Shooting butterflies on Mobile

Shooting butterflies on Mobile

Shooting a butterfly on a mobile can be a tricky task considering the following issues:

  1. Mobiles do not have a macro lens (especially 1:1) with a long focal length. This forces the shooter to go in close vicinity of the object which may disturb the butterfly. However in recent times, cameras do come with a macro lens, an adapter can also be added.
  2. Mobile cameras do not have decent flash and the sensor. The absence does not capture the stunning colors a butterfly can have.
  3. DSLR offers faster shutter speeds and hence needs a dedicated heavier external flash. Faster shutter speed is required when the butterfly is not seating calmly and very much active. For more details check this link - Shooting Southern Birdwing. Macro photography needs a lot many accessories for capturing a stunning shot, the list can be found here.
I have rarely used my mobile camera phone to shoot butterflies. However, while shooting on mobile I felt it handy especially when I am traveling and does not wish to carry the whole camera bag and dedicated lenses.

The following picture is of a small butterfly almost 2cm wide, small size butterflies do not fill the frame and photo needs to be cropped. Cropping is not good with an entry-level mobile camera. When the butterfly is seating on the ground and you need a perfect shot (with a blurry background and the plane of butterfly parallel to mobile) it becomes challenging. Holding a mobile is sometimes an issue.

The following picture is of a mid-size Popinjay butterfly (about 8 cm open wing width, i.e. wingspan), a commoner in the northeastern region of India. The photo is cropped and edited using Snapseed.

The following picture is the example of a low shutter speed problem, controlling which is difficult with mobile. Additionally the focusing issue. While shooting macro, we go too close to the object and end up focusing on the background of the subject. In the photo a common Mormon approaching (courtship) a blue Mormon butterfly near the host plant (lemon).

Same butterfly, Blue Mormon, I shot after a while. Such a clear shot was possible because the butterfly was seating quietly on the branch and its the second largest butterfly found in India.


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