What you should if you’re interested in cannabis plant photography

Published Jul 13, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Gleti

The cannabis plant has always been known for its potency and beauty, which is what makes it such an excellent subject to work with. It’s popular with both recreational consumers and those with an artistic vision, and it can be one of the most rewarding hobbies out there. However, to get the most positive feedback and to increase your probability of landing a job doing photography, there are a few things that you should know before getting started.

1. The buds aren’t the only beautiful part of the cannabis plant

Every stoner likes a good juicy bud shot. One that you can almost taste from looking at it, but from a slightly different perspective, you will find that there is beauty in almost every single portion of the cannabis plant. From the very first moment that the seedling breaks through its shell, the transformation is breathtaking, so you don’t need to limit yourself to fully matured plants, which are much harder to get your hands on when you’re in the mood for a little photography.

2. Lighting is everything

A lot of people like to grow indoors, and that is especially true for those who enjoy cannabis plant photography, but the funky colored grow lights that are just above them usually don’t make for the best possible picture. Instead, opt for moving the cannabis plant to a brighter, more naturally lit location, in front of a window, or outside for your shots, as they will come out crisper, clearer, and just so much better, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of extra effort to accomplish.

3. Trimming a cannabis plant won’t hurt if done in moderation

Obviously, you will not want to go hacking at a cannabis plant if it’s borrowed without permission, but if you’re cultivating your own photography worthy specimen, then this idea might not be a bad one. Trimming away dead or dying leaves can do wonders for a pot plant's overall health, and it will make for a better photo if all of the discolored bits are removed, so inspect the plant, and don’t be afraid to cut away the bad stuff when it’s necessary.

4. Don’t be too worried about imperfections

This might sound a little bit like the opposite advice from our last tip, but it is important to remember that the two go hand in hand, as just the right amount of trimming can improve the look for a photo, but too much damage can have adverse effects. Besides, imperfections in anything, including a cannabis plant, can be humbling, and if you’re looking for truly captivating photos that are relatable, a few rough edges can actually help in the long run.

5. Experiment with unique strains

Most cannabis enthusiasts already know this, but if you’re in it for the photography, then you might not realize just how many options are out there for you. The cannabis plant is well known as a predominantly green species, hence the big green leaf you see on dispensaries and pot products, but some strains offer a more vibrant hue like red, purple or blue, and there are other photograph worthy features to look for too, like high crystal production that can help to make your pot photo shine.

6. A good quality camera doesn’t have to be expensive


Everyone has to start somewhere, and there is really no need to make cannabis plant photography into one of those expensive hobbies, as most of us are already armed with the tools that we need, including a camera. Most smartphones these days take excellent quality shots in all different kinds of lighting and environments, and the occasional one even goes to far as to cover 3-D photography, and with features like those, there is no need to lug around a fancy or expensive camera.

7. The right background can make a cannabis plant pop

Many photographers keep on hand various backgrounds to choose from, but the color, tone, and noise in your choice can either make or break your photo quality. A background for a cannabis plant should provide contrast, so a completely blank slate of white or black in the cases of lighter hues should do the trick. However, there is no better choice out there than nature itself. After all, every cannabis enthusiast loves to see their favourite plant, where it once grew wild and free.

8. Always take extra shots just in case

Photography is all about getting that perfect shot, and you have no idea when it will happen, so if you want the best chance at capturing the moment, it only makes sense to take more photos from every angle you can think of. You just never know what sort of magic you might come across by sheer accident, and often times the least planned shots are the ones that make it big, so keep that shutter clicking, and be sure that you have enough memory storage to handle it all.

9. Invest in high-quality photography editing software

Those award-winning shots that you see on display in magazines like National Geographic are all touched up at least a little bit to make the absolute most out of every possible outcome. Sometimes it’s just the lighting that needs to be adjusted, and in others, a little bit of shading, a frame, or a watermark might be necessary to make it complete. So, if you’re going to splurge anywhere, do it here, as it’s a one-time purchase that you won’t regret making.

10. Don’t forget to smoke one for inspiration

Even if you wouldn’t normally use cannabis, it could help you to take some of the best pictures you’ve ever seen in your life, and you won’t know how effective it can be until you try it. Though beginners might want to start with a low dose at first, the power of the cannabis plant can help to open the mind and reveal small details that you might not have noticed otherwise. So why not give it a shot, just be sure to stick with focus driven and uplifting strains.

Tips and tricks for marijuana plant photography


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