Homegrown StoreBlogCannabis CultureWeed Pictures: an Amateur’s Guide to ‘Professional’ Cannabis Photography

Weed Pictures: an Amateur’s Guide to ‘Professional’ Cannabis Photography

weed pictures - flowering weed plant studio photo with soft light

I love sharing weed pictures almost as much as I love sharing my Homegrown weed. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to create amazing weed pics – even in the harsh light of a grow room!

I’m going to share my top tips and the kit I use to make cannabis photography EASY! Obviously, it’s even easier being able to grow good weed – which YOU can learn to do by watching my Beginner’s Guides at the Homegrown Cannabis Co, but, for now, let’s focus on the images.

What can you do to improve your weed pics? Well, it so happens there’s lots you can do with just a cellphone and a kitchen counter. From framing to lighting to angles, here’s how to create amazing weed pictures just like the professionals.

9 Easy Steps to Great Weed Pictures

Whether you want to capture a drop of water on a weed leaf or get a full-length image of your plant growing, these are MY basics of capturing AMAZING weed pictures.

Focus on lighting

Good lighting can make or break your weed pictures.

Poor lighting means poor colors: it’s almost impossible to truly capture the deep plums and electric greens of, say, a fully-flowering UltraViolet OG, without good lighting. 

My weed pictures have always been better when I’ve set up next to a window. This helps maximize the amount of light and really helps the buds to glisten. That said, if you have the chance to shoot outdoors, take it. Early morning or late afternoon is best, when the sunlight isn’t as severe, but overcast days are also great for taking some of the harshness out.

Don’t forget to be careful if moving plants outdoors to shoot, make sure you’re not disrupting their light cycle or over-exposing (excuse the pun) them to bugs.

Indoor shoots need a good, artificial light source to mimic the sun – a concept that should be very familiar to indoor cannabis growers. Once you have a good light and some interesting weed backgrounds, you have yourself a studio!

Go natural where you can – nothing brings out color and texture like strong (but not too strong) sunlight.

Weed pictures - Ultra Violet OG is an AMAZING plant to photograph
Ultra Violet OG is an AMAZING plant to photograph

Use a tripod

While there’s plenty of software you can use to stabilize images, nothing beats using a tripod. 

Get the best one your budget will allow. Cheap tripods are annoying to use and you’ll spend half your time trying not to throw them through a window. 

Yes, I speak from experience.

Buy one that can support at least 1.5 times the weight of your camera. Make sure it’s the same height as you, or close, to stop you having to bend down too often. Oh, and don’t bother getting one with a center post – they might be okay for dramatic landscape pics, but they vibrate too much for close-quartered weed pictures.

If you can’t get hold of a tripod, use two hands at all times to ensure your camera is stabilized as much as possible. Try 3 points of contact by placing your elbows into your body as this will reduce shake further. 

Check your phone camera settings to see if there’s an option for image stabilization, this will help smooth out shakes in your footage as a result of shooting handheld.

Don’t use the phrases: I can edit later or fix it in post

You’ve never been more spoiled for choice when it comes to editing software (free and paid for) but relying on fixes will only create more work later down the line. 

If your weed pictures are sharp, properly lit and well-framed, your editing can focus on improvement and enhancement rather than damage limitation. 

Technical tip: shoot in RAW where you can, this will give you more control over your weed pics after the shoot.

Don’t use zoom

Get physically closer to your subject if you want a close-up shot. Using your phone’s digital zoom will reduce quality significantly. The closer you are, the more detail you can capture – zooming simply stretches the existing detail, which is how your images end up grainy and pixellated. 

A macro lens is perfect for super-close weed pictures, though they can be expensive!

Weed pictures - Up close and personal...
Up close and personal…

Get to know the rule of thirds

The majority of modern, digital cameras (even those on your phone) will display horizontal and vertical lines of thirds. The middle third is where you should place the main subject of the composition. 

This is a simple but powerful photography technique – you don’t have to be a Nate Hammer to nail it!

The rule of thirds is a great way to organize your weed pictures
The rule of thirds is a great way to organize your shots.

Always shoot from weed picturesfrom alternative angles – give yourself plenty to work with.

I like to take lots of pics from plenty of different angles, especially when taking plant shots. I love close-ups of fat colas as much as the next grower, but I like to get wider, growing plant pics, too. 

Some of my favorite weed pictures are those taken after pruning or topping, that really show off the manicure. This way, you can create good before and after shots – perfect for your journal on Homegrown Diaries (see below).

Weed pictures - Capture as many shots as you can, give yourself options!
Capture as many shots as you can, give yourself options!

Don’t use a camera or phone flash.

Avoid back-lighting your weed or plant as this will cause the subjects to become silhouettes. If you need to bring in an extra light source, place it to the side above or in front of the plants. Experiment with different light angles and distances.  

Soft light is more appealing than hard light. Phone flashes and camera flashes tend to blow out parts of the weed pictures and create an unappealing look.

A good weed background is one you won’t notice

The best weed backgrounds don’t take focus from the subject of the image. This is why Homegrown Cannabis Co. always uses a white background for weed pics.

A bright white background works for most product-style images, but I really like a good outdoor shot of a plant against a deep blue sky. 

Your weed backgrounds should be limited only by your imagination. Which brings me to the next step…

Plants love the sun, show them happy in your weed pictures
Plants love the sun, show them happy!

Show your weed in context

A lump of weed against a white background might make the weed look amazing, but is it interesting? 

How about the same weed in a grinder, or a bowl? 

How about seeing someone really savoring the smell?

And how about showing off the purpose of the weed, giving it life?

Try putting the weed in a normal situation, but keep the depth of field shallow, the focus on the weed and the rule of thirds (to keep the weed front and center). Have a play, let your imagination run riot!

A little bit of context goes a long way in your weed photos
A little bit of context goes a long way…

Shooting weed pictures in a grow room

I rarely grow outdoors and most of the commercial operations I visit use powerful grow lamps. These are notoriously difficult places to photograph and film in! 

My biggest tip to getting it right under HPS lights? Get the HPS filter from Method Seven

I have been wearing M7 sunglasses for years so I’m surprised I didn’t get one sooner! 

They use notch-filtering technology to take all the harsh yellow out of the HPS light, with filters for cameras AND phones. Your weed pictures come out perfectly white-balanced with amazing results. 

They even have a filter called the Catalyst that slips onto your phone – I value mine almost as much as I value my phone!

You can see the difference here – the clarity is insane!

Getting the white-balance nailed without a good filter is possible, but it’s hard work. You need to use a color meter and a sheet of grey card, 18% grey to be exact. I don’t want to get too technical here (hey, I’m an amateur!) but here’s what I used to do WAY BACK before I got my M7 filter…

  1. Place the card in the scene I wanted to photograph.
  2. Put the camera in spot metering mode.
  3. Aim the camera at the card.
  4. Manually adjust the exposure shown in the meter.
  5. Remove the card and take some photos.

If you have good post-processing software to edit and enhance your images, great, but you’ll still want to take an image with the grey card for reference. Oh, and you’ll need to repeat the process every time the light changes, but this shouldn’t be too often in a grow room!

You can see how much time and effort a good filter will save!!!

What do you do with your AMAZING new weed pictures?

Once you’ve learned how to create professional weed pictures, you’ll want to share them! You’ll want to post them to other growers and weed enthusiasts for big-ups and feedback.

My suggestion? Start a journal on Homegrown Diaries. This exclusive platform allows you to document and track your grow from seed to harvest. You can add info on things like your strain, your garden, and your lights, getting feedback from other growers, tips from experts and the genuine satisfaction of a shared experience. 

Homegrown Diaries will even tell you how much yield you achieved per watt of light!

You’ve also got the usual social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, but Homegrown Diaries is much better because your photo’s will never be banned, PLUS, it’s much better getting praise from other growers – at least they’ll know what you’ve been through, right?

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