BugShot 2020 in Wonderland

We are excited today to announce BugShot 2020! This year’s insect photography extravaganza will be held June 18-21 at the amazing Archbold Biological Station in Florida.

The BugShot crew is, unusually, returning to the site of a previous workshop. In 2012, we held our second ever workshop at Archbold. The station remains one of my favorite venues, an exceptional eco-conference center, adjoining a large and active natural history collection, embedded in one of North America’s richest native ecosystems, the subtropical Florida scrub.

Click to register.

If you are already part of our community, we’d love to see you again! If you are new, we’d love you to join!

BugShot returns to California – May 9-12, 2019

I am very pleased to announce my return to the fabulous BugShot photography workshops!

This May we’ll be in the stunning Anza Borrego desert in southern California, a landscape that typically resembles Mars but in rainy years bursts into a flurry of life and color. And this has been an exceptionally rainy year! We expect a full buggy explosion.

Click to register.

BugShot is now eight years old. What started as a one-off weekend course in St. Louis has grown to an international community of nature and photography lovers. If you are already part of our community, we’d love to see you again! If you are new, we’d love you to join!

2016 BugShot Insect Photography Workshop: May 12-15 in Austin, Texas!

I am extremely pleased to announce the 2016 BugShot Insect Photo Workshop! The event will be held for the first time in Austin, Texas, and will be instructed by Piotr Naskrecki, John Abbott, and myself. Our 3 1/2 day event will cover basic techniques in macrophotography in the field and in the studio, methods for working with live insects, and advanced techniques in focus-stacking and high-speed flash.

"Solenopsis invicta - fire ant worker"
A focus-stacked image of a red imported fire ant, one of many subjects and techniques we will cover in Austin.


As usual, our location is a site of considerable natural beauty, with rustic lodging and classrooms on site, with nearby hotels for those who prefer more upscale accomodation. We will be at McKinney Roughs Nature Park, a 1,900 acre tract of woodlands, meadows, and canyons. These workshops are a real highlight of my year, not just for the nature and the photo nerdery, but for the community of wonderful people that has coalesced around the BugShot events. If you haven’t been yet, you should try to this year. We’d love to have you!

BugShot 2016 Registration

Last year’s California workshop sold out within a week, so if you’re thinking of attending, you may need to sign up quickly.

***Update (December 19, 2015): BugShot 2016 is sold out. Stay tuned for our next workshop!

Some links:

BugShot 2015 Photography Workshop Schedule



I am very, very pleased to announce this year’s insect photography workshops! Based on popular demand, BugShot visits the west coast for the first time- to California’s lovely Hastings Natural History Reservation– while our annual Belize adventure features a new instructor, the widely-acclaimed photographer Nicky Bay. Here’s the schedule:

May 7-10 – BugShot 2015 – Hastings Natural History Reservation, California – [$710/770 – register online] SOLD OUT

August 5-12 – BugShot/Belize 2015 – Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Jungle Lodge – [preview] – [$3249/3449 – register online]

These workshops are a highlight of my year. We spend time in beautiful natural areas exchanging photography and entomology tips, but the best part is the happy community that has sprung up around our workshops. If you haven’t been yet, you should try to this year. We’d love to have you.


BugShot 2014: The Aftermathening

The group in front of Reynold’s Mansion, antennae extended. (photo by Ian Wright)

I have returned from coastal Georgia and from another spectacular BugShot workshop! Once again, the annual event surpassed my expectations. It wasn’t just the gorgeous natural environment, either, or the discovery of the extremely enigmatic Zoraptera. It was an extraordinary group of enthusiastic participants who made this workshop worth doing.

Rather than recap the festivities myself I will leave you in the capable hands of participants. I’ll update the list as more material works its way to the internet.



If you feel you missed out by not attending, don’t worry! We have our next event coming up in September in Belize.


Insect Photography Workshop: Sapelo Island, 22-25 May 2014



It occurs to me I’ve not yet mentioned the upcoming BugShot workshop on this blog.

So. BugShot!

This macro photography mini-conference has been a highlight of my year since I organized the first one in St. Louis in 2011. Every summer, 30 or so insect photography enthusiasts gather for a long weekend in a natural setting to trade tips on gear, hunt for local arthropods, and most importantly, hang out with like-minded insect nerds. The instructors are always some combination of myself, John AbbottThomas Shahan, and Piotr Naskrecki, but I use the term instructor loosely. BugShot has become more of a conference and less of a pulpit, and the instructors invariably learn a great deal from the people who attend. I owe much of my progress in recent years to the interactions I’ve had with others at these events.

BugShot has been to Missouri, Florida, and Belize; our next stop this May is a pristine coastal island in Georgia, Sapelo Island. Astoundingly, we’ve secured an actual mansion to host our event.

Mansion. Check.

Ocean. Check.

Insects. Check.

Insect Nerds. Check.


Pogonomyrmex badius, the Florida harvester ant, is one of many unusual species we’ll encounter at BugShot/Sapelo Island.

One final reason to attend, though, is one I hadn’t anticipated when we started and one that is significant for both aspiring scientists and aspiring photographers. Because of the varied people who participate, a blend of creative and entomological professionals as well as enthusiasts who work in other fields, BugShot has turned out to be not just a fun weekend but an intimate professional conference.

These small gatherings are excellent places to make connections, start collaborations, and pick up techniques for reaching career or artistic goals. BugShot has been a professional stepping stone for a lot of people. I’ve seen BugShot alumni photographs in calendars, books, gallery shows, research papers, newspapers, high-traffic website, and conference advertisements. Some have even started local workshops. It makes an event organizer proud.

If you’d like to join us this year, we still have a few spaces left. Details are at the link:



The happy crew at BugShot 2012 in Florida. Photo by Josh Mayes.

A tropical insect photo safari with Piotr Naskrecki, Thomas Shahan, John Abbott, and… me


Ok, enough silliness. I have news.

I am positively tickled to announce our little BugShot family is expanding. Who have we added? None other than Piotr Naskrecki!

Piotr is a master conservation photographer, a katydid expert at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, author of “Relics” and “The Smaller Majority”, and a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers. I’ve long been a fan of Piotr’s distinctive wide-angle macro style. And now, he is bringing it to BugShot’s newest tropical workshop. I couldn’t be happier!

BugShot/Belize will be held September 22-29 2013 at the remote-yet-comfortable Caves Branch Lodge in Belize. We will be spending a week with army ants, orchid bees, glasswing butterflies, cave crickets, and countless other arthropod treasures. The safari will be a mix of entomological and photographic instruction, and in the tradition of BugShot each of the instructors brings a different talent. John Abbott is a talented high-speed action photographer, Thomas Shahan is an intimate portraitist, Piotr Naskrecki is a master of capturing arthropods in their habitat, and I do… something with ants, I think.

For more details, and to register: BugShot Belize 2013

Our last Belize workshop sold out within 2 weeks, so if you’d like to join us I recommend signing up sooner rather than later.

For a preview of our venue and event, here’s a slideshow:


For an in-depth look, I’ve uploaded more photos to the BugShot Belize Gallery.

I hope to see many of you there!

Learn Insect Photography in the Tropics with BugShot-Belize!

I am extremely pleased this morning to announce that our BugShot workshops are expanding to the tropics!

BugShot’s first rainforest photography workshop will be held January 19-26, 2013. I can’t speak for all tastes, but from my perspective a sunny insect-filled week in the Neotropics will be just the thing to relieve the bite of a harsh northern winter. Because our winter workshop is an exploratory first-time event for us, we are keeping this initial offering more intimate than our multi-instructor flagship summer workshops. Enrollment is capped at 12 participants, and [updated 9:45am] if you’re thinking of attending you may have to make a quick decision. Some of the spots sold as I was writing this post.

We’ve chosen Belize for a number of reasons. The local insects are representative of the rich Neotropical fauna, including army ants, orchid bees, peanut bugs, morpho butterflies, and many, many other photogenic denizens of the rainforest. The country is relatively accessible, especially for North Americans. And we have partnered with a charming jungle venue, Caves Branch Lodge, that sits on 50,000 acres of mostly forested private reserve.

For more information and to register: http://bugshot.net/events/

Plus, check out the photos from a 4-day reconnaissance trip earlier this month: BugShot Belize Preview.

*update (9/24 2:00pm): We’ve been having trouble with the online registration via paypal. This was an error and has been fixed. If your registration is on hold pending paypal’s internal process, please email me ( alwild [at] myrmecos.net ) and I will reserve your spot manually while we arrange for payment by check or other method.

*update #2 (9/24 8:45pm): 12 hours after opening registration we’re half full. 6 spaces remain. 5 spaces left. 4 spaces left. 3 spaces. 2 spaces left. That’s it- we’re full!

BugShot 2012 reverberates through the blogosphere

The happy group makes antennae for the camera! (BugShot 2012, Archbold Biological Station, photo by Josh Mayes).

I’m back from a simply tremendous weekend at the 2012 BugShot photo workshop!

This year’s event was handily attended by a cadre of social media-savvy bloggers, so rather than recap the festivities myself I will leave you in the capable hands of participants. I will continue to update the list as more material works its way to the internet.

We are working on a schedule for 2013, including west coast and international courses. Stay tuned!


Bug Geek (who seems to be writing the definitive BugShot course manual): Instructors’ Top Tips | Magnification | Light | Working with Insects | Composition | Favorite Photos

(see also Crystal’s reflections on networking at the workshop)

Biodiversity in Focus: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Ambush Bug | Lynx Spider

Dragonfly Woman: 5 Things I’ve Learned at BugShot 2012 | BugShot 2012 (Part 1)

Things Biological: Leafhopper with Brochosomes | Post BugShot To-Do List | Devil’s Rider Walking Sticks | Lynx Spider

Mokka mit Schlag: Memos from BugShot 2012

South Dakota Bugs: BugShot 2012

A misty sunrise at Archbold Biological Station (photo by Josh Mayes)


Follow the hashtag #BugShot2012


BugShot 2012 Flickr Pool

Josh Mayes (facebook)

BugLadySuzanne (flickr)