Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Education: Photography, hints and tips
I regularly get requests from visitors to this web site requesting information about how to take photographs of butterflies and the equipment I use.

Buying photographic kit
Don't be influenced by the latest, most expensive kit. I always advise photographers to buy good quality equipment but not to be tempted by the high-end digital SLR bodies and lenses.

Because its not the equipment which makes a good photographer.

Even with the best kit in the world, its possible to take some very poor shots so my advice is to start with a good digital SLR body costing around £700 to £800, preferably either Nikon or Canon and buy one or two lenses, a decent macro lens such as 105mm or 60mm Nikon and a cheap Nikon or Canon zoom lens, say a 70-300mm.

Once you have mastered this kit, you will then know if its worth shelling out for a better quality lens or camera body.

British Butterflies stock photo library
The British Butterflies Stock Photo Library contains only the highest quality photographs of British Butterflies and their different life stages, food plants and habitats. All of the photographs are taken in the wild in the British countryside unless otherwise stated.

You can browse the whole library or use the search options below. View and download some high resolution sample images.

Search options  

Search by keyword

Colour management
Anyone can take a photograph... but printing them and getting their colour right is another issue altogether.

If you want to learn more about the colour management of your printer, monitor and camera, how to correct colour and balance in photoshop the professional way, you could try a book called 'Getting Colour Right' by Neil Barstow. This book is a bit out of date now since software and technology have moved on but the principles and techniques still stand.

Many computer monitors are really poor at displaying colour since most people use computers to browse the web, type letters etc, perfect colour is not a priority.

No one monitor is the same... its a bit like looking at the banks of TVs for sale in Currys or Dixons. They may all be showing the same TV channel but chances are the picture brightness, colour saturation etc will all different. Which one is right??
Nikon D90
Possible equipment list
Nikon D90/D300s Digital SLR
Nikon S8000 Compact Camera
Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF
Nikon 60mm f/2.8D AF Micro
Nikon 300mm f/4D ED-IF AF-S
Sigma 18-50mm f/3.5-5.6 DC HSM (Nikon fit)

Nikon Close-Up No 5T 2x filter
Nikon TC-20E II Teleconverter

4x Silicon Power 16gb (10x) SD Card

Manfrotto 680B Monopod
Manfrotto 190XPROB Tripod
Manfrotto 488RC4 head

Eizo EV2333W Colour LCD Monitor
Xrite i1 Display 2
Making money from your images
First things first... do not be under any illusions. Making money from photography is extremely difficult. With the advent of digital photography and smart phones with in built digital cameras, we are in an age where anyone can take a reasonable photograph and many people would be more than happy for their images to be used for free. So making a living from photography is not as easy as it seems despite it being a fantastic career if you do make a success of it.

From the millions of images out there, finding images of the highest quality for publication can be extremely difficult for picture buyers. Photographs of celebrities are far easier to sell than wildlife... there's big money in celebrity... not so much when it comes to wildlife!

There are also many pitfalls to sourcing images. Today, the internet is the first place many people go to find images. We have all at some time or another seen a photograph with an incorrect caption, often as a result of the picture buyers reliance upon the identification skills of the photographer... often as a result of sourcing images from the internet.

There are issues of image quality/resolution which always crop up as being a key factor especially in high end publications for any image that is intended to be reproduced larger than A5 in size.

To make a real go of it, you need to have the best possible kit you can afford, market your images to as many potential customers as possible, manage you image library so you can access images quickly and use social media and the internet to promote yourself and your work. Then, fingers crossed, someone will pay to use your images.

And don't forget, they are your images so make sure you protect them. Know your rights by understanding copyright law.

Good luck with your photography!!
Steve Cheshire
Create an inspirational portfolio

Do a self critique of how you could improve your portfolio by summing up the overall feel of your portfolio in 100 words or less.

Try to assess the weaknesses of your portfolio and its strong points. Then, try to improve your portfolio by taking images which reflect or are the complete opposite to the following words and phrases.

A sense of place

A sense of time
A sense of story   Variety
Spontaneity   Thought provoking
Impact   Emotion
Vibrant   Muted
Desirable   Wellbeing
Happiness   Passion
Joy   Instinct
Perfection   Imperfection
Texture   Rough
Smooth   Contrast