In addition to techniques, to shooting butterflies, we also have to pay attention to the choice of equipment. It often takes time to complete. The previous article “Hong Kong Butterfly Photography Sharing-Introduction to Species” has briefly introduced the personality and orientation of various butterflies. As the second part, let me share some of my shooting skills!


My Equipment Selection

Generally speaking, I think the best thing for butterfly photography is “Mirco”. If you can, you should bring an external flash. Since I am a Nikon user,

My personal choice is: AF-S VR Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED and AF-S 300mm f/4 IF-ED
Flashing lights choose Nissin’s ring flashing light MF-18 ( .hk / mf18.html)

One hundred Micro One Telephoto

The use of different focal length lenses can change the photo, there are advantages and disadvantages, the combination of one hundred micro-one telephoto has also been mentioned in the previous article.

Macro Lens — Mirco, mainly used to correspond to some small butterflies or stable species.
For example Hesperiidae, Lycaenidae, or Danaidae.
These butterfly families are not high in mind, of course, there is a certain degree, so the focal length needs to be 100mm or more, referred to as “100 Micro”.
Just take your time and approach carefully.

But a hundred microlens is not enough to shoot all varieties. Some species fly high and are very fast and inaccessible. At this point, it is the appearance time of the telephoto lens.
However, the flexibility of the telephoto lens is relatively low, and the walking distance becomes longer. As shown below


To get the best shooting angle, you need to walk slowly


If the focal length is short, you may only need to move your arm.

Many times they will have some different angles, some species wings are always facing the sky.
To successfully shoot it from the top down, you need a hundred micrometers shorter than the telephoto lens, because you can’t fly above it to shoot it.


It can be seen that different lenses require different angles.

Four Tips to Butterfly Photography

(1) Pay Attention to the Shooting Angle


Butterflies live in flowers and grass, seemingly messy. The most effective way to get rid of the mess is with shallow depth of field.
Of course, what I mean by shallow depth of field does not refer to the shallowness of 1.4 apertures, but rather shallower than general insect photography. When using a hundred microlens, I use between f/5.6-f/13.

To make the whole butterfly clear under a shallow depth of field, so that it can pop in a messy environment. In most cases, they are shot on the front side of the butterfly.
As long as there is a slight deviation in all directions, there is a chance to blur the butterflies body. (As shown below)


When shooting, it just shifted slightly to the right, which caused the left side of the wings to appear blurred.

If it is a butterfly species because they have small wings and a large body.


Photography is very arbitrary, of course, there are no certain restrictions. In addition to the above methods, you can try other angles.


(2) Cooperate with the Environment


Baiwei is the most common lens for butterfly photography because it can shoot small butterflies and has almost no “closest focus distance” problem, so it has high flexibility.

(Actually, I also like Micro’s XD)


Add cutting considerations when shooting, first shoot and then frame



After (there is considerable sharpness after cropping)


I often persuade my friends to do eco-photography and tell them that shooting ecology is good training for “The Decisive Moment”.
Ecological photography is very close to this concept. It is inevitable to ” observe the behavior of the target”, “wait for the best action”, attention to speed, often the best shooting moments are fleeting.”
It’s really not easy to complete the entire photography process in an unexpected moment. However, the current camera pixels are getting higher and higher, and even many entry-level SLRs have reached 24mp.

Taking the D800 I used as an example, the crop takes two-thirds and 12mp. It is better to use the strongest intermediate focus point to capture the target first then cut the composition when making the post.
Because the composition time is saved when shooting according to the above method, it takes less than one second from the start to the shooting.

The same method can be used when shooting some very high-speed varieties, and a wider angle of view can help track the target
before shooting.


After (There is still considerable sharpness after cutting!)


(4) Pay attention to Shooting Speed


The shutter needs to be between 200 and 2000, depending on the type.
Because of the speed problem that this is why the safety shutter is not mentioned in the above telephoto description because the shutter speed required for shooting butterflies is already much higher than the safety shutter.


1/1600 f / 4 iso: 160

1/1600 f / 4 iso: 160

1/5000s f/4 iso:640

1/5000s f/4 iso:640

Generally, the stationary type only needs to be above the safety shutter.

1/200 f / 11 iso: 640

1/200 f / 11 iso: 640

Butterfly photography experience is not limited to the above four points the light source, the butterfly, and so on have been discussed.”
However, I believe that as long as you understand the nature of the butterfly and the above four points, you should be able to take great photos. In the future, I will also share all aspects of the experience of a Butterfly Photo.

Personal Facebook:
More photos:
My Blog:

↓↓ Share ↓↓

Author: Kalon Yuen