10 Tips to Get the Best Photos of Bees in Their Hives

Bees are small as people see them, but that doesn’t mean that photographing a bee can be simple. The truth is, most people don’t often have the desire to get up-close to bees. But what if you were looking for information on how to get the best photos of bees in their houses? Is there information that you could find this easily?

Here are 10 tips to help you capture the best photos of bees in their hives — without getting stung!

Wait Until the Bees are Calm

If you want to get the best photos of bees in their hives, you need to wait until they’re calm.

Bees are pretty busy bees—they have a lot of work to do! They’re constantly cleaning and caring for the hive, and they may also be out foraging for food. If you try to take photos of them when they’re in the middle of a routine or out gathering food, it’s likely that they’ll be too busy to cooperate with you.

Instead, wait until the bees are calm before taking your photo. You can tell if they’re calm by looking at their wing motion: if it’s slow and deliberate, you know that they’re probably not doing anything important.

Use a Tripod

black dslr camera mounted on black tripod

As with any photography, it is important to use a tripod for stability, but especially when using macro lenses.

When you’re photographing bees in their hives, you want to get the sharpest images possible. The best way to do this is by using a tripod. Using a tripod helps you avoid blurring and ensures that your camera is steady and ready to capture high-quality images.

A tripod also makes it easier to take long exposures without having to worry about shaking or movement from the wind. Macro lens allows you to get in close to the bee and its home. It also magnifies the subject so that it will appear bigger in the image.

Use Manual Focus

Bees are gorgeous, but they fly around like crazy.

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to photograph bees is focusing on the wrong thing. Bees often move in and out of focus as they wiggle around, so you’ll want to lock your camera’s focus on something that’s not moving. You can do this by setting your camera to manual focus before taking a photo. When you’re ready to take a shot, just click!

Get the Right Macro Lens

To get the best photos of bees in their hives, you need a macro lens. A macro lens is a type of camera lens capable of focusing on objects very close to the camera. The best kind of macro lens for photographing bees is one with an aperture that opens up very wide (e.g., f/2.8). This allows you to achieve a shallow depth of field and create bokeh, which will help separate your bees from their backgrounds. 

Macro lenses are also great for photographing insects in general, so you can use them to capture images of other types of bees as well. If you’re interested in taking photos of other kinds of bees, you should consider getting a full-frame or APS-C camera instead of an ultra-wide angle lens.

Get a Better Flash

When it comes to capturing photos of bees in their hives, it’s not just about getting close enough—it’s also about getting the right lighting. Bees are attracted to light, but they’re not attracted to your camera flash, which can actually scare them away and make them less likely to stay around long enough for you to snap some great shots. That’s why a good flash is so important: it will allow you to get the right lighting on your subject without scaring them off, making it easier for them to stay put long enough for you capture that perfect shot!

Take Multiple Shots and Focus Stack Them Later

selective focus photography of woman holding dslr camera

To get the best shot possible, take multiple shots and focus stack them later. Focus stacking allows you to combine all of your shots into one image with an extended depth of field (distance between sharpest and blurriest points). You can do this by taking multiple shots of different parts of the hive, focusing on each area individually, and then combining them together in software like Photoshop or Lightroom.

Another great way is to capture a video of the bees. The video can get all the scenes and details, then using a video editor to pause and capture the scenes you like to be converted to an image. Also if videos or images are getting a lot of space on your storage devices, might as well use a video compressor to shrink videos and a zip archive such as Winzip. There lots of video formats such Mp4, an Mp4 compressor will do the trick.

Experiment with Different Types of Lighting

Natural light is beautiful, but it can also be harsh on small subjects like bees. If you’re shooting outside in the shade, try using an umbrella. If you’re shooting indoors or in full sun, try diffusing your light with a softbox or reflector.

Early morning and late afternoon are usually best, as the light is softer and less intense than it would be during midday. If you have to shoot in the middle of the day, make sure that you’re shooting into the sun so that you get some shadows on your bees!

Try Long Exposure Photography to Create Interesting Photos

Long exposure photography is a technique where you take a picture by exposing the film or sensor for a longer period of time than usual—usually 15 seconds or more. The resulting image will look like something you might see in an abstract painting or a dream sequence from an animated movie: lots of colors, interesting shapes and patterns, and some really cool textures. And since bees are so active and colorful themselves, they make perfect subjects for this kind of photo!

Experiment with Your Camera Settings and Focus Points

Start by adjusting your camera’s ISO setting. This controls how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. The higher the ISO number, the more sensitive it is—which means that even small amounts of light will be captured on film. In other words, if it’s dark outside and you want to take photos of bees in their hive, increasing the ISO will help make sure you have enough light for clear shots.

Next, move onto autofocus points. If you’re using a DSLR camera, there are often multiple focus points available for you to use when taking pictures—from single-point focus all the way up to 91-point autofocus (which is pretty incredible when you think about it). It might take some trial and error before finding out which options work best for you.

Try Different Angles and Distances to Capture Bees in Their Hives

macro shot photography of black and yellow bees

First, try getting close to the hive. The closer you are, the more detail you’ll be able to capture. But don’t get too close! The bees will get angry if they feel threatened by your presence and might sting you. A good distance is about 10 feet (3 meters).

Second, try moving around the hive. Different angles will give you a different perspective on what’s going on inside the hive—and it might even reveal something new!

Third, experiment with different focal lengths (wide angle lenses will show more of the scene than telephoto lenses). And fourth, try shooting at different times of day: early morning or late afternoon work well for most subjects because it gives them enough light but doesn’t make it too hot or cold for them (depending on what time of year it is).


As you can see, there are quite a few considerations that you must take into account while photographing bees at their hive. Some of them are technical in nature and require that you have a good understanding of what settings your camera should be on, as well as how to change the settings for your specific lens.

Other considerations are more about the environment around the hive and include the weather, time of day and other elements that you can’t always control. You’ll also want to consider whether you’re traveling to see a bee hive or if you’re photographing one that’s on your own property.

Regardless, there are steps you can take prior to getting to the hive location or stopping by someone else’s property that will ensure that capturing photos of bees in their hives is an adventure filled with fun memories.

This guest post was written by Cris Mark Baroro. Chris is a Search Engine Optimization Specialist from who loves technology. Cris is also a writer, programmer and a QA system specialist. VEED is a free online all-in-one video editing platform.