by Nebula Haze
Table of Contents
- Clear the Background
- Keep Camera as Still as Possible
- Use Flash When Taking Bud Pics
- Take Pics from Different Angles
- Everything Still Blurry? Add More Light
- Use “Macro” Mode for Closeup Shots
- No Macro Mode? Other Options For Clear Close-Up Pictures
- Camera Settings to Play With
- How to Take Non-Yellow Pics Under an HPS Grow Light
- Fix Wrong Colors Using Picture Editing Software
Yet sometimes the pictures don’t turn out the way I want. I’ve learned many tricks over the years, and today I would like to share you what I’ve learned so you can take great cannabis pics and show off your garden!
One thing I’ve really learned from growing marijuana is that sometimes it’s the little things we miss that can make a huge difference in our workload, save us time, or give us effortlessly better results.
Today, I would like to share some of the little things that have made a big difference to me as far as taking pictures, since I started growing in 2004. These tips, techniques, and tutorials will serve you well if you enjoy taking plant pictures, and I believe this info should be known by all growers!
10 Tips, Tricks & Tactics For Taking Awesome Pictures Of Your Plants
(in no particular order)
Take a second to clean your grow room and the area around the plant. You will dramatically increase the quality of your photos when it’s just the plant in the photo. Taking 5 minutes to pick up any stray items or leaves will make a huge difference in your final result.
Try to take pictures of plants against a plain background whenever possible. A white wall works great, but any plain-colored background will help people see your plant in full effect
If you want stellar pictures, it’s worth the 10 minutes to clean the area and think about presenting a clear picture of only what you want to show.
A tripod, or anything that’s not moving, can be used. Try to rest your camera on something the next time you’re taking pictures, and see what a huge difference it makes!
You can stabilize your camera on things like…
- a tripod
- a table
- a stack of books or boxes
- a friend
Many times (though not always), you’ll get the most impressive pictures of your buds and colas when you use a flash.
In the flowering stage, taking pictures of your plants in the dark with a flash is (in my opinion) one of the best ways to get “glamour shots” of your buds. Something about taking a pic in the dark with a flash really causes buds to “pop” in pictures.
If everything seems too bright from the flash, try muting the flash with white paper. Just tape the paper over the flash. This can help disperse the light from the flash, so you get more realistic pictures.
If you have the kind of flash that attaches to a DSLR camera, here’s a good way to mute the flash: Fold an index card in half, then stick it above the flash lens so the card is perpendicular to the flash. Then point the face of the index card towards what you’re taking a picture of. This causes a bounce flash which can produce stellar results.
It looks like this.
When taking pictures of plants in the flowering stage, one of the best ways to show of your garden is to take a picture with a flash when the lights are off. The flash reflects against all the glittery trichomes on your colas and really shows off how big your colas actually are (which can be difficult to capture with pics in a natural light setting).
This technique is really simple but powerful, and it’s amazing how much of a difference it can make if you take pics from a few different angles!
Due to variations in temperature, light levels, proximity to other plants and more, different parts of your plant will look different. For example, it’s common with “purple” or “blue” strains to see just the buds actually touching the light change color. It’s sort of like fruit. And these variations can make your plant look very different at different angles!
Example: The following two pictures are the same plant!
This is the same plant, but opposite side
I’m not saying one side is necessarily “better” than the other, but they definitely look different from each other! Taking pictures of your plant at different angles helps you take pictures that show people the plant as you see it!
If you’re trying to take pictures of something very close to the camera (like a close-up shot), then refer to tips 1-3 for non-blurry pics.
Yet if you’ve followed alll the tips so far, including keeping your camera ultra-still, and pictures are still coming out blurry, then this tip is for you.
Blurry pics like this are often the result of poor lighting. Make sure the entire area is bathed in light. Keep camera as still as possible.
Idea: Get a few extra bright “daylight” colored CFLs for taking pictures, or shoot pictures outside during a bright, sunny day.
Does your camera have the “Macro” focus setting or mode?
A flower is the universal symbol/icon for macro mode. It can appear in a couple different places on your camera, as demonstrated by the picture below.
A.) Modify Your Smart Phone
You can mod your smart phone to take awesome closeup pictures using the lens from a laser pointer.
The following tutorial will teach you how you can take apart a cheap laser pointer and use the lens inside to take ultra-close pictures of your plants (macro pictures). This technique can be used with your iPhone, as well as most Android, Blackberry, and other mobile phones with a built-in camera.
Learn how here: http://imgur.com/a/iMi6Z
Pretty much any laser pointer will do – you’re only interested in the lens
B.) Digital Microscope
Take pictures using a digital microscope (this kind of microscope connected directly to your computer and shows you the images on your screen, allowing you to take screenshots or video).
This type of magnifier is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to see your trichomes so you know when your plant is ready to harvest.They also take pretty amazing closeup pics and videos.
This video lets you see what one of these digital magnifiers can do
We took the above video using the Carson zOrb hooked up to a laptop.
C.) Jeweler’s Loupe or Other Magnifier
You can take a picture of plant through a jeweler’s loupe or other magnifier to get closeup pics. Sometimes you can even attach a magnifier directly to your camera or phone camera with a rubber band.
For closeup pictures, you always get the best results with bright, even lighting.
And remember, you need to be able to take closeup pictures (or at least see your buds close up) in order to pick the perfect harvest time to harvest.
Learn how to pick the perfect harvest time with your close-up pics:
Jeweler’s Loupes are Extremely Cheap to Get Online
Sometimes playing with these settings on your phone or camera can make a huge difference in how your pictures come out:
- Image Size
- White Balance <– Fix yellow cast of HPS
When using an HPS grow light, plant pictures often come out looking yellow or orange, sometimes even with strange black lines appearing in the pics. This makes it almost impossible to see what your plants really look like.
Luckily, there are several simple steps you can take to make sure your pictures don’t look like this one below!
You don’t want this!
Learn how to take great HPS pictures
(so you get natural colors and no black bands)
Method 7’s HPS Glasses (pictured below) are one way to completely neutralize the yellow color of HPS, but they’re a little pricey. Luckily you do have other options!
The easiest way to reduce the yellow color in pictures is by changing the “White Balance” setting on your camera or cell phone to use the “Tungsten” setting. If that’s not available, the next best is “Fluorescent.”
Most cameras and phones have similar White Balance settings
Choose “Tungsten” if you can for HPS, or “Fluorescent” is the next best option
Taking pictures through polarized lenses (like sunglasses or those awesome Method 7’s HPS glasses) can remove black bands.
But there’s a lot more you can do so your plants look like they’re in natural light!
Read the full HPS picture tutorial here: https://www.growweedeasy.com/hps-pictures
This is especially common with camera phone pictures, and pictures from cheap or old cameras.
However, this still happens with the best cameras when the lighting levels aren’t right, or when the color of the light isn’t white.
Luckily, you can fix this by adjusting the “levels” after the fact in a picture editing program like Photoshop.
Let’s start with a yellowish picture of cannabis plants under an HPS grow light.
Now I’m going to fix the levels in Photoshop under Images > Adjustments > Levels by using their 3 “dropper” tools on the left side of the “Levels” screen. You try to match the black dropper to black, gray to gray, and white to white. It doesn’t fix every picture, but will improve many.
Play around to find out which one will work best for your picture…
Notice the yellowish cast to the pictures is greatly reduced and you can start to see some of the true color.
You can make this easier by setting up a little before you start shooting pics. If you place something in the scene that is known to be black, gray or white, you can use that as a reference when correcting levels.
For example if you have a white piece of paper in the picture, you can use that as the correct “white.” In the above pic the tub on the right is gray, so I know I can use at as my “gray” reference. The net pots are black in real life, so I use them as my new “black.”
Basically, in the Levels screen…
- match black dropper to what should be black
- gray dropper to what should be gray
- white dropper to what should be white
If it doesn’t look good, click undo and try again on other parts of the picture. A lot of pics can be fixed up this way!
What Should You Take Pictures Of?
What are some common pictures that people like to see?
1.) Bud Closeups
Everyone loves seeing bud closeups. You’ll look back on them fondly, and the growing community literally can’t get enough of them 🙂
However, there’s a tendency for grower to take pics of only their buds. Which makes sense, that’s the part of the plant we’re most interested in! But while buds pics are awesome, sometimes there’s a lot of other interesting stuff going on that doesn’t make it into bud pics! Here’s a few ideas…
2.) Plant Problems or Weird Symptoms
Don’t “forget” to take pictures of problems!
Even though it may feel embarrassing to have plant problems, it’s helpful to remember that every single grower has them.
Plant problem pictures are worth their weight in gold to other growers, and chances are they will help you down the road, too. Every time I’ve taken pictures of plant problems, I’ve always ended up referring to them later, and there has been several times when I wish I’d taken more!
3.) The Whole Plant
Take pictures of different parts of the plant, and take at least a few pictures of the whole plant without cutting off the top or bottom. Even if you’re not happy with all parts of the plant, it’s very helpful to you later to be able to look back and see the entire plant structure. This will help you improve your LST skills down the road.
Try to get pictures of the plant from both the side and the top looking down. Some growers also like to take pics from the bottom of the plant looking up towards the light, so you see the canopy of leaves above you.
4.) Pictures of the Entire Setup
It’s great to take nice pictures of your plant, but it’s also helpful to step back a little bit and take pictures of the whole setup, including your plant, but also your grow area, etc. This gives you and others a more “whole picture” look of the plant. These pictures are really cool to refer back to later, because you’ll get to see how your setup changes over time!
5.) The Story of Your Plant’s Life
It sounds silly, but it’s nice to take pictures of your marijuana plant at different stages of its life. I like to try to specifically take a few pictures of my plants at the same angle throughout their life. That way you get a direct comparison to see how they change they grow. Everyone loves seeing a “picture album” of a cannabis plant from seed to harvest!
If you like taking pics of your plants, we’d love to see them!
Submit your trophy pics: https://www.growweedeasy.com/submit-trophy-pics
Wanna Take Pictures But Don’t Have Plants?
View GrowWeedEasy.com’s list of trusted seed vendors here to get your seeds today! https://www.growweedeasy.com/seeds
Our list only contains seed banks who have proven themselves over the years with high quality seeds, discrete shipping, and great delivery rates.
From the grower: “The setup consists of three grow rooms, one veg room, and one curing room. Strains pictured are God’s Gift, Fire Alien Urkle, and Raskal’s OG. (10.9% CBD!!) We currently run and have run a variety of others including Kraken, Fruity Pebble OG, White Dawg, White Fire, Tre Dawg, Star Dawg, and Ewok.”
From the grower: “There are many more photos to be found on our Instagram page, as well as set up and growing tips. Check it out at @firebros206″