How to Photograph Dragonflies (free eBook!)

Today I’m happy to announce the release of a free eBook about photographing one of the most unique insects on the planet: dragonflies. The eBook was written by my father, Vic Berardi, who is an outstanding photographer of hawks, dragonflies, and wildflowers.

This 18-page eBook is not meant to be a complete guide on the subject of photographing dragonflies, but it includes many great tips for dealing with the unique challenges of dragonfly photography. You’ll get the most out of the book if you already have a basic understanding of how to use your camera (you’re familiar with the terms aperture, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, etc).

Here’s what you’ll learn from the book:

  • What equipment you’ll need, why you need it, and why even a point-and-shoot camera can be good enough for getting great dragonfly photos
  • How to ensure you get the sharpest photo possible, while finding a good balance between depth of field, aperture and shutter speed
  • How to get a good exposure, and the benefits of certain lighting conditions
  • How to create pleasing compositions of dragonflies
  • Why it’s important to understand the behavior and biology of dragonflies
  • Where to learn more about dragonflies (with a recommended reading list)

Download the eBook Now!

The eBook comes in the standard PDF format, which you can view with Adobe’s free Reader.

Please share this book with your friends!

If you find the content of the eBook useful (and I know you will!), the best way to thank us is to share this page with your friends on Facebook or Twitter, or feel free to even e-mail the eBook to them. Just please do not sell it — it’s meant to be free :)

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Comments

  1. I just downloaded it, and I’m looking forward to reading it later today. What a treat! Thanks! :)

  2. AWESOME eBook Steve/Vic. If there’s ever a volume two or another chapter added I’d love to find out more about Vic’s technique. Does he go to a spot where dragonfiles are active and then pick a spot, such as a branch, and then just wait or does he try to follow them with the camera like you would a bird in flight. I have got to get a 300 soon!

  3. Thank you so much for this! We have property on the edge of a lake and the area is rich with dragon flies of wonderful colors. Am looking forward to reading and learning from this guide.

  4. Uwe Hoffmann says:

    Tried to view it and downloaded it on two different Computers – same result: the PDF is corrupted. Did something happen to it?

  5. Colin Burt says:

    Ditto to Uwe Hoffman post. Dragonfly PDF does not download here in Australia either. Could it be only available to US subscribers ?

  6. Thank you! I purchased your wildflower book and am happy to add this to my collection.
    Your articles are always helpful.

  7. Lené / Sylvia / Patty – Thanks for your nice comments! I hope you find the eBook useful, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the text :)

    Zack – I’ll ask my dad about that, as I’ve been wondering the same thing :)

    Uwe / Colin – I apologize for the difficulty you experienced! I’ve heard a few other people had problems too, but I’m not sure what’s causing it. I’ve tried re-generating the PDF, so please try downloading it again (btw it’s 13 MB so it may take a little while). If that doesn’t work, try using this link:

    http://photonaturalist.net/downloads/dragonfly_photography_2.pdf

    I used a different method to generate the PDF at that link, so hopefully that will work for you. If not, the only thing I can think of is to make sure you’re using the latest version of Adobe Reader.

    Steve

  8. Vic Berardi says:

    Zack, I do go to areas where dragonflies are active but usually watch for one to land or look for perched ones in bushes, trees or on the ground. Once you get used to watching them you’ll be surprised how alert you’ll get to their movements. Once they land the hardest part sometimes is finding them in the vegetation through your camera because they blend in so well. When you get your camera on where you think you have the dragonfly it isn’t there. Focus on whatever you can and look again at the scene to see where the dragonfly is in relation to what you’re focused on and adjust accordingly. Rule of thumb, don’t get discouraged :-) This will eventually become routine. Dragonflies are sometimes very wary so you’ll only have a fraction of a minute to find, focus and shoot. Good Luck!!

  9. Vic,

    Thanks for the follow up information. I know what you mean about sitting and watching. I’m trying to improve my BIF photography so I’ve been spending time just watching how birds in the neighborhood / backyard move about. Here in South Carolina we seem to have a ton of dragonflies flying about. I guess I’ll just have to spend a little time waiting and watching them before trying to shoot ‘em.

  10. wow, nice book, thanks for the book.

  11. Vic Berardi says:

    Thanks to everyone for the kind comments, much appreciated!

  12. Vic Berardi says:

    Zack, yes you do live in a great part of the country with lots of diversity. Try going in the early afternoon hours (noon to 3PM) on a day with bright hazy sunshine and little or no wind.

  13. Steve…thanks to you and Vic for making this e-book available. I put the information to good use over the weekend here in Northern Illinois and made around 250 images over a couple hours. I picked out 10 for my Flickr page and a couple of those will go on my blog as well. I’ll mention your book and give you a link back.

    Although I’ve been shooting for over 30 years, this is the first time I’ve attempted shooting dragonflies. I had a great time. It’s fairly simple photography, the real challenge was dealing with the wind, learning the dragonflies behavior and getting the focus before they move on. I did find that they seem to have favorite landing locations. I also found that three of the species I was keeping an eye on, never seemed to land anywhere. Looking forward to going out again next weekend.

    Thanks again.

  14. Vic Berardi says:

    Thank you Wes! Nice photos of a Blue Dasher you have on Flickr. Sometimes if you go earlier in the morning you may be able to spot some of those “flyers” perched on branches. Even though some species seem to never land, they do eventually.
    By the way, I also live in northern Illinois!

  15. I wish I had this earlier in the week- I just took a bunch and I’m sure they could have been better!

  16. Thank you for the great ebook. I found the images to be fantastic. I found a lake near Seattle WA where the dragonflies seem to let you get within just a few feet of them. The issue I found is that these dragon flies do not have any color. I am going to search google to see what kind of dragonflies are in the Northwest Pacific region.

  17. Alistair says:

    The PDF ebook downloads just fine in Perth Western Australia. Excellent photos.

  18. aftab ahmed says:

    Thank you very much for this book….I have been searching for a book like this a long time!

  19. flytyerman says:

    The PDF has downloaded for me (UK).I look forward to try getting some great photo’s of the dragonfly’s i see around my area ,i am an absolute beginner at photography but now i can see what can be done.THANK YOU…………..

  20. Great book. Hope you make some other good tutorials….soon:)
    All the best

  21. thanks you. i like this.

  22. thank you. i like this.

  23. I have just started photographing dragonfly’s &Damsel flys ,and i am finding it hard with my MINOLTA MAXXUM the telephoto tend to be expensive .Thanks for your book it’s going to be a blessing , no more cursing .One day I might be able to achieve photos of your quality. I try photographing any dragonfly I see ,but i

  24. I downloaded How to Photograph Dragonflies some time ago and have been using your techniques.
    My first attempts were not too bad but this morning I took a shot in my backyard using a Tamron 90mm Macro lens and thanks to your book I am chuffed with the results.
    Many many thanks.

  25. Vic Berardi says:

    Thanks Alan! And you’re welcome too! The damselfly shot on your Flickr page is awesome!!!

  26. Vic Berardi says:

    Also thanks to everyone else that has commented on the ebook, much appreciated and good luck this coming season with all your dragonfly photography!!

  27. Thanks for great photography e-book how to photograph dragonflies!

  28. Thanks for great e – book!

  29. Thanks for great e-book!

  30. Great stuff – thanks to Steve and Vic for sharing. One thing to keep in mind (and I know that I’m late to the party here) – when manually focusing, you need to make sure that your diopter is set correctly. I have a tendency to “bump” the thing when I pick up the camera and throw the focus off. When it’s off, what looks in focus through the viewfinder may not really be in focus. It’s especially noticable when doing macro shots.

  31. Vic Berardi says:

    Thanks for the comment Steve! Excellent point about making sure the diopter is set correctly when using manual focusing!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] recently made available a free 18-page e-book written by his Father, Vic Berardi, titled “How to Photograph Dragonflies“. In my 30 years of shooting, I’ve never photographed dragonflies, so I figured I would [...]

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