keith browne's picture

Capturing Butterflies on Camera

Having recently taken up photography im keen to capture all kinds of wild life esp via macro photography.My biggest problem is finding how to keep certain subject still why photo them, ie Butterflies!
Any help and tips would be most helpful and appreciated, thank you :-)



Fenwickfield's picture


I have in the past chased them round the garden trying to get a shot but now I just sit patiently next to the flowers there feeding on and then I am prepared to get the photo.Also the best places are very sunny spots they love so see what's in flower in your garden and patience is needed in large amounts for every good photo there will be 20 blur's

Good luck


keith browne's picture

photo shots

thank you for yr reply, yes i now know i'll have to gain lots of patience in taking nature pictures, thank you for yr advice which i will keep in mind try out s much as possible

RoyW's picture

Weather conditions

One thing to take into account is the weather conditions on the days, and at the time, that you go out.

While the middle part of warm, sunny days are when you are most likely to see the largest number of butterflies, these are also the conditions in which they are more likely to be very active, and therefore difficult to photograph.

If you go out early in the day, or on cool days with only brief spells of sunshine, you will find that butterflies are more difficult to locate, but when you do see them they are much less likely to be active - and when the sun does come out they are likely to spread their wings and turn themselves to towards the sun to try and warm up (similar 'rules' apply for some dragonflies and damselflies - my favourite subjects).

As has already been said, finding areas that are regularly visited can also work well. As well as flowers, some species will come to the ground to take on moisture and/or 'salts'.

keith browne's picture

thank you very much for yr

thank you very much for yr advice, well made up and looking to use yr expertise in capturing this wonderful creatures, thanks

Roger Gilbert's picture

If you have a telephoto facility ......

and you use it you don't need to get so close and there is less likelihood of spooking the butterfly.

Howardian Local Nature Reserve

keith browne's picture



carlj's picture

Capturing butterflies


What lens are you using, if a dslr? If you use a compact then the minimum focussing distance could be a factor. I use a Tamron 70~300mm with it's half life size macro mode, allowing me to be 1 metre away which is sufficient to shoot, without scaring the subject overly. If I have a chance to get closer, I'll switch to the Sigma 105mm macro, with a distance of 1/3m.

Additionally, with the low shutter speeds, I'll also add a blip of flash, either pop up or off camera.


keith browne's picture

thanks carl, i actually tried

thanks carl, i actually tried using my tamron 70-300 yesterday and managed to capture a couple decent shots, thanks once again

carlj's picture


It's my mine workhorse for the summer (when not shooting weddings that is) sorties. I tend to pop up my flash, at -1 flash compensation. Allows an aperture of F11-16 and freezes movement too.