New to Macro a few butterflies

Started Aug 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,792
Re: New to Macro a few butterflies
In reply to davidrestes, Aug 15, 2012

I think you did pretty well for a first time at photographing butterfiles. I'm sure if you looked through the files of even an experienced butterfly photographers you would find that many of their images were similar. With butterflies to get that great composition and the standout image, you have to work hard and take lots of images. Also from experience you get a better idea of what opportunity might produce a good image, and what opportunities are likely to result in you wasting your time. In other words with more experience you focus your efforts on the opportunities likely to produce the best results.

The 2 main practical difficulties you will face in getting great butterfly shots is:

1) Getting the plane of focus to cover as much as the butterfly as possible. The DOF is very shallow, but they have a large surface area. So generally the best butterfly shots make the most of that shallow DOF and it covers most of the butterfly. Getting a shallow DOF to cover as much of the butterfly possible is a difficult trick to pull off.

2) Butterflies, especially when feeding never stay still, they constantly fidget and swivel around. This makes it very difficult to anticipate what will be in the frame when you press the shutter.

I'd say from the images that you already have a reasonable idea of good compositions. It looks like you were going for a good composition. But as I say, bringing it all together in one shot is the tricky part.

There are quite a few approaches to butterfly shots that work, and some of it is taste. I'd recommend looking at butterfly shots that you really like, and which you think work. Then working out how to get them. In other words a process of working out how to get a similar shot, trying it, and seeing whether it works. You might then need to adapt. A lot of macro photography is essentially a problem solving exercise to get to where you want. The real secret though is getting perpendicular to your subject, not so easy when it won't stay still. It's easy to get one plane parallel, but not over the whole 360 degrees of the butterfly, that's the tricky bit.

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