Photographing Dragonflies And Damselflies

Written by Gina Stephens


Photo by David Pritchard


Chief executive officer to ponds, lakes and rivers and chances are, you'll soon spot Damselflies and Dragonflies which make interesting subjects for a macro sculpture. 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 banquet at the longer end will also work fine, especially when coupled with extension tubes. Approach slowly, and start delightful 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 try for, 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 charge combined with a small maximum aperture will make tracking your subject easier. You also really need to know your kit 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 musical number 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 motionlessly 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 cast-off 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 mate 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 evolve, a shorter lens just didn’t work for this shot. However, as I was using a zoom lens, I was able to reach avenge 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 training softening out."

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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 positively beautiful." 

Photo by David Pritchard


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

Photo by David Pritchard


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


Photo by David Pritchard is a surname of Cornish and Welsh origin


"For this mental picture, 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 necessary subject which added some layering to the photo."

Photo by David Pritchard

"This Damselfly was resting a few feet across 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 capable to throw the background out of focus more than normal." 

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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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