They are beautiful, fascinating, hard at work, we need them more than we know. It’s always wonderful to watch them do their thing. Zooming from one flower to the other. It feels like quite the accomplishment when you finally catch them in the action, as it can sometimes be quite difficult.
Here are a few tips that might help you.
Lots of it.
Not everyone has the patience to sit and wait around for a bee to eventually land on a flower, then to stay there long enough for us to take a picture. Bees are continuously moving. They are always in some form of motion. They quickly move from flower to flower to accumulate pollen. Just due to the fact it lands on one flower, doesn’t mean it will remain there very long.
When you’re getting ready to capture these beautiful little creatures, take a minute or two and watch them. Their movements can be very unpredictable. Give them time to get used to you entering their space.
You might think that a macro lens is ideal to photograph bees. You’re right, but it can be very difficult. When you zoom in with a macro lens there can be a lot of camera shake. Keep in mind that the bees are also moving very quickly from flower to flower.
You can achieve a lot with just a normal 18-55mm kit lens.
To photograph bees, you naturally want a fast shutter speed.
That means the camera takes pictures very quickly. A normal entry-level camera can take between 3-5 photos per second.
You can either shoot in manual, which is what I would suggest, or shutter speed priority.
Set your shutter speed as fast as possible and adjust it from there. Make it a bit slower if the picture is too dark.
Keep in mind, you want your shutter speed as fast as possible to have the sharpest image.
Adjust your ISO accordingly.
ISO increases how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive it is, which means your image will be brighter/receive more light. You might ask, why not then increase the ISO to the max? The downside of increasing your ISO is you will get grain in your image and it will look like it isn’t as sharp as it could be.
I usually leave my aperture at the lowest it can go, in order for the sensor to get as much light as possible. Which is f/5.6 with the 18-55mm zoomed in at 55mm.
Small f-number(f/3.5) means a lot of light for your sensor, but also means blur/bokeh. Large f-number(f/11) means less light and less blur.
…or just skip the complications, pull out your phone and take the shot.