A few days ago I spent a couple of peaceful hours at the new Butterfly Biosphere at Thanksgiving Point. Butterflies are often hard to photograph for the obvious reasons. They move quickly, they blend in with flowers and foliage, they're small and have tiny patterns, etc. Below I've posted some of my favorite shots from the day along with some tips about taking better photos of these beautiful creatures.
1. First and foremost, be patient and plan to spend a lot of time just observing and waiting.
2. Plan on taking hundreds, if not thousands of photos to get a few that you like and are in focus.
3. Use any lens you have, however, for the photos below, I used a telephoto lens.
4. Look for a monochromatic background that coordinates and/or contrasts with the colors in the butterfly to make an interesting composition.
5. Fill the frame with the butterfly, (zoom or crop), to show intricate shapes, colors and textures.
6. Try to isolate the butterfly a good distance from the background and surrounding foliage to make it stand out.
7. Coordinate the colors of the butterfly with a color in the background for a pleasing composition.
8. Create a small depth of field that blurs the background so the butterfly is not competing with other objects surrounding it or behind it. (Small f number.)
9. Often we view butterflies from above, looking down as they sit on flowers or foliage. Find different points of view, like this one that shows antennae and profile of head.
10. Look for unique compositions that will be eye catching and interesting.
My goal was to make the butterfly in each of the above photos the focal point and subject of the images. Below is an example of a photo that is alright but did not meet my goal This is more of an environmental nature shot where the scene is as important as the butterfly. It is not as impactful if the subject is the butterfly.