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National Insect Week returns in 2018

Photography

Winners announced!

Browse the winning images from the prestigious National Insect Week Photography Competition 2016 below..

Winning Photographs 2016 (Adult Category)

© Petar Sabol

Libellula depressa, First Prize

<p><em>Libellula depressa</em>, First Prize</p>
© Ben Andrew

The Climb, Second Prize

<p>The Climb, Second Prize</p>
© Keith Trueman

Looking at you looking at me, Specially commended

<p>Looking at you looking at me, Specially commended</p>
© Zoltan Gyori

Backlight, Specially Commended

<p>Backlight, Specially Commended</p>
© Timothy Sexton

Hangin' Tough - Broom Weevil, Specially Commended

<p>Hangin' Tough - Broom Weevil, Specially Commended</p>
© Paul Dibben

Damsels on parade, Specially Commended

<p>Damsels on parade, Specially Commended</p>
© Martin Tampier

Jump!, Specially Commended

<p>Jump!, Specially Commended</p>
© Sharon Repton

The long and winding road, Specially Commended

<p>The long and winding road, Specially Commended</p>
© Ripan Biswas

The last fight. Tiger beetle and weaver ant, Specially Commended

<p>The last fight. Tiger beetle and weaver ant, Specially Commended</p>
© João Petronilho

Life in green, Commended

<p>Life in green, Commended</p>
© Milton Barbosa

Troops on the move, Commended

<p>Troops on the move, Commended</p>
© Antonio Carlos Freitas

Predation, Commended

<p>Predation, Commended</p>
© Henry Lin

Mantis, Commended

<p>Mantis, Commended</p>
© Sergio Vilchez

Flag-footed Bug, Commended

<p>Flag-footed Bug, Commended</p>
© Sean McCann

An aggregation of two: Ammophila wasps at dawn, Commended

<p>An aggregation of two: Ammophila wasps at dawn, Commended</p>
© Anthony Cooper

Common green shieldbug eggs hatching, Commended

<p>Common green shieldbug eggs hatching, Commended</p>
© David Fotheringham

Autumnal Feathered Thorn moth, Commended

<p>Autumnal Feathered Thorn moth, Commended</p>
© Beverley Brouwer

Covered in dew drops (sawfly), Commended

<p>Covered in dew drops (sawfly), Commended</p>
© Mark Pike

Marsh Fritillaries, Commended

<p>Marsh Fritillaries, Commended</p>
© TienHeng Low

Robber Fly, Commended

<p>Robber Fly, Commended</p>
© Keith Trueman

Solitary Bee -  Megachile willughbiella, Commended

<p>Solitary Bee -  Megachile willughbiella, Commended</p>
© Geraldine Stephenson

Red Tipped Flower Beetles, Commended

<p>Red Tipped Flower Beetles, Commended</p>
© Weixang Lee

Resting Stalk-eyed Fly, Commended

<p>Resting Stalk-eyed Fly, Commended</p>
© Ripan Biswas

Metamorphosis - a dragonfly emerging, Commended

<p>Metamorphosis - a dragonfly emerging, Commended</p>
© Peter Smith

Beauty and Beast, Commended

<p>Beauty and Beast, Commended</p>
© Steve Palmer

Floating on colour, a male gall midge, Commended

<p>Floating on colour, a male gall midge, Commended</p>

Winning Photographs 2016 (Under 18 Category)

© Kelsey Knell

Pollination, First Prize

<p>Pollination, First Prize</p>
© Pradyuman Samant

Shhh... do not disturb, Second Prize

<p>Shhh... do not disturb, Second Prize</p>
© Genevieve Kiero-Watson

The view on a bridge, Commended

<p>The view on a bridge, Commended</p>
© Gavin Pandya

Brown Clipper butterfly, Specially Commended

<p>Brown Clipper butterfly, Specially Commended</p>
© James McCulloch

Shades of green, Commended

<p>Shades of green, Commended</p>
© Ayla Webb

Privet Hawkmoth caterpillar, Specially Commended

<p>Privet Hawkmoth caterpillar, Specially Commended</p>
© Caroline McHardy

Azure Damselfly on an ear of wheat, Commended

<p>Azure Damselfly on an ear of wheat, Commended</p>
© Kelsey Knell

Because I have no teeth, Specially Commended

<p>Because I have no teeth, Specially Commended</p>
© Adam Middleton

Green Hairstreak, Commended

<p>Green Hairstreak, Commended</p>
© Charlotte Wellington

Mormon Butterfly, Commended

<p>Mormon Butterfly, Commended</p>
© Anurag Aditya

Red hemipteran, Commended

<p>Red hemipteran, Commended</p>
© Robert Cooling

Green dragonfly, Commended

<p>Green dragonfly, Commended</p>
© Zach Haynes

Stupendous Staveley Sunfly, Specially Commended

<p>Stupendous Staveley Sunfly, Specially Commended</p>
© Catriona Mackenzie

The Bug Life, Specially Commended

<p>The Bug Life, Specially Commended</p>
© Holly Chalk

Flying and feeding bee-fly, Specially Commended

<p>Flying and feeding bee-fly, Specially Commended</p>
© Fabian Harrison

Orange-tip butterfly, Commended

<p>Orange-tip butterfly, Commended</p>
© Fabian Harrison

Mint moth, Commended

<p>Mint moth, Commended</p>

Winning Photographs 2014

© Jose Ramos, II, (Philippines)

Warming up, the light giver, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Warming up, the light giver, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Lucia Chmurova, (East Yorkshire, United Kingdom)

Blend in to survive, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Blend in to survive, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Denise Bishop, (Essex, United Kingdom)

Warming up, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Warming up, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Adam Poledníček (Cornwall, United Kingdom)

My annoying housemate, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>My annoying housemate, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Narayan Patel, (Gujarat, India)

Grasshopper nymphs, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Grasshopper nymphs, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Shelley Barkley, (Alberta, Canada)

Tachinid fly, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Tachinid fly, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Rory Morrisey, (Bedfordshire, United Kingdom)

A snout of distinction, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>A snout of distinction, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Bob Eade, (East Sussex, United Kingdom)

Mayfly, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Mayfly, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Peter Sabol, (Croatia)

Zerynthia polyxena wing, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Zerynthia polyxena wing, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Paul Giles (Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom)

Migrant hawker, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Migrant hawker, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Martin Smith, (Haskovo, Bulgaria)

Longhorn beetle (close-up), Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Longhorn beetle (close-up), Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Peter Paul Smith, (Warwickshire, England)

Acorn weevil (Curculio glandium) on a stem of grass, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Acorn weevil (<em>Curculio glandium</em>) on a stem of grass, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Richard Davies, (Suffolk, United Kingdom)

‘Jeff Goldblum lookalike’ (unidentified fly), Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>‘Jeff Goldblum lookalike’ (unidentified fly), Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Mrs Iuliana Dediu (Brăila, Romania)

Soldier, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Soldier, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© David William Harris, (Northamptonshire, United Kingdom)

Banded demoiselle, male, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautul category

<p>Banded demoiselle, male, Commended in 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautul category</p>
© Dr Tim Cockerill - (East Yorkshire, United Kingdom)

Striking a pose, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Striking a pose, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Beverley Brouwer (The Netherlands)

Dromedarius, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Dromedarius, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Kerry-Ann van Eeden (Perth, Australia)

Male feather-horned beetle, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Male feather-horned beetle, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Peter Sabol, (Croatia)

Anax imperator eye, Second Prize 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p><em>Anax imperator</em> eye, Second Prize 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Dr Tim Cockerill (East Yorkshire, United Kingdom)

Wallace’s Cyriopalus beetle (Cyriopalus wallacei), First Prize 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Wallace’s Cyriopalus beetle (<em>Cyriopalus wallacei</em>), First Prize 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Jose Ramos, II

Alone in the dark, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Alone in the dark, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Beni Arisandi (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Mate, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Mate, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Claire Waring, (Northamptonshire, United Kingdom)

A katydid completes its moult, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>A katydid completes its moult, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Claire Waring, (Northamptonshire, United Kingdom)

Even educated weevils do it! Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Even educated weevils do it! Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Dr Tom Houslay, (Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom)

Parental care, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Parental care, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© João Petronilho (Portugal)

Resting time, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Resting time, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Dr Anthony Cooper (Leicestershire, United Kingdom)

Large rose sawfly laying eggs, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive

<p>Large rose sawfly laying eggs, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive</p>
© Adam Poledníček (Cornwall, United Kingdom)

Sleeping Nomada, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insect Alive category

<p>Sleeping Nomada, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insect Alive category</p>
© Adam Poledníček (Cornwall, United Kingdom)

Lunchtime, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Lunchtime, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Rabin Chakrabarti (India)

Male blue tiger butterfly with tiger moth caterpillar on Crotalaria pods, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Male blue tiger butterfly with tiger moth caterpillar on <em>Crotalaria</em> pods, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Dr Ann Mills (Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom)

Coupled blue-tailed damselflies, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Coupled blue-tailed damselflies, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Brian Pearson (Staffordshire, United Kingdom)

Five-spot burnet (Zygaena trifolii) feeding on buttercup, Commended 2014 Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Five-spot burnet (<em>Zygaena trifolii</em>) feeding on buttercup, Commended 2014 Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Brian Pearson (Saffordshire, United Kingdom)

I see you, I have eyes in the back of my head, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>I see you, I have eyes in the back of my head, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Icy Ho (Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom)

The Alamo! Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>The Alamo! Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Beverley Brouwer (The Netherlands)

New coat, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>New coat, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Beverley Brouwer (The Netherlands)

Family planning, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Family planning, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Bob Eade, (East Sussex, United Kingdom)

Marbled whites mating, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Marbled whites mating, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Peter Sabol, (Croatia)

Orthetrum cancellatum dragonflies mating, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p><em>Orthetrum cancellatum</em> dragonflies mating, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Dipesh Bhatt (Gujarat, India)

Honeymoon on flower, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Honeymoon on flower, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Paul Giles (Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom)

Reed beetle preening, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Reed beetle preening, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Kerry-Ann van Eeden (Perth, Australia)

Cuckoo wasp laying an egg, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Cuckoo wasp laying an egg, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Richard Davies, (Suffolk, United Kingdom)

Small white feeding, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Small white feeding, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Parameswaran Pillai Karunakaran (Kerala, India)

Small paper wasp building nest, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Small paper wasp building nest, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Nick Milsum (New Zealand)

Well captured, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Well captured, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Liz Pearson, (Florida, USA)

My annoying housemate, Commended in the 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>My annoying housemate, Commended in the 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Mr Nick Milsum (New Zealand)

Multi-tasking, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Multi-tasking, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Liz Pearson, USA

Life in the lilypads, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive

<p>Life in the lilypads, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive</p>
© Narayan Patel, Gujarat, India

Ready! Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Ready! Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Adam Poledníček

Manganese drill bit, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Manganese drill bit, Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Keith Pursall

Fire and brimstone! Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive

<p>Fire and brimstone! Specially Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive</p>
© Dr Anthony Cooper

Sawflies eating a birch leaf, Second Prize 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Sawflies eating a birch leaf, Second Prize 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Mr Peter Sabol, (Croatia)

Damselflies mating, First Prize 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Damselflies mating, First Prize 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>
© Marc Brouwer

Close up of damselfly eyes in Genemuiden, Netherlands. Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category

<p>Close up of damselfly eyes in Genemuiden, Netherlands. Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Small is Beautiful category</p>
© Tim Withall

Four-spotted chaser dragonfly sparring with broad-bodied chaser dragonfly, Winsor, New Forest UK, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category

<p>Four-spotted chaser dragonfly sparring with broad-bodied chaser dragonfly, Winsor, New Forest UK, Commended 2014 NIW Photography Competition Insects Alive category</p>

Tips for insect photography

1. Take your time

Try not to rush your photographs. There is a huge diversity of insects that can be photographed and each species has its own behaviour to take into account. For example, if you would like to photograph an adult dragonfly, take the time to observe the insect's hovering and perching spots. This considered approach will help to improve the quality of your photographs and you may learn something new about the insect too.

Broad-bodied chaser dragonfly, Libellula depressa

© Dale Sutton

Broad-bodied chaser dragonfly, Libellula depressa, Highly Commended 2006 NIW Photography Competition British insect category

2. Experiment

Try experimenting with different camera angles, magnifications and directions of light. Photographs with the habitat in view can be just as astounding as close-ups. Try shooting with different lenses if you have them, wide angle and telephoto can provide very different results using the same insect subject. 

Queen common wasp, Vespula vulgaris, resting on grape hyacinth after waking

© David Maitland

Queen common wasp, Vespula germanica, resting on grape hyacinth after waking, Highly Commended 2006 NIW Photography Competition British insect category

3. Consider the lighting

Photographing small insects can be a great opportunity to play with lighting. Try and make the lighting look as natural as possible by combining some flash with the natural light available. Harsh lighting does not always make for a good image and photographs of insects can look really dramatic at dusk and dawn too. Insects often have iridescent body parts and transparent wings, a simple adjustment of lighting can really show off the subject to its best.

Adult mayfly at sunset

© Danny Beath

Adult mayfly at sunset, First Prize 2010 NIW Photography Competition riverfly category

4. Choose the right insect

If you spend a longer amount of time on a single individual or species this will force you to think about new ways to shoot the insect and to consider the composition and lighting options available. You may begin to notice the traits of your subject that most interest you, for example, the wings, the eyes, the way it is grasping a surface or even how it walks or flies. At least to begin with, try and choose a bold species that doesn't mind a flash and lens very close to it. For example, a timid fly might not be ideal but a bold and busy bee may not notice a photographer pursuing it from flower to flower.

Bombus on buddleia

© Ian Beddison

Bombus on buddleia, Commended 2008 NIW Photography Competition adult category

5. Get close

Try photographing a small portion of an insect. For example, the scales on a butterflies wings, the jaws of a ground beetle or the eyes of a damselfly. Find the hidden beauty in the insect and try and show the future viewers of your photograph what cannot be seen with the naked eye.

 

6. Don't try and control the insect

The most interesting photographs are rarely those that have been taken of an insect enclosed in a dish, or worse still, chilled in a fridge to make them placid. Try to challenge youself to get interesting images of insects in a natural environment, exhibiting their natural behaviours in their usual habitat.

7. Know your kit

Though many good photographs can be taken using conventional lenses, consider a macro lens. Macro lenses are designed to give the photographer great results up-close. They are expensive but can focus on insects from about 6cm away to infinity which makes macro lenses good for general shooting too. There are some less expensive alternatives to a macro. For example, a close-up filter which screws onto the front of another lens, much like a filter. You may also wish to consider an extension tube which sits between the camera body and lens and makes detailed close-ups possible.

8. Use a tripod and flash

A well place tripod can prevent shaky photographs. If you have been patient and observed your subject for some time then setting up a shot from a tripod won't be as restrictive as you might think. Using a flash is often the best way to light small subjects, such as insects.

9. Consider your focal point

The point of focus is very important when shooting small subjects like insects. You can dramatically alter the appearance of your final image by changing where you chose to focus. Even shifting the focus by a few millimetres can make or break a photograph.

10. Enjoy the process 

Try and take in the environment and the behaviour of your chosen insect. Becoming better acquainted with your subject will often mean that the best photographic opportunities present themselves. You will learn about your own methods as well as learning about the insect itself.

 

Ask an expert

Do you have an insect to identify? Contact our entomologists for help.

Ask an expert

Visit an event

There will be fun events and activities taking place somewhere near you during National Insect Week. At events you can meet insect enthusiasts and experts, and encounter lots of interesting and important insect species.

Find events near you

Did you know?

Ant supercolonies

Ant supercolonies can be made up of thousands of nests and hundreds of thousands of workers.

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