17 Beautiful Butterfly Pictures You HAVE to See

Updated: Jan. 09, 2024

Celebrate the joy of butterflies by checking out beautiful butterfly pictures of monarchs, fritillaries, swallowtails and more.

Common buckeye
Courtesy Sujata Roy

Beautiful Butterfly Pictures

“Bidens plants grow at a county park along a lake near me, creating a yellow maze. Many pollinators hover on the blooms, but this common buckeye stayed on the blossom for some time. I love the beautiful butterfly’s large, bold features, which pop against the yellow flowers,” says Sujata Roy of Morrisville, North Carolina. These pictures will change the way you look at moths.

Great purple hairstreak butterfly
Courtesy Laurie Stuchlik

Great Purple Hairstreak Butterfly

“Last September, I had the most special birthday gift. For the first time in more than 13 years, I spotted not one but three great purple hairstreak butterflies in my garden. I was elated, as these butterflies are so gorgeous and I had photographed them only once before. This butterfly’s colors were amazing as it sat on my sedum. The group stayed in the garden feeding for several weeks. It was a very special month!” says Laurie Stuchlik of Milton, Delaware. Discover myths and facts about butterfly host plants.

Painted lady butterfly
Courtesy Karen Thambyrajah

Pretty Painted Lady

“The first flower on my dwarf sunflowers had just emerged when a painted lady stopped at and delighted in this bloom. I grabbed my Canon E0S Rebel T3i that I use to photograph wildlife, mostly in my backyard, and I got this shot of two of my favorite things: sunflowers and butterflies,” says Karen Thambyrajah of St. Peters, Missouri. Butterfly vs moth: learn how to tell the difference

Aphrodite fritillary butterfly
Courtesy Diane Spray

Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly

My backyard is filled with native plants to attract local bugs, birds and butterflies­—the reward is observing my efforts when it works. I found this Aphrodite fritillary fluttering around my blazing star and grabbed my Sony Alpha a6000. I like how the butterfly turned vertically to match the orientation of the flower spike,” says Diane Spray of Wausau, Wisconsin. Check out blooming bushes that attract butterflies.

Giant swallowtail butterfly
Courtesy Caron Gray

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

“It was a beautiful summer morning in Wisconsin. I was walking in the field behind our yard when I saw this giant swallowtail. It fluttered around for quite some time, and I was able to get many photos of it. This is one of my favorite beautiful butterfly pictures, even though it is on a cutleaf teasel, which is an invasive plant. I can’t get enough of these gorgeous butterflies!” says Caron Gray of Brookfield, Wisconsin. Psst—check out these fascinating swallowtail butterfly facts.

Cabbage white butterfly
Courtesy Mynette Jones

Cabbage White Butterfly

“In a prairie of brightly colored swallowtails and monarchs, I took a moment to appreciate one of the smaller and less flashy butterflies, a cabbage white. The sun shining through its wings was a simple moment of beauty and a reminder to stop and appreciate all the little things,” says Mynette Jones of Springboro, Ohio.

Learn if you can fix a broken butterfly wing.

Gulf Fritillary butterfly
Courtesy Dale Chellis

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

“A Gulf fritillary visited our Sapphire Showers duranta in the backyard. The detail in the butterfly’s antennae and body, plus the crisp appearance of the blooms, make this beautiful butterfly picture special,” says Dale Chellis of Melbourne Beach, Florida. Follow these butterfly photography tips to capture your butterfly sightings.

Monarch butterflies on meadow blazing star
Courtesy Mary Carlson

Multiple Monarch Butterflies

“I spotted this group of butterflies on a meadow blazing star last summer outside my hometown. I very rarely see this many monarchs on one plant, so I took a photo with my Canon E0S 5D Mark III and 150-600 Tamron lens,” says Mary Carlson of Princeton, Minnesota. Check out 3 butterflies that look like monarchs, and for more monarch pictures, discover our roundup of 20 must-see monarch pictures.

pearl crescent
Courtesy Leonora Bridges

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

“While watering my flower garden, I noticed that the center of one of the black eyed Susans didn’t look quite the same as all the others. Looking more closely; I found this beautiful little pearl crescent butterfly feeding perfectly in the middle of the bloom. It was amazing to see how camouflaged it was!” says Leonora Bridges. Check out 6 go-to flowers you should plant in your butterfly garden.

Bnbbyc18 Katelyn Cheek
Courtesy Katelyn Cheek

Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

“My grandma grows a variety of pretty asters in her garden. One day when I was visiting her, these clouded sulphur butterflies were everywhere. I always have my camera with me. So I sat among the flowers and waited for the fliers to settle down on purple coneflower blooms before taking these beautiful butterfly pictures,” says Katelyn Cheek of Washington, Nebraska.

252170066 1 Ron Punako Bnb Bypc2020
Courtesy Ron Punako

Butterfly on Lantana

“My wife and I like to vacation in the South, and on this particular trip we decided to go to Jekyll Island in Georgia. We went to Driftwood Beach to get some good photos of the area. To my surprise, there were hundreds of Gulf fritillaries migrating along the coast— it was a bonus for me. I love the yellow lantana flowers and the angle of the butterfly in this shot,” says Ron Punako of Hollsopple, Pennsylvania.

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Courtesy Stephanie Young

Common Buckeye Butterfly

“While my husband was busy at a meeting in Washington, D.C., my camera and I cruised the National Mall area. I came across a garden full of common buckeye butterflies. I loved how the orange lantana flowers complemented the butterflies’ orange-tipped wings. This one sat patiently, watching me, for its photo shoot. I’ve upgraded my DSLR camera several times since, but this has remained one of my favorite butterfly photos,” says Stephanie Young of Paducah, Kentucky.

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Courtesy Della Alcorn

Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

“I had my Nikon D500 in the backyard with me, hoping to capture a hooded oriole. When I saw this western tiger swallowtail butterfly land on my lilac, I had to laugh—because it’s yellow and black, just like a male hooded oriole!” says Della Alcorn of Redding, California.

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Courtesy Stephan Barrett

Ceraunus Blue Butterfly

“Out of the corner of my eye I saw a small Ceraunus blue butterfly fluttering around tall weeds in an overgrown field. After I made a few gentle attempts to get close, it finally accepted my presence. I used a photography technique called focus stacking to get as much of the butterfly in focus as possible. Luckily, one of my exposures captured its extended proboscis, the sippy straw it uses to extract nectar from flowers,” says Stephan Barrett of Sorrento, Florida.

Psst—if you like beautiful butterfly pictures, don’t miss these pictures that will change how you see bugs.

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Courtesy Ashley Veatch

Painted Lady on Hydrangeas

“This painted lady stopped and sunned itself on my hydrangeas for a long time. I was able to get several wonderful shots using a Canon EOS Rebel T7,” says Ashley Veach of Searcy, Arkansas.

254043106 1 Cheryl Fleishman Bnb Bypc 2020
Courtesy Cheryl Fleishman

Monarch and a Bumblebee Buddy

“Most of the sunflowers in my New Jersey garden bloom in August. I also have an abundance of fresh milkweed on my property, which invites monarch butterflies. One early afternoon, when the clouds provided some filter from the harsh sun, I photographed a monarch and a bumblebee on one of the sunflowers. I just love the combination of the butterfly, bee and flower together. It celebrates the height of the season,” says Cheryl Fleishman of Wantage, New Jersey.

Bnbbyc19 Stephen Ofsthun 2
Courtesy Stephen Ofsthun

Fiery Skipper Butterfly

“A close-up look at this fiery skipper on a coneflower offers lots of details. I saw the tiny butterfly near the Calypso Cove Marina on Lake Thunderbird State Park in Norman, Oklahoma,” says Stephen Ofsthun of Norman, Oklahoma.

After you’re done looking at beautiful butterfly pictures, find the perfect butterfly gift for someone you love.