11 amazing photos that will erase your insect fears


On Thursday, the inaugural Luminar Bug Photography Awards announced its winners. The winning images, which render insects in exquisite detail, bring a whole new meaning to the term “close-up.” 

Mofeed Abu Shalwa, a professional photographer from Saudi Arabia, won the grand prize, earning the title of “Luminar Bug Photographer of the Year 2020” as well as £2,500, or about $3,300, in prize money and other prizes worth over $2,500. Shalwa’s vivid images of insects are so fascinating that you might forget your fear of bugs, and indeed Shalwa started photographing insects 10 years ago to cope with a childhood insect phobia. 

"Blue longhorn beetle"
“Blue longhorn beetle”

Image: © Mofeed abu shalwa / Luminar Bug Photography Awards 2020

"Crab spider"
“Crab spider”

Image: © MOFEED ABU SHALWA / LUMINAR BUG PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2020

"Ladybug inside the flower"
“Ladybug inside the flower”

Image: © MOFEED ABU SHALWA / LUMINAR BUG PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2020

The contest, put on in association with photo-editing software Luminar and UK conservation organization Buglife, also crowned 17-year-old Jamie Spensley as “Luminar Young Bug Photographer of the Year 2020.” Spensley’s prize-winning image of a carder bee is frankly startling in its detail. 

"Carder Bee"
“Carder Bee”

Image: © jamie spensley / Luminar Bug Photography Awards 2020

"A small hoverfly pollinating alone"
“A small hoverfly pollinating alone”

Image: © JAMIE SPENSleY / LUMINAR BUG PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2020

The contest also named first, second, and third place winners for different categories, like “aquatic bugs,” or invertebrates that live in the water, as well as arachnids like spiders, beetles, and butterflies.  

"Diamond squid"
“Diamond squid”

Image: © GAlice hoarau / LUMINAR BUG PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2020

"Microspurl"
“Microspurl”

Image: © Lung Tsai Wang / LUMINAR BUG PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2020

"Dancing spider"
“Dancing spider”

Image: © RAED AMMARI / LUMINAR BUG PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2020

"3...2...1...Take off!"
“3…2…1…Take off!”

Image: © christian brockes / LUMINAR BUG PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2020

"look"
“look”

Image: © li feng / LUMINAR BUG PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2020

"Swallowtail"
“Swallowtail”

Image: © sara jazbar / LUMINAR BUG PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2020

The bugs have never looked so good. 

You can find the complete list of winners and their photographs here. 



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