Thursday, 17 March 2011

Bees, bugs and butterflies.

How do you photograph insects? I would love to be able to take good photos of the many insects that inhabit the garden. Is there a trick to it, is it skill or is it luck? Some one must know. I've seen so many great photos it can't be just luck.
The bee was so intent on gathering pollen it didn't mind having it's photo taken so I at least had time to line up and to focus. Most of the time they are so busy going about their business and so quick I can't even line up a shot, let alone have it in focus.

I even had a few to choose from.

I can photograph lady bugs but they're pretty boring just sitting there.

I would like to be able to take action shots.

This guy was flitting back and forth near the pond so, with the camera set on its "fast action" setting, I clicked in his direction every time he came close or landed.  Most of my shots had no dragonfly in them or just part of a wing in one corner.

Trying to take a photo of the Blue Triangle Butterfly I thought I'd missed completely
This was the original picture I took but when I zoomed and cropped, there it was just in the top of the picture.

Admittedly a teensy bit out of focus but there it was.

and further down in the grass was his mate.


Maybe I should just stick to taking pictures of cute lttle bugs that will pose and smile.

I'd really like to know how others get such wonderful insect shots. Can anyone help?


  1. I only ever manage to photograph slow insects. But I take lots of photos and then crop and fiddle with iphoto. I would love to be able to take photos of butterflies but have never had any luck. I only have a compact automatic Canon camera. I think you have to have a good camera and a long lens. I will be interested to hear what others say.

  2. Missy,
    That is exactly what I want to know too! You got some good shots there - I think most of the time you have to take lots to get one good one. That triangle butterfly is really pretty - I havnt seen many butterflies lately - I think they are waiting for some sunshine (same as me!)I am still learning my camera (If I sat down to read the book it would help LOL) and I also have that fast action feature but have never used it. Dragonflies are supposed to be very beneficial insects and I have noticed a lot of them around. Hopefully you get some good tips and I can gain from them too!

  3. I think its about taking lots and lots and then just finding the good ones. I love digital for this reason as you can see photos straight away and can take as many as you like.
    Isn't that a twenty something spot lady beetle in the photo - I thought they were the bad ones.

  4. Check out my post for today - I envied the skill of some bloggers and photographers when they took bug photos - I was wandering and took a photo of a grasshopper - not really a friend in the garden but the joy of seeing a photo of an in focus, somewhat right photo is great. Its worth that awesome photo so keep taking the photos - the prefect photo may not be perfect to others but when one works out just they way you want it you won't be able to stop smiling.

  5. Those cute little bugs on the last photo are the best Missy! :)

    Can't help much with the technical bits as I'm an insta click sort of photographer. Although I believe in the dictum, 'take as many as possible and hope one turns out good!'. :)

  6. Hi Missy, This is a hilarious post. I enjoy your photos as well as story. Those cute smiles are really good.

    I know I don't take the best photos but I love taking shots of bugs. I use a small point and shoot camera. I place the camera very, very near to the bug before clicking. I am contented with taking boring bugs without action. I find that they don't look that boring when we focus on their eyes... if possible.

    Looking forward to more bug photos from you. :)

  7. Missy, I think you have the process down very well...I can only photograph bugs sitting perfectly still. Your dragonfly turned out wonderfully...the last time I tried to capture one of those in flight all we had was a bunch of sky shots. I think it has a lot to do with the camera and fiddling with the settings. (I'm not much of a help, am I?)

  8. The secret to great bug pics is probably patience. ;-) I noticed that you had no trouble taking the last pic, those are the kind of bugs anyone would love to find in their garden.

  9. Missy, what a wonderful looking bee you have in your garden. Lovely blue. I think some turned out really well. Butterflies must be the hardest thing to do, they often sense you coming and take off before you can focus. Guess practice makes perfect, so keep at it. Thing is don't overzoom from the free hand, because it requires perfect still. The pro's use a tripod and wait patiently or have a very specialised camera which can take very fast pics.
    Nice to meet your creepy crawlies and winglets here.

  10. You have some nice captures in the set.

    If you have a macro setting (white flower sign) on your camera, this allows you to get close to a nonmovin insect (usually a finger width away, ~1-2 cm).

    If it is an insect that moves around and you can adjust the shutter speed setting or your camera, then you want the shutter to open and close very quickly to minimize blurring cause by motion.

    If you are not able to adjust the shutter speed and your camera has mode or scene options, then you might want to try using the moving shot mode (usually with a running man sign).

    You can also try to increase your resolution to the highest possible setting and minimize using your digital zoom. Then you can just crop the picture and the resolution should not be compromised as much.

    I am not a professional, these things are just what I do on my point and shoot.

  11. Missy, I thought you had really good bee photos and your dragonfly too, even if it took awhile. The kiddies are cuties.


I would love to know what you think and appreciate your comments.


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