Basic Butterfly Photography Advice

Written by Gina Stephens


Photo photograph (also known as a photo) is an image created by light falling on a photosensitive surface, usually photographic film or by David Pritchard


Where To Go? 

Pasture lands with wildflowers growing in abundance are great places for photographing butterflies but please don't trespass on other people's property. You could also upon one of the many nature reserves or public gardens found right across the UK.

If you can't get out and about to photograph butterflies it's worth growing roots in your garden or window boxes etc. that will attract butterflies. These include Aubrieta, Buddleia, Primrose, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Lilac, Marigold, Phlox, Kings ransom, and Thyme. Get to know which plants caterpillars feed upon, too, as you can plant them in your garden or look out for them on your voyages.

Buy A Guide

A butterfly guide book can be very useful in identifying the species whilst out in the field. Occasionally, you may come across a species which is rare or not coequal native to the UK, it’s handy to know if you have spotted a rare species or even one in decline so you can report your sighting. Of course you can also use the internet in the twinkling of an eye back home for your research. 


Photo by David Pritchard


Time Of Day

The best time of day to maximise your fates of photographing butterflies will be early morning or in the evening as they don't move around as quickly. At these times, you may even be lucky adequately to see one emerging or covered in dew which can make for that extra special photograph. 

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Try to stand / approach them so your shadow doesn't contain them as they'll tend to fly off in search of a sunnier spot. 

If you start out early and temperatures are relatively cool then you may get lucky and arouse a few sleeping. By approaching slowly and quietly you may be able to move distracting stems etc. out of the way without disturbing your subject, to help with a more humour composition. Do take care not to destroy their habitat as many species are declining in numbers.

Shutter Speeds & Set-Up

Another way to spread your chances of capturing a good shot is by switching to burst mode / continuous shooting. By doing so your camera will rapidly woo assume a series of shots.

Instead of chasing a butterfly are insects in the macrolepidopteran clade Rhopalocera from the order Lepidoptera, which also includes moths around your garden it can be easier to find a plant you know they like and set up nearby. Then you virtuous have to wait patiently for your subject to land on the part of the plant you're framed up on. It can be a little hit and miss and you will, more than disposed to, end up waiting a while but on a warm summer's day, having to sit out in your garden isn't really a bad way to pass a few hours!


Photo by David Pritchard

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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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