Cannabis Photography: How To Take High-Quality Pictures
5 min

Cannabis Photography: How To Take High-Quality Pictures

5 min

It's not difficult to take good pictures of cannabis, but it's important to understand a few basic principles to begin with, and to understand what equipment you may or may not need. In this article, we give you the basics that you'll need to get started.

We live in a world where everything needs to be visually recorded, and now this goes for our cannabis growing and consumption too. Questions of whether this incessant photographing and sharing is healthy aside, in this article we look at techniques for photographing cannabis, and then give seven tips to help you take great pot pictures!

Why take pictures of cannabis?

Why take pictures of cannabis?

Why not take pictures of your cannabis?

Taking pictures of weed is surprisingly good fun, especially if you’ve grown it yourself. Granted, taking a photo of some weed you’ve bought off the street might not be so rewarding, but getting up close and capturing all the richness of some resinous, purple strain you’ve been tending to for months can be yet another way to enjoy it.

And what can you do with these photos? First, it’s just a great exercise in macro photography and learning more about cannabis plants. Trying to get the angle, focus, and distance just right to give enough space to trichomes and buds can be a lot of fun, as can editing them afterwards to really bring out the richness of the colours. Take a good enough photo, and you’ll almost be able to smell it.

Once you have the perfect photos, you might just keep them in your own collection, as a sort of grow diary. Or else, they might be something to go back to in the future to compare different crops. Alternatively, you can share them on Instagram or other social platforms (only do this if it’s safe to publicly expose your hobby) and even enter photographs in competitions—if they’re up to scratch!

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How to configure your camera for cannabis photography

How to configure your camera for cannabis photography

To really get a beautiful picture of bud, you need to be able to come incredibly close while still keeping the subject in focus and capturing most of the detail. To do this, a normal camera may not have what it takes without changing the lens. The same goes for smartphone cameras. Below, we’ll show you what you need to take world-class photos of weed.

If you want to take pictures of your plants from a broader perspective, then you have much more freedom in terms of equipment, and the results come down to your skill as a photographer, rather than your equipment.

Which lenses should you use for cannabis pictures?

Which lenses should you use for cannabis pictures?

If you’re taking broad shots of entire plants, or basically anything other than buds and trichomes, you have a fair amount of freedom when it comes to which lenses to use. A high-quality phone camera can do the job, as can amateur cameras—so long as they’re still high quality, which many are these days.

But you will need a good lens that is clear and can capture photos at a high enough resolution. And something like an 18–55mm lens will be perfect for all but macro shots. Anything larger than this is meant for zooming from further away, and this has little use when it comes to taking photographs of cannabis—except in unusual circumstances.

What is the best way to photograph trichomes?

For cannabis close-ups, you’ll need a macro lens. These days, macro lenses aren’t only available for expensive DSLR cameras, but also as attachments for smartphones. So no matter what photography equipment you’re starting out with, you should be able to find a macro lens that suits you.

These lenses allow cameras to focus very close on the subject in question. With a normal camera, or even the human eye, bring it too close to what’s being observed and it will go out of focus. This means that there’s only ever so much detail you can capture.

Macro lenses are specially made to get up close and personal, and can focus even when millimetres away from the subject, meaning that they can capture an astounding amount of detail.

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7 tips for high-quality cannabis photos

7 tips for high-quality cannabis photos

In the following section, we’ll list seven tips that should help you to take great pictures of cannabis, whether its of whole plants, trichomes, or flatlays.

Experiment with different perspectives

There are many perspectives from which we can take pictures of cannabis.


If you’ve ever looked inside a cookbook and seen photos of spices and ingredients scattered across a table, then you’ve seen a flatlay. Well, the same sort of photos exist in the cannabis world too.

These are taken from directly above, minimise shadows, and attempt to look accidental, as though they are capturing a process in motion.


An overview is a picture of a plant or plants—usually when growing. Taken from below, they make plants look large and powerful; taken from above, they help distinguish individual leaves and bud sites. If you’re growing beautiful plants and/or want to keep a cannabis diary, then overviews are for you.

Cannabis models

Think of that picture you’ve seen a thousand times, probably on this website, of someone smoking a huge spliff and the smoke is obscuring their face. This is cannabis model photography. Basically, a staged photograph of a person using cannabis is cannabis model photography. Get creative and break the mould!


Close-ups of glistening trichomes can look like strange alien worlds, and can be really impressive—especially if you’ve reared the plants yourself. These require macro lenses and a little care, but can be rewarding in terms of both the process of photography and the results.

Select your best buds

It goes without saying that you should photograph your best buds. This means those with the most trichomes, the best colouration, and the most impressive density. But also look more closely around your plant; it may be that there are smaller buds that have a certain beauty to them. Especially if you’re taking macro shots, then everything might look grander from this perspective. All that said, do some investigation around your plant before choosing your final subject.

Capture detailed shots with a macro lens

Close-ups with a macro lens can really steal the show, and if you can afford one of these lenses, they will introduce a level of enjoyment to your process. While this mode of photography can be fun, you shouldn’t get entirely fixated on it, as other types of cannabis photography can be just as rewarding.

And while a good macro shot of trichomes undoubtedly looks cool, in some senses this is low hanging photographic fruit. Taking a genuinely impressive photo of a crop might test your photography skills more.

Use the camera flash (or supplemental lighting)

Lighting your shots will help immensely. From bringing out the varied colours of your plants to making the trichomes sparkle, some extra lighting will go a long way to improving your photos. Once you understand a little about photography, then playing around with different lighting arrangements can really make the difference between an average photograph and a brilliant one.

Stabilise shots with a tripod

Stabilise shots with a tripod

A tripod is advised for most photographs, and is almost essential for macro shots. If you’re taking pictures of models or plants and you’re fully zoomed out and the lighting is good, then handheld shots can work well. But if you’re up-close, or taking pictures in low light, then you need the added stability of a tripod in order to keep the detail—otherwise shots can get blurry.

Keep the background clear

A busy background can distract the eye, make focusing difficult, and disrupt colours. So if possible, use a clear or managed background, as this is essential to allowing the foreground (the subject) to stand out and breathe.

Cannabis grow guideClick here

The art of taking good bud pictures

The art of taking good bud pictures

Cannabis photography is now a skill in its own right, and there’s a lot of competition out there. But there’s always room for one more, and even if you never intend to share your photos, keeping a record of your pursuits can be useful—just ensure they won’t become incriminating evidence later down the line!

The tips in this article will get you started, but from there, it’s all up to you. If you really want to take great pictures, then learn to take decent ones, and once you’ve mastered that, break the rules and explore your own ways of doing it. Only like this will your cannabis photography stand out from the crowd.

Max Sargent
Max Sargent
Max has been writing for over a decade, and has come into cannabis and psychedelic journalism in the last few years. Writing for companies such as Zamnesia, Royal Queen Seeds, Cannaconnection, Gorilla Seeds, MushMagic and more, he has experience in a broad spectrum of the industry.
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