I always like taking pictures like this, with a butterfly more or less centered in the frame while interacting in some manner with a flower or plant. It’s not a complicated composition and there’s nothing about these kinds of images that’s going to win awards for creativity or break new ground from an artistic point of view, but they are phenomenally fun to take. Butterflies are a bit more compliant than other flying bugs and animals, in that they move a bit slower and tend to stay in one place a bit longer than, say, honeybees or hummingbirds. Their bright colors almost make it difficult to not get good shots, and you can often find them in groups–that is, if one is around chances are others will be too. And when everything aligns and you find yourself in the right place, at the right time, with your camera at the ready, and able to capture a moment like this…*chef’s kiss*
I highly recommend you try it :)
There is one thing I have changed in my approach to butterfly photos over the years, and you can see it exemplified here. I now make an effort to intentionally position myself so that the butterflies are backlit, which makes their already-colorful wings positively explode with an electric energy that you just don’t get with traditional front-lighting. This strategy helped in a couple of ways here, by not only making the butterfly appear a bright translucent green but also causing the purple flower to take on a shiny purple glow with bright accents around its edges. This technique almost always results in images that far surpass their frontlit counterparts, and it’s an extraordinarily fun practice to try out. You can clear see the effect here with the butterflies wings all aglow, outlined with a white shine and its legs deftly gripping the purple flower bud. Much of that would be lost if this were taken with the sun on the other side, but as it stands the lighting alone transforms this rather pedestrian photo into something pretty special.
The interesting thing about this shot, that doesn’t often happen in the photos I take, is that the subject–the animal–is not actually the focal point of the image. Rather, your eye is drawn first and foremost to the flower and the butterfly, whose colors blend in quite thoroughly with the surrounding colors, is almost an afterthought. One could almost say it’s camouflaged and hidden in plain sight, and only upon closer inspection does the viewer notice that something more is in the shot beyond the purple flower. It’s an unexpected way of composing the shot that I didn’t actually plan but, on reflection, I quite like.