Most annoying species/group to photograph?

Which species or family of species do you always find annoying to photograph, either because of their habits or their flightiness?

For me, I can find bumble bees a little annoying because they always seem to pollinate flowers at the worst angles to take good photographs. Either hanging upside down or deep inside the flower. So aggravating!


Butterflies! I see them and they teleport 20 feet away. Swallowtails don’t even land around me, except in rare cases where I saw them at a puddle.


Oh yeah, definitely some species like swallowtails that just, refuse to land haha. They don’t seem to like any of the flowers in my garden. Only managed to get some photos of an adult Eastern Tiger Swallowtail last week since they seem to like the goldenrods down here in Virginia. Hoverflies also refuse to land sometimes lol.


The goddamn bee flies and long-legged flies with visual startle


Heard on bumble bees… them and carpenter bees are so heavy they’re always flipping the flower upside down and making the whole plant bounce and it just becomes impossible.

My pet peeve group is dragonflies. They’re so attention-grabbing and pretty I can’t help but want to try to photograph them everywhere I go, but then… they startle when you’re still 10 feet away, the males on patrol will tease you by landing for 10 milliseconds every 5 minutes, they like to hang out on plants in the water so you can’t even attempt to get close, and the way they like to perch on grass (automatic busy background + probably swaying in the breeze) makes it SO hard to get a phone’s autofocus to work right in the little time they’ll sit still for… ugh.

Grasshoppers are also aggravating because you’ll swear you saw where they landed but the way they fly and the disruptive coloring makes it basically impossible to actually find them without getting too close and scaring them again.


I love taking pictures of bumblebees. I honestly find them easy. You gotta find the right time.
Great black digger wasp and certain digger wasps can be sooo flighty I can only get a good picture with my Panasonic GX85 camera because I can take several shots at once so one of the 3 pictures will turn out alright :sweat_smile:.


Do you have any phlox in the garden? They love phlox. Joe Pye weed is another favorite and blue mistflower if any of those are native to your area.
Many of the typical ornamental non-native annuals or even perennials don’t have either sufficient nectar or they might not have any nectar at all (double blooms and such) so pollinators might not show a lot of interest if it takes too much work or it doesn’t have what they need.
Catch them when they are resting or it’s raining or on a flower they have to work at.


I try to take a side, front and back view of bumblebees and other bees because I know someone in iNat who studies them. But, you have to be patient. If they are on a compound flower like Queen Ann’s Lace, you can get lucky as they move around. And, you have to try to anticipate where they will go next if they are moving from flower to flower in a patch of bergamot. I only have a point-and-shoot camera so, I have to be extra patient. I just take a lot of photos and don’t get too bent out of shape if I don’t get photos of a particular bee.


I am somewhat frustrated with dragonflies that patrol a lot and rarely perch like Prince Baskettails and Common Green Darners. I only have a point-and-shoot camera so, I can’t take a burst of frames. (Actually, I can with this camera but, usually the dragonflies move so quickly out of the frame that it’s not worth it.)

A solution I have found is to watch the dragonflies and try to figure out the range of their patrol area. If I think I can somewhat anticipate when a dragonfly will be in a relatively small general area, I widen my camera’s frame of view and wait until I see the dragonfly come into the frame before pressing the shutter button. It has worked. I can get some decent shots. And, since my camera has a fairly high resolution, I can usually crop a photo and get decent details. And, I enjoy being able to figure out a repetitive pattern of a flying dragonfly. Now, things get messed up if another dragonfly comes into the territory and my subject tries to chase it off. But, that just comes with the territory.

(I have also been lucky enough to see these species hanging or in a wheel. So, I do have photos of them.)


A lot of dragonflies will return to a perch if you startle them. You also have to look about 20 feet ahead of where you are walking, take a distant document photo if you can, and them move very, very slowly towards the perch. It can be difficult when you are excited about seeing something.

Another tip for dragonflies around small streams that I learned from a more experienced insect guy is to wear rubber boots and carefully wade the streams if you can. This is particularly good for species like American rubyspots where they are almost always facing out into the stream. And, you gain access to dragonflies/damselflies hidden in the plants you just can’t see from the banks. But, you have to be careful, watch where you are stepping and must make sure you have sure footing before you set up for a photo. You also need to make sure you put your wallet, phone, etc., in a good thick zip-lock bag or just don’t carry them. Always be aware that you are standing in water when you adjust your camera. Make sure you have the strap around your wrist twice. I have never tried river sandals but, they may be an option. Rubber boots are also good for going into tall grass which may border a stream.


Wildly, as a genus Condylostylus are absolutely my favorite thing to photograph, which is one reason I have so many. (Likely our species are much slower.)

I have a lot of trouble photographing Ceratina (Small Carpenter Bees) because they zip so quickly and are quite skittish.


I find vinegar flies (those flies you find flying in and around your compost) tough. You can’t get close enough to these tiny flies for good pictures. If you freeze them, they are too fragile. If you refrigerate them, they can actively fly away. Maybe a vinegar trap might work.

Not sure about the long-legged flies you have in Australia, but here in the US, they’re not too bad to photograph. They can be a slight challenge since they’re so active, but they aren’t that difficult. I’ve found that even when they fly away, they always fly back onto the same plant they were originally on. I’ve even been able to take photos of them using a clip-on mobile macro lens (which you need to get pretty close to focus with)


Certain Sand Wasps when they are in the sand lol. This one actually got identified


Hummers! Those beautiful little bastards!


That was me trying to get photos of clouded sulphurs and sleepy oranges


I’ve been graced with the swallowtail frustration just a few days ago, in the end I decided to use the birding lens from 5m away with a high shutter speed. Not my best photo, but trying with my manual macro lens wasn’t even worth it.

Tachybaptus ruficollis work hard to earn their name, and I don’t mean the “red neck” part.

Partridges seem to phase into existence right at your feet and dash off in a frenzy.

Finally, I expect it’s more of a me problem, but I used to see a fair amount of shrews and be able to get somewhat close. Ever since I’ve gotten my camera, they’ve been far more elusive, not a single succesful photo thus far.

Bats I’ve just straight up given up on.


tiger beetles, they move in short bursts, and they move very quickly, soon as I get a bead on them through the viewfinder and get a focus they dash out of view and I have to reaquire.

belted kingfishers, extremely skittish and keen sight, and flight call sounds almost like a mocking laugh.


Bumblebees with my macro lens are quite annoying, however, I think that due to my inexperience photographing them with it. I find my phone camera or some other longer range lens is better.

Dragonflies are an obligatory difficulty. I have some IDable shots of them from a trip I made a couple months ago that I have yet to upload, and those were made by a telephoto lens. Damselflies are easier tbh, probably because they’re slower and tend to rest more frequently.

Martins and swallows are like the dragonflies, I can get IDable photos, but hardly any that are presentable as “good” photos. I respect all those that are able to get good shots of them.


Quails. Hardly ever see them and when I do it’s because I scared them and then they quickly fly off to another patch of grass.