Butterfly Photography for beginners is the title and today I was the beginner at the Butterfly House near Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. https://www.butterflyhouse.co.uk
Every now and then I like going out of my landscape photography comfort zone and today was one of those days. I fancied getting hot and sweaty in the tropical house and trying my hand at some butterfly photography.
On arrival in the carpark, there were 4 coach loads of small children filing out of their coach in lines all with yellow high visibility vests on, photographing butterflies over! Not at all, I enjoyed watching the small children’s faces as much as photographing the butterflies, bless them. There was much outside to do and see so at times I almost had the butterfly house to myself and when a school party did come through they were all very good and loved seeing the birds and butterflies fly around their heads, bless! The teachers kept apologising when they noticed the camera in my hand but no need at all, the children’s faces were more interesting than the wildlife.
Here is what I learned about butterfly photography, I hope it helps some of you, I am still very much learning myself so we are all beginners together.
- If you have image stabilization on your lens, switch it on if you are hand holding the camera as I did. A tripod would be ideal but not always permitted or practical depending on where you are and how many people are around you.
- When you are at your chosen spot, take a look around first and notice which plants and flowers the butterflies like and are landing and feeding on, try not to go in shutters blazing even though that is a very tempting thing to do, chill, slow down and use your eyes.
- In photography light is everything, wait until the butterfly is front lit by the sun or indeed backlit. I didn’t necessarily do that but know for next time.
- Don’t be afraid to up the ISO a little to gain a faster shutter speed, my ISO varied depending on the shot from 200 to 1600 ISO – my shutter speed also varied between 1/60 sec and 1/250 sec, the glass house was well lit so I did not need to go sports fast, but don’t be afraid to do so especially if you are trying to catch butterflies in flight. Modern cameras are more than capable of taking these settings in their stride.
- By all mean have a walk around for the best spot but do not try chasing butterflies LOL, they are way faster and more agile than you, wait patiently for the subject to come to you in your chosen spot.
- Include the flower in your composition and avoid shooting butterflies with tattered and damaged wings.
- For still butterflies use single point focus and put the focus square on the head. For moving or fluttering butterflies continuous focus may be a better option.
Photography kit wise I travelled light today, I took the Fuji X-T2 and 55 to 200 – 3.5 to 4.6 lens (excellent!) – 2 spare 3rd party batteries (not needed) and a small lens cloth (not needed).
Oh, I had Lasagna, Chips and Peas (a strange combination that just worked!) in the cafe before coming home. Yum!
I have many other butterfly images but thought I would mix things up with a few other creatures of nature and beauty…
Thanks for reading, any questions don’t hesitate to ask below 🙂