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Thread: Not your typical butterfly shots

  1. #1
    Frankie's Avatar
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    Not your typical butterfly shots

    As much as i love capturing the beauty of the butterfly, I also find that I'm drawn to the more unique shots. So these are not your typical pretty butterfly photos. I'm playing with some post processing and cropping, so I welcome all C&C!

    Not your typical butterfly shots


    Not your typical butterfly shots


    Not your typical butterfly shots


    Not your typical butterfly shots

  2. #2
    Camellia's Avatar
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    Raylee

    Re: Not your typical butterfly shots

    Hi Frankie

    I can see what you are trying to do with these shots and I think it's worth pursuing. A couple of suggestions:

    Photo 1: I like the way you have positioned the butterfly but I'd move it a bit more to the right still. I'd try cropping so the long stem started in the lower right corner of the pic. The stem is overexposed so it's drawing the eye to it rather than the butterfly. Try burning the stem a bit. Have you done any sharpening?

    Photo 2: Again I like the composition but the flower is too bright. You want the butterfly to be the centre of attention and the flower is competing at the moment. I'd try burning the flower to lessen its impact.

    Photo 3: I love the side view of the butterfly. I think it's too centred though and could do with a crop on the left. Have you cropped this image? I like the ratio so if you have an uncropped version, try cropping so the flower is to the left edge and there is negative space to the right of the butterfly.

    Photo 4: Same as with 3 - try recropping using the rule of thirds.

    I like the way you've captured the shape and delicacy of the butterflies in these photos.

    I look forward to seeing more.

    R

  3. #3

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    Re: Not your typical butterfly shots

    From my experience of butterflies and similar subjects, Frankie, I find that it is usually best to decide which is the most important, the insect or the flower, and work specifically for that result.

    For me, the most important thing is to first get a few good insect identification angles. Then, if the opportunity still exists, I will try something more artistic and include a suitable background. If you can get an ideal angle which shows both the insect and flower in good focus, you will have a perfect photo. It does happen sometimes, but not as often as I would like.

    But providing the main subject is well lit and sharp you can usually get away with a bit of blurring in the flower.

    Whenever possible I prefer to manually focus so that the insect head, and particularly the eyes are sharp. But sometimes, quite often in fact, they move a lot faster than I can focus. If using auto focus, just having the centre focus point usually helps to reduce false focus problems.

    Exposure is always tricky for this type of shot. I prefer spot metering and if in doubt I would rather under expose and recover some brightness during editing. Using flash can sometimes work, but you need to experiment with the exposure settings.

    I find that a tripod is essential for good focus. Difficult to use in dense undergrowth I admit, but in that case I sometimes set the legs a bit closer together; be aware that it may then become unstable and fall if you remove your steading hands.

    Once you get 'bitten by the macro bug' though the results can be very rewarding.

  4. #4
    Frankie's Avatar
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    Re: Not your typical butterfly shots

    Thank you both for your great suggestions, and I'll play around a little more as I try to learn some Post Processing software. I volunteer at the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum, so I have lots of opportunities.

    Thanks again for your suggestions.

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