A dragonfly is one of the most fascinating creatures. Their beautiful colors and patterns make them one of nature’s most attractive insects. Unfortunately, there are many factors that could cause a dragonfly to take a less than perfect picture.
Here we share a few tips to help you capture the beauty of a dragonfly in a picture that you’ll be proud to show off.
Always plan ahead when taking pictures of a dragonfly.
To take a perfect shot, you need to be ready with the correct settings and composition before you press the shutter button.
The best time to photograph a dragonfly is just as they are emerging from the water, either still clinging to the surface or having just flown out of the water.
Try setting up your tripod before you go outside. That way you’ll be able to move around easily without getting in the way of the insect.
If you are using a macro lens (such as a telephoto lens), you may have to take your camera closer to the dragonfly than normal.
Use a tripod
One of the most important rules of photography is to use a tripod. The reason is simple – your camera doesn’t move and your tripod stays put!
With a tripod in place, you can choose to use a wide angle lens (28mm to 70mm) to take a close-up shot of your dragonfly, or zoom in to a telephoto (100mm to 300mm) to take a photo from further away.
Lighting is key
Dragonflies are extremely sensitive to light, especially the color yellow. When you set up your tripod, you need to make sure that the sun is not shining directly into the camera.
You can achieve this by placing your tripod on top of a rock, fence, or other object that will block the light.
Also, make sure that there are no bright reflections from windows or car windscreens on your subject.
Use a flash
Using a flash will improve the overall appearance of your photo. It will make the dragonfly look more colorful and vibrant.
However, don’t use a flash for your close-up shots. The flash will not provide the necessary light for your subjects.
When you first begin photographing, it can be difficult to get the settings exactly right. You should practice with your camera until you are familiar with the process.
Once you’re comfortable with the camera settings, you’ll be able to make photos that are the best you can.
Keep your camera steady
Taking a perfect shot of your dragonfly can be tough, but it’s worth persevering.
You’ll need to find a way to get your camera to stay steady as you focus. If you’re using a tripod, you might need to add some weight to the tripod to prevent it from moving.
Some people use a remote release to trigger the shutter, while others prefer to keep their camera as hands free as possible.
Whatever method you use, the result will be a crisp, clear image that you can be proud to share on social media.
The perfect shot.
To capture a beautiful dragonfly picture, you need to know exactly where to look for the insect. Many species hide by day under plant leaves, logs or stones and are therefore hard to see. However, there are two main ways to find them.
Look for dragonflies on the wing.
They spend much of their lives on the wing, flying from one feeding site to another. To photograph this activity, you need to set up your camera to shoot fast action, either at shutter speeds slower than 1/100 second or in burst mode. Then wait, with your finger on the button, until you get the perfect shot. The best time to take a photo of a dragonfly on the wing is just after it has landed on a flower, as you will get a sharp image.
Lure dragonflies with a small water source.
The majority of dragonflies feed on plants and insects, so they are attracted to clear water, such as puddles and ponds. When they fly to drink, they can be caught in the act. To make a natural looking pond, use a plastic or metal pail, and keep it in a sheltered place.
Set up a tripod and get close to the edge of the pond. Adjust your lens so that the dragonfly appears large. Turn off any flash or strobe light. If possible, find a sunny day. If you are using a long lens, stand on a ladder. Use your zoom to set the focus. Keep the shutter speed very low. Wait until the moment the dragonfly takes its first sip of water. This is the best time to click the shutter.
Use a macro lens and shoot from as close as possible.
A macro lens enables you to magnify the subject, so that details appear clearly. To take a dragonfly macro photograph, set your camera on a tripod and focus on the insect. Choose a short focal length – 50mm to 100mm – and turn off any flash. To get the right level of magnification, keep the subject at the same distance from the camera.
When you get the perfect shot, look at the LCD screen on the back of the camera and check the aperture and shutter speed. The number on the aperture setting should be f/11 and the shutter speed should be around 1/250 second. If these settings aren’t correct, change them, then take another shot.