. “Be patient though: it might be 15-20 minutes before a butterfly shows up.” said by a photographer with experience.
5. Get a calm background
The background is very important in all kinds of photography. Make sure you get a calm background which is not distracting or has something that would ruin the photograph, such as bright flowers or stems of other plants. Use the depth of field preview button of your camera to check the background.
Hope these basic tips are helpful for nature photography beginners. Wish all of you could have fun shooting butterflies and get interesting & wonderful macro shots of butterflies.