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Butterflies & Dragonflies

If you are just taking up wildlife photography but don’t know where to start then read on because I think these two workshops will be ideal for you. On the other hand if you are already photographing these subjects but struggling with some of the technical aspects of close-up and macro photography then they are also ideal for you as well! The reason I can make these statements is because, regardless of the subject matter, I tailor my workshop tuition to suit each client’s abilities.


A Small Tortoiseshell on Lavender in my Garden

Did you know that the total number of breeding butterfly and dragonfly species in Britain is relatively small if we compare them to subjects like birds or wild flowers? Note that I include damselflies when using the term dragonflies. There are many that you can photograph in your own garden especially if you grow the right kind of plants to attract them.

If we disregard the migrants that come over from the Continent there are approximately 60 species of butterflies and 40 species of dragonflies to be found in the UK. Therefore it would be possible, in theory, to photograph every one of them in a single year. Yeah right!


The delicate Wood White


The Painted Lady

Well maybe that would be a bit optimistic however, unless you were really unlucky, with a bit of effort it is certainly something you could achieve in two or three years. You would need to do a lot of research to find out where the best breeding sites are located. In my opinion the quickest route would be to join both the Butterfly and Dragonfly National Societies where members are privy to information and the main sites especially concerning some of the rarer species.

The Scarce Swallowtail

How could you disregard this stunning migrant?

At the same time join your County Group and go out on the weekend field trips which they will be running throughout the year. The latter will give you all your local sites plus you will learn a great deal about your subjects in general.

One of the really nice aspects about photographing these beautiful of insects is that the photography takes place during the most pleasant months of the year and normally in nice weather. Secondly you don’t need a great deal of equipment so, if weight or finance is a problem, this really could be the ideal starting place for you.


Meadow Brown

What you need next is to learn how to photograph them. They are very easy to photograph badly, not so easy to photograph well and even the most common butterflies like this Meadow Brown above can look really stunning. How do you do that? Well you could start off photographing them badly and hope to get better at some time in the distant future or you could attend my workshops and immediately start off photographing them correctly. Want to know how to get a butterfly to settle on a specific flower or a dragonfly to land on a photogenic perch that you set up? Sounds optimistic - but that is what the pros do.


Marbled White



How about getting the subject perfectly backlit like this Marbled White and again, being aware of the light and using it correctly with Cleopatra revealing the other smaller wing folded inside. It’s these subtle extras in your picture that will give it the edge over the boring and mundane images in competitions and in the sales arena. I will show you exactly how to capture these moments along with many other tips and tricks if you decide to join me on these workshops.

Consecutive Group Workshops

I try to run the group workshops on consecutive days and at each of the locations, Surrey & Sussex, we will find both butterflies and dragonflies. However the actual habitats are totally different, one being woodland and the other heathland, and that increases the varieties of both species for anyone choosing to do both days. The Woodland Workshop is biased towards butterflies and the Heathland Workshop is predominately dragonflies (probably at the best location in the UK). Incidentally on the dragonfly group workshop last year clients also got loads of Common Lizard shots and I was also lucky enough to catch a superb Adder for everyone. So if you want to specifically photograph dragonflies go on the heathland day and vice-versa.

These are both very popular workshops so I advise you to book as soon as possible as both are invariably oversubscribed once the dates are announced in my newsletter. Are you a subscriber?