Butterfly season - Updated

In the Southwest these butterflies start coming through southern AZ.

Specific Feedback Requested

I am looking for ways to make the background very soft while keeping the subject sharp. The background was pretty bright so I used LightRoom Classic to select the background with a mask and reduce the exposure and saturation a bit. There was very little room above and below the butterfly but room to the left and right. I did square crop but more to the left side to give more opening in front of her.

Technical Details

Canon 90D 100-400 ii with the D500 closeup at 230mm ISO 800 1/640 f/10 HH


Wonderful detail in the butterfly, Dean. With regards to the background, I’m wondering if you considered adding just a bit to the top by using content aware? Or cloning? Another thought about the background would be to burn down the really bright white, just a bit in PS. And/or you could add a vignette? One other thought could be to open up the aperture, which would soften the background, but of course at the same allowing more light to deal with. Perhaps others will have more suggestions.

Very nice butterfly/flower combo and excellent detail in the butterfly. The background looks good as presented. In LR, sometimes I’ll isolated the background and reduce the clarity to soften it up.

Dean, you really captured some nice details in this beautiful butterfly. I could use some more space at the top, but it sounds like you can only do that in post processing. I haven’t used the content aware all that much my self. The masking in LR is a nice tool as @Allen_Brooks suggested to soften as well as lower the clarity, and maybe even darken the bright areas. Still good shot as presented.

Dean, this is a fine photo of a Queen butterfly (the orange abdomen is a give away). Most of the background looks nicely muted and complementary. I would suggest some additional burning-in of the bright stems in the lrc and the big “white” oof bloom in front of the bf. I don’t do post processing in LR, but wonder if you can use the masking again to darken only those areas and the brightest bits of the flower that the bf is on. I like the tilted flower and bf.

Thanks for the comments @linda_mellor @Shirley_Freeman @Allen_Brooks @Mark_Seaver . This version I used the LRC range mask and lowered the highlights To add height above the butterfly I removed the white area above the BF and expanded the canvas height using the same color of the background. The use Content Aware and cleaned up the area, Finally cropped of the extra on top some.

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I think that is a nice improvement, Dean.

Very nice, with excellent detail and DOF on the butterfly! The revised version is a great improvement.