Now that we’re in the middle of summer (here in the northern hemisphere), there’s lots of insects flying around. Some of them are cool looking and some are just really annoying (like those pesky mosquitoes!).
But, if you’re looking to photograph some of the not so annoying ones, here are a few tips:
#1 – Don’t cast your shadow on them
Insects love the Sun, so if you cast a shadow on them, they’ll almost always fly away. I’ve also noticed that if you scare them in this way, they’re unlikely to come back to that same spot. So, when you’re approaching an insect to photograph, be very careful about where your shadow falls.
#2 – Look for them in cooler weather
Insects need the heat of the Sun to use their wings, so when it’s cooler out, it’s harder for them to move around–they’re less likely to fly away as you approach them. Sometimes on overcast summer days, I’ve been able to get my lens just inches away from butterflies that seem to be “stuck” to a flower.
Or, you could also try looking for insects around sunrise or sunset, when they’ll often be “sleeping” on a plant somewhere, allowing you to get super close. If you’re lucky, you’ll even catch them with some dew on them 🙂
#3 – Wait patiently for them to return if you scare them away
If you happen to scare an insect away from a great perch with a great background, don’t worry. Many insects tend to use the same perch over and over again. So, be patient, and wait for them to return. Also, remember not to cast your shadow on their perch while they’re gone, since they’ll unlikely return if it’s in the shade.
Check out my Dad’s free ebook for more great tips!
A couple years ago, my Dad (Vic Berardi) wrote a great ebook on photographing dragonflies. It’s packed with a ton of great tips that also apply to photographing just about any insect. So, if you’re new to PhotoNaturalist, and haven’t checked it out yet, please do! 🙂
Click here to read more about the ebook.
What did I miss?
If you have another trick for photographing insects, please share it with us by leaving a comment below! Thanks 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains or the Mojave Desert, both located in the beautiful state of California.