How To Photograph Moths

Last Updated on April 14, 2021

You may be tempted to believe that capturing a moth is as simple and easy as shining light on them and clicking the shutter button. However, there are some factors you need to take into account when photographing moths.

This article will go through these factors in detail. Here are the top tips for photographing moths.

Moth Photography Tips

moth on tree branch

1) Find the subject

Moths can be found almost anywhere, so try exploring near water or flowers. Light is fundamental, so go to a place that has strong natural light sources. Artificial light sources can be used if they are strong enough.

2) Get closer

As usual, the closer the better. I usually place the subject on a 1m white background and shoot with a f/2.8 aperture at 1/60s for optimal results. If the moth is in a bad position (for example, on the ground), then I move it into a better spot and capture it from there. I use my hand to gently move it. Pushing down on its wings will cause them to break!

3) Compose

With point 2 above in mind, you can now compose your shot. A good rule of thumb is to fill at least 75% of the frame with this subject, leaving enough room for clean background space behind the subject.

4) Camera settings

The ideal shutter speed for macro shots will be 1/60s. However, if the scene is too cluttered or too busy (if the background is not clean), you may have to use 1/125s to isolate it. If you are shooting in daylight, apertures around f/8 will be fine. You can also use ISO 100 and aperture priority mode to get your desired shutter speed at this stage.

5) Flash

If you need it, use the flash. Turn off automatic flash settings; instead, opt for manual and zoom into the subject to get the light source as close as possible. Also remember to use a flash diffuser.

6) Use a tripod

This should be obvious! However, some people will try to shoot handheld because it is not always easy to carry around a tripod all the time. Nevertheless, place your camera on a tripod before pressing that shutter button! You’ll want the best results possible.

7) Stop and be patient

This is the biggest factor in macro photography. If you do not get the shot after an hour or so, move on to other subjects. Don’t feel pressure to shoot as fast as you can; try taking a break every now and then!


Macro photography is not as easy as it looks! There are a vast number of factors that you need to think about, such as lighting, composition, speed and so on. The process may seem difficult at times, but in the long run it will be worth it for the great shots you will take.
Whilst macro photography may seem challenging, there are some basic concepts that everyone should know about.