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The Outstanding Painted Lady Butterfly Photography


Butterfly is one of the most beautiful and wonderful creature in the world. The natural colors, patterns and shapes of Butterfly are so delicate and attractive that we never hesitate to photographing it. They are sharp fast and flit from one place to another place in search of nectar. All the day they search for nectar rich flower and plants. They are found abundance on a sunny day because there body needs the heat of the sun. On early cool morning they widely open the wings towards the sun in an exposed manner to warm their flight muscles. This is the best time to get close to it and photograph it creatively. In early morning, two things is in our favors

  1.   Firstly, in early morning, they flit to nectar rich flowers and plants. So it completes our frame of butterfly photograph with flower or plants give us creative compositions.
  2. Secondly, in early morning, they need heat for their muscles. So they widely open their wings. This is the best time to photographs butterfly wings colors efficiently.

Butterfly is usually afraid by the gesture and posture of human body. Create a friendly environment with butterflies. Do not disturb him during the time when they are enjoying nectar of flowers and plants. When you create a friendly environment with butterflies it will expose his secret beauty to you.

Butterfly photography look creative when the main subject (butterfly) is composed sharp and fully focus within the frame and keeping the background blurred.

There are two main pillars to successful butterfly photography


The angles from which you are shooting the subject are the first pillar to successful butterfly photography. The angles of photographing butterfly are not always under your control because sometime it didn’t give you enough time to set your angles and background. It is hard to get a butterfly still sit on desire place to get the best angle and background.try to shoot your butterfly from unexpected angles to get creative results. Shooting your butterfly from an angle from which you never seen any butterfly photography. Choose the angles from which your butterfly looks sharp, and stunning in the frame.        


the background is the second pillar to successful butterfly photography. Everything that comes behind your subject is your background. Choose your background carefully it defines your subject a lot. Background makes your subject sharp and pop out of picture’s usually preferred green background with different colors of butterfly like orange red yellow colors. Makes your background an obstruct color blurred by keeping distance between the subject and the background.try to shoot parallel to your subject so that you can get a proper blurry background behind your subject. Always choose a simple background so that it doesn’t compete with the subject.

Some butterfly photography tips

       Where and when to shoot butterfly 

Where to shoot butterflies

Butterfly are usually found in nectar rich flower and plants in the gardens and fields. Where they comes to get nectar from it. It is the best place to get photographs because the butterflies spend a lot of time still sit on flowers and leaves. There is enough time to accurately photograph your butterfly.

When to shoot butterfly

The spring is the seasons of greatest abundance of butterfly most species. In the seasons of spring plants and flowers are in peak condition.  Thus provide nectar for the adult butterflies at these times. The month of January to April is the best month to get abundant of many species of butterfly. Go out in early morning 6to7 am to butterflies of different species.

   Study your subject

There is nothing better than to be prepared for the subject you will be working with in the field. The butterfly flitting around us all day. But it is hard to get still sit butterfly on the flower or plants. Researching about their can greatly enhance the quality of images you are producing. When you understand their behaviors you will be able to control the angels and background for your photographs.


In butterfly photography as general in all photography lights is everything. It is the light that defines the subject, shows the shape and forms to the viewer’s eyes. Butterfly photography is mostly done with the help of natural lights. As the sun change it position in the sky it form to types of lighting situation in photography butterflies.

When the sun is behind your camera and their lights directly fall on the subject. The sun lights, lighting the whole subject. It makes your subject sharp, colorful and there is enough light to accurately measure the desire scene.

When the sun is behind your subject. The sun behind your subject makes your subject gives dramatic photographs of the butterfly. The lights fall on the scene makes the background fantastic and makes the subject little dark. The sun lighting behind your subject creates deeper colors of your subject.


Modes of shooting

Photography are one of the best ways to share one’s butterfly experience with others. Auto focus doesn’t always work well when shooting butterfly photography so switch your camera to fully manual so that you’ll get sharp butterfly photography.  When I start shooting butterfly, I try to shoot it in manual mode and manual focus. When we are painting with lights it’s depend upon us that how much lights is required to creates a proper butterfly  photograph. There are three main setting used to control lights.

 Shutter speed

The butterfly is sharp and fastest moving living organism. When dealing with such kind of subject we need a high shutter speed to freeze the wings and to show the natural colors of the butterfly. Shutter speed like 1/500 to 1/1200 to freeze motion. To get the sharp image possible use a fastest shutter speed possible.


Aperture controls the depth of field. The real story began with aperture. There is a time when you want your subject to be in sharp focus. While keeping the background out of focus. You can make an efficient use of the aperture to create a shallow depth of field and get the background blurred. To create a shallow depth of field you need to know your lens that at which aperture value it creates a shallow depth of field. My lens Nikon 55-200mmVR creates a shallow depth of field with an aperture value of f/5.6 to f/8 with a few feet distance from the subject.


THE butterfly is usually found on a sunny day. So on the sunny day, we have more than enough light available to photograph butterfly. We need an iso100-200 as high noise ratios will affect the details in the image.

Try to shoot your butterfly in manual mode by keeping the shutter speed high 1/500 to1/1200 while keeping the aperture value to f/5.6 to f/8 and is 100-200 depend upon situation

your butterfly photography will be sharp, stunning and look professional with bokeh. There is two ways to creates a big bokeh.
Keep at least 10 meters distance between the subject and the background to get an abstract pattern colors in background.
Keep the subject parallel to your camera to create a big bokeh. By paralleling the subject you can choose a best background.


photography is one of the most important ways to promote the importance of all living organism in the world. I feel proud of my work and share it happily with others. The knowledge I gain while photographing is great and the benefits to other are priceless. Learning to respect and appreciate the nature.


30 thoughts on “A Complete guide for Butterfly Photography

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